Nut allergies have made some people unable to enjoy peanut butter, but there are several products which act a substitute. One such product from I.M Healthy company which makes the SoyNut Butter has been linked to an E. coli outbreak. The company has issued a recall of the product.
According to a report released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, by March 2, 2017, 12 people were confirmed to be infected with an E. coli strain known as O157: H7. The E. coli outbreak is present in five states, with 4 people being infected in California, four others in Arizona, two people in Oregon, and one person in both Maryland and New Jersey.
The report reveals that six people have been hospitalized, with four other people have already developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure capable of threatening the life of the patient. Furthermore, 11 of the all 12 confirmed cases of E. coli have been reported in children below the age of 18. At the time of writing, no deaths have yet been reported.
The CDC report reveals that the epidemiologic evidence gathered by now indicates that the, somewhat ironic, I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter is the main source of the E. coli outbreak. CDC investigators reached this conclusion after thorough interviews by both state and local health officials, where the affected people and their family members were required to answer questions regarding the foods that they are before falling ill, as well as any other exposures.
The connection between the patients and likely source of the outbreak became clear after nine people revealed that they ate the peanut butter substitute either at home or that they attended childcare centers which served the product in question.
The CDC and the FDA contacted the I.M. Healthy company in order to advise it about the E. coli outbreak, to start the recall producers as well as to further investigate the exact way that E. coli managed to contaminate the peanut butter substitute. Soon after, the company started a voluntary recall citing the recommendations of the CDC.
Have you eaten any of the I.M Healthy products? Do you know anyone affected by an E. coli outbreak?
Image source: CDC