The Michigan Departments of Community Health (MDCH) and Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) are advising Michigan consumers about a foodborne outbreak of illness due to Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli (E coli)
O121 among people who have reported consuming Farm Rich frozen food products. As of Mar. 29, 24 persons have been infected with the outbreak strain of E coli
O121 in 15 states, including two people in Michigan. MDCH and MDARD are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Food and Drug administration, and other state and local public health partners on this active investigation.
On Mar. 28, Rich Products Corporation, a Buffalo, NY firm, issued a recall of several Farm Rich frozen products including mini pizza slices, mini quesadillas with cheese and chicken, philly cheese steaks with cheese, and mozzarella bites. A complete list of recalled products can be found online at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/Recall_025_2013_Release/index.asp. As this is an ongoing investigation, check the website for further updates.
Symptoms of an E coli O121 infection are similar to those caused by E coli O157:H7. Illness caused by E coli O121 can include symptoms of acute diarrhea, in particular, bloody diarrhea, and abdominal cramps with little or no fever. The illness usually lasts one week. In some individuals illness can be severe, especially young children, people who are immunocompromised, or the elderly. A more severe illness called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, can begin as the diarrhea is improving. HUS can occur in people of any age but is most common in children under 5 years old and the elderly. HUS occurs in 5–10 percent of E coli patients.
Recommendations for the Public
· Anyone who became ill with bloody diarrhea, and who recently purchased any of the products included in the recall, should consult their physician.
· Michigan residents should check their freezers for these recalled products.
· Don’t eat recalled products.
· Always follow cooking and standing-after-cooking instructions provided on packaging of frozen food products. Consumers with questions regarding the recall or to receive a refund should contact the company's consumer line at (888) 220-5955 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST Monday through Friday, or visit the company website at www.farmrich.com.