An E. coli outbreak involving contaminated celery has left at least 19 people ill in seven states including California. According to an ABC News report, Taylor Farms based in Tracy, California, has voluntarily recalled a number of products containing celery including a mix of diced onion and celery used in Costco’s chicken salad.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the vegetable mix tested positive for a virulent form of E. coli in a sample collected by the Montana Department of Health.
The recall includes more than 155,000 products sold at major grocery chains including Wal-Mart, Safeway, Sam’s Club, Albertsons, 7-Eleven and Target. Health officials have urged anyone who bought chicken salad at any U.S. Costco store on or before Nov. 20 should discard it out of precaution.
The Danger of E. Coli
E. coli are bacteria that live harmlessly in our intestines. However, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, the kind that spurred this recall, can be particularly dangerous. When complications arise with these infections, the consequences can be devastating. About 6 to 9 percent of adult cases and 15 percent of cases in children can lead to emolytic uremic syndrome or HUS, resulting in kidney failure.
With this particular outbreak, five people have been hospitalized including two with kidney failure. So far, no deaths have been reported. Among the victims, the young and the elderly are most at risk for developing HUS. Symptoms of an E. coli infection include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting and usually surface between three and seven days from the time of exposure.
If You Have Been Infected
If you or a loved one has contracted an E. coli infection, it is crucial that you see your doctor right away and receive proper diagnosis, treatment and care. Make sure the food that sickened you is tested independently in a laboratory for pathogens. If you have a lot of the food left over, isolate it to ensure that no one else in your household consumes it. Report your illness to the local healthcare agency, which usually tracks and records these types of outbreaks.
Contact an experienced California food poisoning lawyer who can help protect your rights and help you secure compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, pain and suffering and emotional distress.