A California company has recalled more than 90 tons of prepackaged salads and sandwich wraps because they may be contaminated since 26 people in three states were sickened by a bacterial strain of E. coli linked to its products, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
Richmond-based Glass Onion Catering recalled approximately 181,620 pounds of salads and sandwich wraps containing cooked chicken and ham, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said.
The products were produced between September 23 and November 6 and were shipped to distribution centers in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Texas. The Contra Costa Times reported that the company supplies food to Trader Joe’s, Super Fresh Goods and Delish.
The FSIS said it began monitoring a cluster of illnesses involving E. coli O157:H7 on October 29 and then was notified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that California authorities had reported people were sickened from eating pre-packaged salads with grilled chicken.
A full list of recalled products, some packaged under the name Atherstone Fine Foods, is available on the FDA website.
In Washington, three people who were sickened with the bacterium told investigators that they ate ready-to-eat salads from Trader Joe’s, said Tim Church, a spokesman with the state’s Department of Health.
The FSIS says the bacteria can cause dehydration, bloody dehydration and abdominal cramps anywhere from two to eight days after being exposed to it. While most people recover within one week, some do develop kidney failure. At least six people were hospitalized and two developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a very serious type of kidney failure.
The USDA said that it is unusual to find E. coli O157:H7 in chicken. Trevor Suslow, a food safety expert at the University of California, Davis, agreed.
“There have been some rare isolations of O157 reported, but I am not aware of outbreaks,” he says. Rather than chicken, he says it is more likely that the contaminant is some ingredients common to the salads.
If ready-to-eat products such as wraps and salads are not kept adequately chilled as they are prepared, shipped and sold, bacteria can grow more easily.
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