A New York-based company has pulled more of its frozen food items off supermarket shelves across the country amid fears of E. Coli contamination.
According to NBC News, Rich Products Corporation has now recalled about 10 million pounds of frozen pizza, quesadillas, cheeseburgers and other frozen products following an outbreak of E. coli in 15 states.
Last week, the Buffalo, N.Y., company voluntarily recalled a number of Farm Rich and Market Day products, including frozen mini pizzas and mozzarella bites, after health officials identified a strain of E. Coli -- called Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O121 (STEC O121) -- in a box of Farm Rich quesadillas.
"The New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center Laboratory, identified the outbreak strain from an opened package of Farm Rich brand frozen chicken quesadillas from an ill person’s home," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.
As of Friday afternoon, 27 cases of E. Coli 0121 have been reported in 15 states, including four cases in New York, and three each in Ohio, Michigan and Texas. About 80 percent of those sickened have been under the age of 21.
"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," the CDC said.
E. Coli 0121 causes diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Though most of those sickened from the recent outbreak have not been hospitalized, the CDC reports that two people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can lead to kidney failure.
On Thursday, Rich Products announced that it has initiated an expanded recall that will include all food items produced at its Waycross, Ga., plant with “Best By” dates ranging from Jan. 1, 2013 to Sept. 29, 2014. As CBS News notes, the company says it has yet to "pinpoint the source of the contamination."
"When it became apparent to us that, despite the expertise of the USDA, the FDA, the scientific community and our own experts, identification of a specific cause was not going to be a simple or short process, we decided to act proactively to expand the recall," Bill Gisel, president and CEO of the company, said in a statement.
Visit the CDC website for more information.
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