Illness count rises in E. coli outbreak

11/20/2012 12:19:00 PM
Mike Hornick

e. coliThe E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in New York linked to organic spinach and spring mix has spread to four more states, raising the number of illnesses to 28.

A blended product under the Wegmans label is a likely source of the outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Wegmans Food Markets Inc. voluntarily recalled the blend sourced by Chelsea, Mass.-based State Garden Inc., on Nov. 1. Within a few days, 19 illnesses were reported, many in or near Rochester, N.Y.

The Food and Drug Administration, which is tracing the product, has not yet identified the grower.

Ten people were hospitalized, the CDC announced Nov. 17. Two developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, or kidney failure. No deaths were reported. There were 22 cases in New York, two each in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and one each in Pennsylvania and Virginia. Their ages range from 4 to 66. They became ill between Oct. 18 and Nov. 3.

State Garden has not commented further on the outbreak since a Nov. 2 statement that its products were not confirmed as a cause.

The recalled product, labeled Wegmans Food You Feel Good About Organic Spinach and Spring Mix, was sold Oct. 14 to Nov. 1 in 11-ounce and 5-ounce clamshells at Wegmans stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts.

Wegmans recalled about 31,000 pounds.

According to State Garden, the item under investigation was the 11-ounce blend with use-by dates of Oct. 23 and Oct. 24 and traceback codes of 60832 and 14765. As a precaution, Wegmans removed all code dates from all stores and called customers who purchased the items using their Shopper Club cards.



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Ben    
USA  |  November, 21, 2012 at 08:06 PM

Ten people were hospitalized, Two developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, or kidney failure and then someone starts an recall. Grandios, what a care for the consumer. How about fo follow FDA law of test and hold nd don't ship the contaminated stuff out at all. Where is the responsibility of the retailers, do they asked the shipper for the test results of what they are buying and selling?!?

John    
Florida  |  November, 23, 2012 at 07:12 AM

Ben, there is NO fda law to "test and hold." With fresh produce, especially leafy greens, "test and hold" would guarantee that the product is almost expired by the time it reaches the consumer.

RichardBlossfeld    
NC  |  December, 04, 2012 at 07:32 AM

Gentlemen: I Know it seems like the solutions are simple, unfortnuately, the real world isn't that simple. I've worked with Wegman's in the past and found few retailers as dedicated and genuinely sincere about protecting their customers from food-related illness. There are new technologies on the way that will help protect organic and all types of produce in the future.

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