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Food Poison Journal Food Poisoning Outbreaks and Litigation: Surveillance and Analysis

Farm Rich E. coli Outbreak – Three Ill After Recall

A total of 35 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O121 have been reported from 19 states. Three additional ill persons have been reported from Missouri (1) and Ohio (2).  The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), California (1), Colorado (1), Florida (2), Illinois (2), Indiana (2), Michigan (3), Mississippi (1), Missouri (1), New York (4), Ohio (6), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Texas (3), Utah (1), Virginia (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (2).

Among persons for whom information is available, illness onset dates range from December 30, 2012 to April 15, 2013. Ill persons range in age from one year to 75 years, with a median age of 17 years. Eighty-two percent of ill persons are 21 years of age or younger. Sixty percent of ill persons are female. Among 29 persons with available information, 9 (31%) reported being hospitalized. Two ill people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, and no deaths have been reported.

Information available to date indicates that consumption of Farm Rich brand frozen food products is one likely source of infection for the ill persons in this outbreak.  The outbreak strain of STEC O121 has been identified in two different Farm Rich brand frozen products collected from the homes of two ill persons in Texas and New York.  On April 4, 2013, Rich Products Corporation expanded its recall to include all Farm Rich, Market Day, and Schwan’s brand frozen food products produced at its Waycross, Georgia plant between July 1, 2011 and March 29, 2013 due to possible contamination with E. coli O121.  The recalled products had “Best By” dates ranging from January 1, 2013 to September 29, 2014.