Outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 Infections Linked to Costco Rotisserie Chicken Salad

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, and public health officials in several states are investigating an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (STEC O157:H7) infections. As of Nov. 23, 2015, 19 people infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O157:H7 have been reported from seven states. The majority of illnesses have been reported from states in the western United States. Five ill people have been hospitalized, and 2 have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

The Montana Public Health Laboratory tested a sample of celery and onion diced blend collected from a Costco store. This product was used to make the Costco rotisserie chicken salad eaten by ill people in this outbreak. Preliminary results indicated the presence of E. coli O157:H7. Laboratory testing is ongoing to isolate the E. coli bacteria and then determine the DNA fingerprint. As a result of the preliminary laboratory results, on Nov. 26, 2015, Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc., voluntarily recalled multiple products containing celery because they may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

On Nov. 20, 2015, Costco reported to public health officials that the company had removed all remaining rotisserie chicken salad from all stores in the United States and stopped further production of the product until further notice. Consumers who purchased rotisserie chicken salad from any Costco store in the United States on or before Nov. 20, 2015, should not eat it and should throw it away. This investigation is ongoing.

Source: CDC