Read the Advice to Consumers » A total of 24 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O121 (STEC O121) have been reported from 15 states. 78% of ill persons are 21 years of age or younger. 33% of ill persons have been hospitalized. One ill person developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, and no deaths have been reported. CDC and state public health officials are interviewing ill persons to obtain information regarding foods they might have eaten and other exposures in the week before illness. Information available to date indicates that consumption of Farm Rich brand frozen food products is one likely source of infection for the ill persons in this outbreak. Testing conducted by the New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center Laboratory, identified the outbreak strain of STEC O121 in an open package of Farm Rich brand frozen chicken quesadillas from an ill person’s home. On March 28, 2013, Rich Products Corporation recalled approximately 196,222 pounds of Farm Rich brand frozen chicken quesadillas and several other frozen mini meals and snack items because they might be contaminated with E. coli O121. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are also currently conducting investigations to determine the source of infections in this outbreak.
March 29, 2013
CDC is collaborating with public health officials in many states, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O121 (STEC O121) infections. Public health investigators are using DNA "fingerprints" of E. colibacteria obtained through diagnostic testing with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, or PFGE, to identify cases of illness that could be part of this outbreak. They are using data from PulseNet, the national subtyping network made up of state and local public health laboratories and federal food regulatory laboratories that performs molecular surveillance of foodborne infections.
The type of bacteria responsible for this outbreak is among those referred to as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli or STEC. Some types of STEC frequently cause severe disease, including bloody diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure. STEC bacteria are divided into serogroups (e.g., O157 or O121). E. coli O157 is the STEC serogroup found most commonly in U.S. patients. Other E. coli serogroups in the STEC group, including O121, are sometimes called "non-O157 STECs." Because clinical laboratories typically cannot directly identify non-O157 STEC serogroups, they must first test stool samples for the presence of Shiga toxins. Then, the positive samples must be sent to public health laboratories to look for non-O157 STEC. In recent years, the number of clinical laboratories that test for Shiga toxin has increased greatly, but some laboratories still do not perform these tests. Because of these complexities, many non-O157 STEC infections are probably not identified. The STEC O121 PFGE pattern in this outbreak is rare. In the past it has been seen less than 30 times in PulseNet.
A total of 24 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O121 have been reported from 15 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), Illinois (1), Indiana (2), Michigan (2), Mississippi (1), New York (3), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Texas (3), Utah (1), Virginia (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (2).
Among persons for whom information is available, illness onset dates range from December 30, 2012 to March 9, 2013. Ill persons range in age from 2 years to 75 years, with a median age of 17 years. Seventy-eight percent of ill persons are 21 years of age or younger. Sixty-three percent of ill persons are female. Among 21 persons with available information, 7 (33%) reported being hospitalized. One ill person developed HUS, and no deaths have been reported.
The outbreak can be visually described with a chart showing the number of people who became ill each day or week. This chart is called an epi curve. Illnesses that occurred after March 1, 2013 might not be reported yet due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 2 to 3 weeks. For more details, please seeTimeline for Reporting E. coli Cases.
Investigation of the Outbreak
Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations conducted by officials in local, state, and federal public health, agriculture, and regulatory agencies indicate that Farm Rich brand frozen food products are one likely source of this outbreak of STEC O121 infections.
In interviews, ill persons answered questions about food consumed and other exposures during the week before becoming ill. Eighteen (100%) of 18 ill persons interviewed reported consuming frozen food products. Eight (57%) of 14 ill persons reported consuming Farm Rich brand frozen food products. Investigations are ongoing to determine the specific types and sources of frozen food that might be linked with illness, as well as to determine which particular ingredients or components of these products may be contaminated.
The New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center Laboratory, identified the outbreak strain of E. coli O121 in an opened package of Farm Rich brand frozen mini chicken and cheese quesadillas from an ill person’s home.
CDC and state and local public health partners are continuing laboratory surveillance through PulseNet to identify additional ill persons and to interview ill persons about foods eaten before becoming ill. FSIS and FDA are continuing to work closely with CDC and state partners during this investigation.
This is your shortcut list of products:
7.2-oz. cartons of Farm Rich mini pizza slices with cheese pepperoni and sauce in pizza dough, UPC code 041322376909 with a best by date of May 15 or May 16, 2014.
22-oz. cartons of Farm Rich mini pizza slices with cheese pepperoni and sauce in pizza dough, UPC code 041322356437 with a best by date of May 15 or May 16, 2014.
18-oz. bags of Farm Rich mini quesadillas with cheese, grilled white meat chicken in a crispy crust, UPC code 041322356352 with a best by date of May 14, 2014.
21-oz. bags of Farm Rich philly cheese steaks with cheese, beef & onions in a crispy crust, UPC code 041322356345 with a best by date of May 13, 2014.
22-oz. cartons of Farm Rich mozzarella bites in a pizzeria style crust, UPC code 041322374431 with a best by date of May 19, 2014.
7-oz. cartons of Farm Rich mozzarella bites in a pizzeria style crust, UPC code 041322376916 with a best by date of May 19, 2014.
22-oz. bags of Market Day Mozzarella Bites, UPC code 041322804358 with a best by date of May 12, 2014.
Oh yes this recall was VOLUNTARY, does that make you feel better? UGH!!!!!