News: I.M. SoyNut Butter E. Coli Outbreak Update—7 More Sickened, from 4 States

I.M. SoyNut Butter E. Coli Outbreak Update—7 More Sickened, from 4 States

There have been seven more people sickened from four states since the I.M. SoyNut Butter E. coli outbreak was announced earlier this month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Washington Department of Health have confirmed the I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter was the cause of the outbreak in an update today.

Strains of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) were detected in the SoyNut Butter found in the homes of ill people and retail locations, according to the latest update from the CDC, which states:

In interviews, ill people or their family members answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Twenty (87%) of the 23 people reached for interview reported either eating I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter at home (14 people) in the week before they became ill, attending a facility that served I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter (2 people), or attending childcare centers that served I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter and I.M. Healthy brand granola coated with SoyNut Butter (4 people).

Symptoms include severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting, as well as a high temperature. Thankfully, this strain of E. coli is usually not fatal, with symptoms lasting from 5 to 7 days. However, for children and the immune compromised, the consequences can be life-threatening. Which is why it was extremely worrying when the infection showed up in a preschool classroom last week.

Since the last update from the CDC, on March 13, there have been two more hospitalizations and two more ill people with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure associated with STEC. This complication can result in a person's kidneys ceasing to work and can lead to severe health problems, or even death.

A vial containing E. coli. Image by VeeDunn/Flickr

In total, 23 people have been infected with the outbreak strains of STEC O157:H7 from nine states. Oregon had the highest number of infections, with 6 people, while California had 5 and Arizona, 2 as you can see in this map from the CDC:

People infected with the outbreak strains of E. coli O157:H7, by state of residence, as of March 17, 2017 (n=23). Image via CDC

Two of the HUS cases weren't included in this count because the infection had cleared their systems enough to have detectable bacterial DNA to test, but both reported eating I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter in the week before becoming ill and were confirmed to have SHEC when they initially fell ill.

The source of the E. coli breakout has been traced to the nut-free butter, the CDC confirmed on March 21.

Last week, the Montessori of Alameda preschool in Portland was the latest site of the E. coli outbreak caused by the same nationally-distributed product, after the first recall was announced. The Multnomah County Health Department confirmed that six children and one adult were sickened by E. coli bacteria.

The SoyNut Butter Company have recalled:

  • all varieties of I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butters
  • all varieties of I.M. Healthy Granola products
  • all Dixie Diner's Club brand Carb Not Beanit Butter

The recalls apply to all "Best By" dates, and, the recall states:

Consumers should not eat any variety or size of I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter, I.M. Healthy brand granola, or Dixie Diner's Club brand Carb Not Beanit Butter, regardless of the date of purchase or the date listed on the container.

People who have purchased I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter or any of the other products listed on the recalls should throw it away or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. When in doubt, throw it out.

If you have any queries, contact I.M. on 1-800-288-1012.

Cover image by Mike Mozart/Flickr

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