Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp chopped salad kits were determined to be the likely source of an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections that the CDC has declared over with a total of 10 victims in the United States.
The victims were reported from five states – North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois and Georgia. Illnesses started on dates ranging from Nov. 5 to Nov. 16, 2019.
Ill people ranged in age from 21 to 91, with a median age of 33. Among ill people, 60 percent were female. Four of the 10 ill people were hospitalized, including one person who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths were reported.
In the same outbreak, Canadian officials are reporting that as of Dec. 18, 2019, there were 25 confirmed cases of E. coli O157 illness in the following provinces: Manitoba (1), Ontario (11), Quebec (3), New Brunswick (4), Nova Scotia (4), Prince Edward Island (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (1). Individuals became sick between Nov. 5 and Nov. 23, 2019. Seven individuals have been hospitalized, including one person who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported. Individuals who became ill are between 3 and 73 years of age. The majority of cases, 68 percent, have been female.
Information collected during the investigation indicated that Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp chopped salad kits were the likely source of this outbreak.
Romaine lettuce was one of the ingredients in the salad kit, but the investigation was not able to determine if romaine lettuce was the contaminated ingredient in the salad kits.
According to the FDA, This outbreak, a Washington state outbreak potentially linked to leafy greens, and a larger multi-state outbreak linked to romaine lettuce from the Salinas, CA growing region with cases in the U.S. and Canada, all shared a common romaine lettuce supplier with ranches in Salinas, CA. Although this grower was determined to be a common supplier for all three outbreaks based on available supply chain information, the romaine lettuce from this grower does not explain all the illnesses seen in the three outbreaks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)