Nov. 22 (UPI) -- A New Jersey-based food producer has recalled more than 75,000 pounds of salad products after at least 17 people have been infected with E. coli in eight states, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
Missa Bay, LLC, is recalling about 75,233 pounds of product that contain lettuce that may have been contaminated with the bacteria, the federal agency said Thursday.
The Maryland Department of Health said it identified E. coli in an unopened package of Ready Pac Foods Bistro Chicken Caesar Salad collected from one of seven people sick in the state. Further testing is being done to determine if it is related to the E. coli that has infected others during this outbreak.
The first person to report ill from the bacteria was on Sept. 24 with at least 17 people falling sick by Nov. 18 in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Maryland, Montana, Washington and Wisconsin, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, adding that seven people have been hospitalized with the bacteria with two people suffering from a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.
The CDC said while all those sick in Maryland reported eating the Ready Pac Foods Bistro Chicken Caesar Salad, none of the other patients in the other states said they had consumed the product.
"FDA is tracing back the supply of the romaine lettuce in the salad and has identified possible farms in Salinas, Calif.," the CDC said. "Preliminary information indicates that romaine lettuce used in the product that tested positive was harvested in mid-October and is no longer within current expiration dates."
The over 30 food items under recall were shipped to distribution locations in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Main, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service is "concerned" that even though the products are past their use by dates they may still be in people's refrigerators and it is urging anyone with these products to either throw them out or return them to the store they were purchased from.
Symptoms of E. coli vary for each person but include severe stomach cramps, often bloody diarrhea and vomiting, according to the CDC website.
"The investigation is ongoing to determine the source of contamination and if additional products are linked to illness," the CDC said, adding that it will provide more information as it becomes available.