Earlier this week, Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc. recalled celery-containing products due to a possible E. coli risk. Some of these products, including celery sticks, diced celery, and pre-made salads containing celery were sold in Arizona at Costco, Safeway, Albertsons, Sam’s Club, and Walmart. At this time, no one in Arizona has gotten sick from E. coli associated with this recall, but 19 people in 7 other states have been infected.
The outbreak was first detected in Montana, where disease detectives there identified a pre-made chicken salad from Costco as the potential culprit. Further investigation and laboratory testing found that a celery and onion blend distributed through Taylor Farms was the likely source of E. coli. Taylor Farms has since recalled celery-containing products. A full list of the recalled products and stores to which they were distributed is available on the FDA website. Only celery-containing products from Taylor Farms are of concern at this time. If you think you have a recalled product in your home, you should throw it away or return it to the store where it was purchased.
E.coli causes severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. Usually people with E. coli do not get a fever. Most people get better within a week. In some cases, E. coli can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which causes kidney problems. If you experience signs of E. coli, you should visit your healthcare provider.
Remember the best way to protect yourself and your family from foodborne illness is to practice food safety.
- Clean all food contact surfaces and your hands with soap and warm water before preparing food.
- Wash your fruits and vegetables under cold running tap water to remove dirt, and scrub firm produce (like apples and potatoes).
- Cook foods thoroughly by using a thermometer to measure the final cooking temperature. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the product and check that it has reached the minimum cooking temperature of 165°F for poultry, 160°F for ground meats, 155°F for steaks, and 145°F for seafood.
- Separate plates and utensils used for raw food from those used for cooked food to prevent cross contamination.
- Chill foods promptly if you won’t eat them immediately. Never let food set out at room temperature.
How does one report a possible e coli infection from the celery. I purchased and ate the chicken salad from Costco and became ill. I was refunded my purchase price and asked to fill out an incident form at the Costco on 11/29. I have not gone to a physician as I do not know if e coli stays in the body. I was sick the Wednesday before Thanksgiving or Nov 24, 2015. I purchased the product on Nov 14. I still have rinsed out container
Thank you for your question. If you are concerned you or someone you know has been affected by a foodborne illness associated with a particular product or location, you can file a complaint with your county environmental health department or contact your county public health department. Here’s a link to our website with Arizona county resources: http://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/index.php#resources-county