Frozen Snacks Recalled after Reports of E.coli Poisoning

Contaminated food lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report of a recent recall due to E. coli contamination, which is affecting frozen mini pizzas, quesadillas, and Philly cheese stakes made by Rich Products. Nearly 25 cases of illness have been reported so far in 15 states.

The recalled products were manufactured and distributed nationwide in the one week between November 12 and November 19, 2013. The affected products include the 7-and 22-oz sizes of Farm Rich mini pizza slices, 18-oz bags of Farm Rich mini quesadillas with cheese and chicken, 21-oz bags of Philly cheese steaks, and several sizes of Farm Rich and Market Day mozzarella bites.

Rich Products is a food company based in Buffalo, New York, and the recall is extending to more than 200,000 pounds of its frozen snacks. The recall was announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service after E.coli was found in the company’s food samples, which were collected after one individual fell sick. The samples were taken by the New York State Department of Health and then reported to federal agencies.

Currently, the contamination has affected eight consumers in Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia, and seven others in numerous other states. The specific type of E.coli infecting consumers is called O121, which is similar to the more prevalent E.coli O157:H7. Both strains produce the Shiga toxin, which can cause serious injury and even death in those with compromised immune systems, such as the very young and very old, and those with chronic illnesses.

The most recent E.coli O121 outbreaks have occurred from iceberg lettuce and contaminated lake water. Eleven people were contaminated with E.coli after swimming in a lake one weekend in July. Three of those eleven were children, who ultimately developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a serious condition involving the destruction of red blood cells. Once this destruction begins, the damaged cells start to block the body’s filtering system, impairing the kidneys. This can lead to life-threatening kidney failure.

Symptoms of HUS include pale skin tone, bleeding from the nose or mouth, blood in urine or stool, swelling of the extremities, and seizures. There are hundreds of strains of E.coli, and most are harmless, however, the strain found in Rich Farm products is particularly dangerous because it can cause HUS and other serious conditions.

Just over a month ago, a California produce company recalled its organic spinach due to E.coli contamination. The recall affected the company’s Central Market, Full Circle, Marketside, Simple Truth, and Taylor Farms labels, although it did not indicate which strain of E.coli was found in the spinach. Leafy greens are actually the leading cause of food-borne illness in the nation, according to a study by the CDC. Federal researchers examined data from 1998 through 2008, and found that produce alone caused over 330 fatalities in those years.

The O121 strain typically begins to manifest through severe abdominal cramping or vomiting within three of four days after consuming the contaminated food. Symptoms can also begin as early as one day afterward or as late as one week. This and the other more dangerous strains release powerful toxins in the body, damaging the small intestines. Every year, more than 73,000 illnesses are traced back to E.coli poisoning in the United States, which results in more than 2,000 hospitalizations and 60 deaths.

Other foods at risk of E.coli contamination include undercooked or mechanically tenderized beef, soft cheeses made from raw milk, apple juice and cider, and unpasteurized milk. Unfortunately, there are no current therapies to treat E.coli infection or its symptoms or complications. If you or a loved one was seriously injured by contaminated food of any kind, you may be entitled to compensation for any medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. E.coli lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm will ensure you receive the best representation and largest settlement possible.

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