The CDC has not updated its case count and investigation status report since March 29 in the Farm Rich frozen food E. coli O121 outbreak. I am sure that it will, because this outbreak is surely bigger than the 24 ill in 15 states that we have known about for a week.
Yesterday Farm Rich expanded its earlier recall to 10.5 million pounds of frozen products. This represents all production at Farm Rich’s Waycross, Georgia facility for products having a best-by date of January 1, 2013 through September 29, 2014.
These dates may give some indication of the multi-layered problem that Farm Rich faces. This is now a monster recall, which is both expensive and problematic. The recalled products are, after all, frozen products that people buy and stash away in freezers for occasional, sometimes infrequent, use. Most people do not check the USDA-FSIS and FDA recall sites. The point is that, in addition to acting to get these products out of commerce, Farm Rich needs to be doing everything it can to actively facilitate the spread of information about its problem. When are companies in situations like these going to take the bold step of taking out an ad in a national newspaper? 10 million pounds of potentially E. coli laden product produced for kids (largely) at a facility that obviously had a major problem . . . Is this not a situation where more extreme measures than usual might need to be taken.
Finally, a Texas household where somebody became ill in this outbreak has also had Farm Rich product (one of the pizza items) test positive for the outbreak strain of E. coli.