According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Costco Wholesale Corp.’s rotisserie chicken salad has been linked to at least 19 E. coli infections in seven states. Reuters reports that no deaths have linked to the recall thus far, but five people have been hospitalized. Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure that can result in permanent organ damage, occurred in two people.
The E. coli cases have been reported in Montana, Utah, Colorado, California, Missouri, Virginia and Washington. The strain involved in the outbreak is E. coli O157:H7. The CDC says the tainted ingredient has not been identified. In 14 of 16 cases, the chicken salad was bought or eaten a week before getting sick.
Craig Wilson, vice president of food safety at Costco, said the company stopped selling the product on Nov. 20. This was also the same day federal food officials notified Costco of the E. coli cases, Reuters reports.
In 1993, Jack in the Box restaurants came under scrutiny following an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7; four children died after eating undercooked hamburgers. Costco was involved in a food recall last year, when its chicken products were linked to a salmonella outbreak in at least nine states. The tainted product was supplied by Foster Poultry Farms, based in California.
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc has also experienced a recent E. coli outbreak. Health officials say more than 40 people in six states have become ill due to E. coli O26 food poisoning; no deaths or HUS have been reported so far.