E-Coli Scare Spreads To More Retailers As Celery Identified As Culprit

At least 155,000 food products are being removed from several retailers after the Food and Drug Administration expanded its recall due to an E-coli scare.

E-coli was first detected at the wholesaler Costco last week, when it recalled its chicken salad, according to media reports.

Now the recall has grown to include products sold at Walmart, Sam’s Club, Albertsons, 7-Eleven, Target and Safeway. The outbreak is being blamed on celery grown at a California farm.

Starbucks announced Dec. 1 that it was withdrawing its turkey paninis on sale during the holiday season from over 1,300 locations in California, Oregon and Nevada.

The Seattle-based company has not received any reports of customers suffering from E-coli, but uses celery to make the stuffing in the sandwiches, Bloomberg reported.

A separate E-coli scare is being investigated at Chipotle Mexican Grill locations, where at least 45 customers have been affected. The ingredient causing the outbreak is yet to be determined.

State health officials, especially in Utah, first identified the link between 19 E-coli cases.

“Very quickly they noticed these people did have something in common. They really liked and ate the rotisserie chicken salad,” said Robert Tauxe, deputy director of the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, according to WABC.

The source of the celery was determined to be Taylor Farms Pacific, based in California.

The majority of products being recalled are in west coast locations, but locations are affected as far afield as Arkansas, Hawaii and Georgia.

The illness has affected a broad section of people, with victims ranging in age from five to 84. The first case was reported on Oct. 6, the CDC said.

Symptoms of the disease include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and abdominal cramps. It can result in kidney failure, and in some cases, death. The period of incubation is usually between three and seven days from the date of exposure.

Sources: WABC, Bloomberg/ photo credit: WABC

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