Almost three tons of frozen, breaded chicken products from Simmons Prepared Foods Inc. are being recalled because flour used in the breading has been recalled because it is linked to an ongoing E. coli outbreak. The Arkansas company distributed the chicken products to locations in Arkansas for “institutional use” by undisclosed customers. The 30-pound boxes that are covered by the recall can be identified by label information including:
- 30-lb. net-weight case containing six, 5-lb. bags in clear film of “Simmons UNCOOKED CHICKEN TENDERLOIN FRITTERS,” with a case code 31473, packaging date code of 6025, and a Use-By date of 01/25/17; and
- 30-lb. net-weight case containing six, 5-lb. bags in clear film of “Simmons UNCOOKED CHICKEN BREAST TENDERLOIN FRITTERS,” with a case code 62331 and a packaging date of 6025.
Produced on Jan. 25, the 5,850 pounds of frozen, breaded chicken fritters also have the establishment number “P-5837” inside the USDA mark of inspection on their labels. “The problem was discovered on July 7, 2016, when Simmons Prepared Foods Inc. received notice from a supplier that flour sold to the establishment was recalled by General Mills,” according to the recall notice posted by the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service. As with other secondary product recalls issued by various food companies whose products were made with the recalled raw flour from General Mills, the Simmons recall states no confirmed illnesses have been reported in relation to its products. However, the recalled flour responsible for the secondary recalls is linked via lab tests to an E. coli O121 outbreak that began Dec. 21, 2015, and is ongoing. As of July 1 there had been 42 people across 21 states confirmed with the outbreak strain of E. coli O121. Federal officials said in that update that people with illness onsets from June 2 on might not yet be included in the outbreak count. Because of the long shelf life of the frozen chicken products from Simmons, company and federal officials are concerned that the recalled products may be in kitchen freezers. They are urging customers of Simmons Prepared Foods to check their inventories and discard any products they have on hand that carry the identifying label information. Anyone who has eaten or handled any of the recalled Simmons chicken fritters and developed symptoms of E. coli infection is urged to seek medical attention. People can become ill from the bacteria between two and eight after consuming the organism. Most people develop diarrhea that is often bloody, and vomiting. Antibiotic treatment is generally not recommended. Most people recover within a week, but, some develop a more severe infection, hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS can occur in people of any age but is most common in children under 5 years old, older adults and persons with weakened immune systems. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately. (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)