ATLANTA – On April 5, the Centers for Control and Prevention updated the number of consumers who have fallen ill and may have consumed frozen food products manufactured by the Rich Products Corp., Buffalo, that may be contaminated with the pathogen E. coli O121. Twenty-seven people from 15 states across the United States have been infected with the outbreak strain, 81% are under the age of 21, and 35% have been hospitalized.
Among the consumers that have been interviewed as part of the investigation, illness onset dates range from Dec. 30, 2012, to March 18, 2013. The ages of those infected range from 2 to 75. The C.D.C. emphasized the outbreak may not be over, noting illnesses that occurred after March 10 may not be reported yet due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when an illness is reported.
Through its investigation, the C.D.C. has identified Farm Rich branded frozen food products as one likely source of infection, because the outbreak strain has been identified in two different Farm Rich products collected from the homes of two consumers who became ill.
On April 4, Rich Products expanded its recall to include all Farm Rich, Market Day and Schwan’s branded frozen food products manufactured at the company’s Waycross, Ga., plant between July 1, 2011, and March 29, 2013, due to possible contamination. The recalled products have a “best by” date range from Jan. 1, 2013, to Sept. 29, 2014.
With more than $3 billion in annual sales, Rich Products is a global company that manufactures a diverse array of food products. The company has 21 manufacturing plants in the United States.