UPDATE: 12:02 a.m. Eastern, March 4, 2017 — Late Friday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the California Department of Public Health joined other state and federal agencies in warning the public not to eat any I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter or products containing the I.M. Healthy brand soy nut butter, including granola.
As the victim count increases in a nationwide E. coli outbreak linked to its products, the SoyNut Butter Co. is recalling an unknown quantity of its I.M. Healthy Original Creamy SoyNut Butter.
As of this afternoon, only I.M. Healthy Original Creamy SoyNut Butter with the “Best By” date of “08-30-18” or “08-31-18” is included in the recall. However, public health officials are warning against all of the SoyNut Butter products, including granola.
The outbreak is hitting children harder than adults. As of this afternoon, 11 of the 12 confirmed victims are younger than 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC is warning child care centers in particular to check for any unused SoyNut Butter and discard it securely so that no children or animals can get to it.
“CDC recommends that consumers do not eat, and childcare centers, schools, and other institutions do not serve, any I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter varieties and sizes, or I.M. Healthy brand granola coated with SoyNut Butter,” according to the most recent outbreak update.
“Even if some of the SoyNut Butter or granola was eaten or served and no one got sick, throw the rest of the product away. Put it in a sealed bag in the trash so that children, pets, or other animals can’t eat it.”
The company’s recall notice stresses it is only pulling back only one of its products:
- I.M. Healthy Original Creamy SoyNut Butter with the “Best By” date of “08-30-18” or “08-31-18”
“The voluntary recall is in response to the FDA alerting us of a possible link between our product and illnesses regarding E.coli,” according to the notice posted on the SoyNut Butter website. “While we are taking the necessary investigative steps in getting the product in question and the supply chain tested, we decided to issue the recall for the sake of food safety. We take our products (sic) integrity seriously and will update all our customers as we receive more information.
“Consumers who have purchased I.M. Healthy Original Creamy SoyNut Butter should not consume the product. For questions or concerns, please call our office at 800-288-1012.”
The recall comes two days after a company spokeswoman who would only identify herself as “Marsha” told Food Safety News that no one at the company had heard anything about any potential problems with the products.
Earlier today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated a consumer warning it had posted Thursday to include additional outbreak details. On Tuesday the CDC first confirmed for Food Safety News that it was investigating the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, which is now confirmed in five states.
Of the 12 confirmed victims, six have required hospitalization and four have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, according to the CDC. No deaths had been reported as of this afternoon.
Victims are confirmed in five states: Arizona, California, Oregon, Maryland and New Jersey. The recalled product was distributed nationwide.
Of the nine victims for whom information was available, all nine had eaten SoyNut Butter products before becoming ill, according to the CDC. The first confirmed illness began Jan. 6, with the most recent confirmed victim having become ill on Feb. 15.
Four of the victims are children in Arizona who are all younger than 5 years old. Another child is in a Seattle hospital in intensive care, on dialysis, and awaiting laboratory confirmation to determine if she is infected with the same strain of E. coli O157:H7 as the people in the five other states.
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