E. coli cases linked to a peanut butter substitute have been confirmed in several states of the US. The Glenview-based I.M. Health SoyNut Butter Co. has voluntarily decided to recall its product while they are investigating the issue.
Health officials have recommended people not to eat the SoyNut Butter products even if nobody has gotten sick. As well, they suggest not to eat any variety of “I.M Healthy brand” at the moment. The cases of E. coli have been registered in Arizona, California, Maryland, Oregon and New Jersey.
“Don’t eat I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter due to possible E. coli contamination. 12 sick, 6 hosp. in outbreak” wrote the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via twitter.
The outbreak is likely to grow
The Illinois-based company, I.M Healthy, has decided to recall its SoyNut products after 12 people, mostly children, became ill from E. coli and six of the patients has been hospitalized. Eleven of the kids are under 18, according to the CDC. As well, the agency said that they expect the outbreak to grow.
“Epidemiologic evidence available at this time indicates that I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter is a likely source of this outbreak. SoyNut Butter is a nut-free substitute for peanut butter,” the CDC said.
Illinois public health Director Dr. Nirav Shah that E. coli infections could be life-threatening, especially for young children. They have recommended people to seal and throw their SoyNut jars, in order to ensure no animal or children can open it later.
It was announced that the affected jars have a “best buy” date of August 31 of 2018.
E. coli can cause severe kidney damage
The CDC recommended people not to eat these products. They said that even if any of the SoyNut or granola was eaten and no one got sick, the products must be thrown away since E. coli can lead to severe kidney damage.
Apparently, 4 of the 12 people infected have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, but luckily, no death has been reported. E. coli might also produce severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting.
“Most people get better within five to seven days, but some infections are severe or even life-threatening,” the CDC said.
The CDC also stated that this is a strain of E. coli 0157 that has not been seen before in food poisoning outbreaks. The CDC along with the FDA are investigating the cases.
E. Coli bacteria can be found in almost everywhere. It is usually harmless, but there are a few types that cause this disease. According to the CDC, one in every six Americans is food-poisoned every year, which equals to 48 million people. About 3000 of them die.
It is not entirely clear how extensive the recall is going to be or if other brands might also be involved. Food recalls are often due to incidents in the food processing centers. However, it can also involve substitutes of raw materials, if this is the case, then multiple brands in different states and countries might be involved too.
The company has posted on their website that people should call their office at 800-288-1012 for any question or concern.