E. Coli Outbreak from Costco Chicken Salad Now Over, Says CDC
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the E.coli outbreak linked to Costco Rotisserie Chicken Salad has ended. In all, 19 people were sickened by the bacteria in October and November 2015. No deaths were reported.
The chicken salad was determined to be the cause of the outbreak, after it was determined that 14 of those affected had eaten the salad from Costco. At first, the E. coli was linked to the celery and onion diced blend used in the salads. However, subsequent lab testing could not identify the presence of E.coli, possibly due to the bacteria dying off or being present in miniscule amounts.
The blend was produced by Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc., which voluntarily recalled the product on November 26, 2015. The company also makes celery blends for stores such as Target and Starbucks, and those products were also recalled, affecting 71 products in total. Costco removed the salad from all its stores on November 20, 2016.
The specific strain of E. coli – Shiga toxin-producing STEC O157:H7 – was reported in seven states. Montana and Utah had the most reported cases, with six and five outbreaks, respectively. California, Missouri, Washington and Virginia each reported one case.
Those affected by the outbreak ranged in age, from 5 to 84 years old. Most of the illnesses (57%) occurred in females. Five people were hospitalized, with two developing a form of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome. All illnesses started within a one-month period of consumption of tainted salad, from October 6 to November 3, 2015.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) worked closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service, Costco and state and local agencies in order to identify the source of the outbreak.
Symptoms of E. coli can vary from person to person, but typically include bloody diarrhea, vomiting and severe stomach cramps. Although the infection can be mild and get better on its own within one week, some cases are severe and can lead to death. If a person becomes seriously ill due to food poisoning, he or she may be able to seek legal action. A food poisoning lawyer can help the victim recover financial compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and other damages.