State and federal officials are investigating a new multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections. The outbreak is associated with Fresh Express brand chopped salad kits. People in Canada are also sick. Information collected to date indicates that Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp chopped salad kits are a likely source of this outbreak.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns individuals: “Do not eat, sell or distribute Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kits with this identifying information: UPC 0 71279 30906 4, beginning with lot code Z, and a best-before date up to and including 07DEC19.” Although the ‘best before’ date has passed, consumers may still have these salad kits in their refrigerators, or the salad kits may have been distributed to food pantries.
Officials say this is a new outbreak, separate from an ongoing E. coli O157:H7 outbreak traced to romaine lettuce from the Salinas, CA, region. That outbreak has sickened at least 102 people in the U.S. and two in Canada and involves a different strain of E. coli bacteria.
Investigators have not yet determined what ingredient or ingredients in the salad kits could be contaminated (it may, or may not, be romaine lettuce). A total of eight people from three states in the U.S. have been confirmed infected with the new outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7, including at least one case in Wisconsin. Illnesses started on dates ranging from November 5 to November 15. As of December 8, Canadian officials reported 16 people confirmed sick in their country.
The Centers for Disease Control has posted information on the outbreak investigation and information about illness from E. coli O157:H7.