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29 E. coli illnesses linked to soy nut butter products from Kentucky processing plant

2017.04.03 10:41

The Food and Drug Administration has announced an outbreak of E. coli linked to soy nut butter products from a Kentucky-based processing plant.

Dixie Dew Products in Erlanger, Kentucky, was identified as the most likely source of E coli contamination in I.M. Healthy SoyNut butter products that has caused 29 illnesses and 12 hospitalizations across the U.S.

The FDA suspended production at Dixie Dew Products on March 30.

On Sunday, local media reported that a Florida teen has been hospitalized and is believed to have gotten sick from an I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter product.

Lily O’Neal, 14, of Manatee County, suffered kidney failure, fell into a coma and suffered temporary paralysis over a monthlong period, the Bradenton Herald reported. Her mother said the family realized they had purchased one of the I.M. Healthy products at a local supermarket.

The foods believed to be contaminated with E. coli include I.M. Healthy Granola products, Dixie Diner’s Club brand Carb Not Beanit Butter, and Yogurt Peanut Crunch Bars.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urge the public to dispose of any of these products in their home, either by returning them or discarding them in a sealed plastic bag.

Products were distributed in several states, were available for purchase in stores or online, and also distributed to child care centers and schools in multiple states, the company wrote in its recall.

In early March, the FDA alerted the I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter company about the contamination, and the company issued a recall of some of it’s products.

The FDA linked the contaminated products to the Dixie Dew processing plant, and an inspection visit in early March revealed egregious health violations justifying the plant’s shutdown.

During a seven-day visit, FDA inspectors noted rodent and fly infestation, heavily soiled manufacturing and cleaning equipment, a broken soap dispenser and no hot water for employees to wash their hands, among other violations.

In addition to producing alternative peanut products, Dixie Dew makes marinara sauces, meat glazes, dry mix products and the Harry’s Choice chocolate and caramel dessert toppings, its website states. The company says it doesn’t list the names of the products because of client confidentiality.

E coli is a bacteria that affects the digestive system, most frequently causing diarrhea and bloody stool, the FDA says on its website.

The CDC identified the particular strain as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli. While the illness usually resolves itself in a week, the most extreme cases can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This can cause permanent damage to the kidneys and even death. Children and the elderly are the most vulnerable populations.

No deaths have been reported, but the CDC said that nine people were hospitalized for HUS and 24 of the cases are younger than 18 years old.

Illnesses linked to E. coli were reported for nine people in Oregon, five in California, four in Arizona, two in Washington and Virginia each, and one case reported in Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey and Wisconsin.

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