The identity of the soy nut butter manufacturer whose product is implicated in a nationwide E. coli outbreak remained a mystery today as a second brand of products was recalled.
Dixie Diner’s Club brand of “Carb Not Beanit Butter” was added to the recall by the SoyNut Butter Co., which has already recalled all flavors, sizes and date codes of its I.M. Healthy brand soy nut butters and granola products.
In the Dixie Diner’s Club recall, all “Best Buy” dates are affected. The dates should be printed in black on the soy nut butter containers, according to the recall notice posted on the Food and Drug Administration’s website.
Unlike the I.M. Healthy brand products, the Dixie Diner’s Club soy nut butter is only sold online. As of Friday evening, all of the Dixie Diner’s and I.M. Healthy recalled products still appeared available for sale in the companies’ websites.
At least 16 people have been confirmed with E. coli O157:H7 infections in the outbreak so far. The bacteria infecting them is a match for E. coli isolated from a jar of I.M. Healthy brand soy nut butter from the home of two victims in Oregon.
As with the I.M. Healthy products, the Dixie Diner’s Club “Carb Not Beanit Butter” is marketed as a peanut butter substitute and billed as a popular food with children.
Children have been disproportionally hit in the current outbreak, with 14 of the 16 victims younger than 18 years of age, according to the most recent update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Illnesses that began after Feb. 13 may not have been confirmed and added to the outbreak count yet.
In Oregon, several more cases of E. coli infection among children and adults at Montessori of Alameda in Northeast Portland could be part of the soy nut butter outbreak.
The Oregonian reported this afternoon at least four people at the school have been infected, according to the Multnomah County Health Department. Additional people from the school have been tested, but those results were not yet available, Tri-County Health Officer Paul Lewis told The Oregonian.
County health officials did not immediately respond Friday t requests for additional details on their investigation of the E. coli cases. It is unknown whether the Montessori school patients ate soy nut butter before becoming ill.
Of the 16 people confirmed by the CDC as outbreak victims, 15 have been interviewed by epidemiologists. All 15 reported having eaten soy nut butter products in the week before they became ill.
Owners of the Glenview, IL, SoyNut Butter Co. have not named the manufacturer of the implicated soy nut butter. It is not known how many companies may have purchased potentially contaminated soy nut butter or paste from the manufacturer or what other brands could be involved.
“We received a call from the FDA last night and were told of a positive E. Coli test in Oregon. Samples from our contract manufacturer are still being tested, and we will update as soon as we can,” according to a statement on the company website that is dated March 9.
“This latest news is deeply concerning to us and as we work with the FDA and CDC, we urge consumers to heed the recall of all I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter and I.M. Healthy Granola products.
“For over 20 years we have tried to give you exemplary products. Once we heard from the FDA about any possible problems, we immediately recalled the suspected lots, then expanded to our entire line of SoyNut Butters and Granola. We thank you for your support and will update you as quickly as we can.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is gagged by federal law from releasing “confidential corporate information” such as the identity of the contract manufacturer, other companies that SoyNut Butter Co. does business with, or other products that have been made with the soy butter from the mystery maker.
Advice to consumers
Anyone who has eaten I.M. Healthy brand or Dixie’s Diner’s Club brand soy nut butter products or anything containing the products and developed symptoms of E. coli infection should immediately seek medical attention and tell their doctors about the possible exposure to the bacteria.
“The symptoms of STEC infections vary but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea — often bloody — and vomiting,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Most people get better within 5 to 7 days, but some infections are severe or even life-threatening. Very young children and the elderly are more likely to develop severe illness and HUS than others, but even healthy older children and young adults can become seriously ill.”
The CDC advises people to watch for diarrhea that lasts for more than three days, or is accompanied by high fever, blood in the stool, or so much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down and you pass very little urine.
For additional details on the outbreak and recall, please see:
- “Canada recalls I.M. Healthy products; no E. coli cases there yet”
- “Oregon confirms E. coli in SoyNut Butter from victims’ home”
- “UPDATE: SoyNut Butter Co. expands recall to all soy butters, granola”
- “Parents of 8-year-old E. coli victim sue SoyNut Butter Co.”
- “I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter recall; E.coli hits kids”
- “UPDATE: Patients on both coasts ate ‘SoyNut Butter’ before becoming ill”
- “I.M. Healthy soy nut butter linked to E. coli outbreak”
- “CDC, states investigating foodborne sources in E. coli outbreak”
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