The FDA is investigating a multi-state outbreak of E. coli O157 illnesses possibly linked to pre-packaged salad products.  26 cases of illness were reported in 3 states, Arizona, California, and Washington.  

On November 10, 2013, the the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced that Glass Onion Catering, a Richmond, Calif. establishment, is recalling approximately 181,620 pounds of ready-to-eat salads and sandwich wrap products with fully-cooked chicken and ham because some of these products have been linked to the illnesses through epidemiological and traceback investigation.

In a related recall announcement, Atherstone Foods, Inc. of Richmond, Calif. recalled ready to eat salads and wraps with “Best Buy” dates 9-23-13 through 11-14-13 because they may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 bacteria.

The symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infections vary but usually include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. Most people get better within 5 to 7 days and though some infections are very mild, others are severe or even life-threatening; 5 to 10 percent of those who are diagnosed with STEC infection develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially life-threatening complication. Persons with HUS should be hospitalized because their kidneys may stop working and they may develop other serious problems. Most persons with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent damage or die.

The FDA cautions that hydration is the most important treatment and that antibiotics should not be used to treat this infection. There is no evidence that treatment with antibiotics is helpful, and taking antibiotics may increase the risk of HUS. Antidiarrheal agents like Imodium® may also increase that risk.

For specific products recalled, go here.