Portland Oregon Area IM Healthy SoyNut Butter Alert
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA), in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other local state health departments are investigating a group of people who have reported cases of a rare strain of E. coli O157:H7. The majority of the cases are children. The OHA investigated about 191 cases of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli (STEC) last year, and averages about 200 cases investigated each year.
The CDC has confirmed linked cases in Clackamas County, Oregon of E. coli O157:H7 infection that is part of this outbreak. Through their detection and reporting efforts, the OHA was able to identify a set of siblings in Clackamas county who has become sickened with E. coli O157:H7 after testing samples of The SoyNut Company’s I. M. Healthy SoyNut Butter products at the victims’ home. Oregon is only one of nine states involved. The others include: Arizona, California, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
OHA’s investigations are still ongoing, and more cases are believed to be pending confirmation and identification. A local Oregon media source has reported that seven people alone from a Multnomah County Montessori preschool have also fallen ill. The cases are pending the final laboratory results and confirmation of their link to the outbreak. The Northeast Portland located school has informed its patrons of the illnesses.
It is highly likely that additional cases will be linked to the outbreak. As the process of linking cases can take anywhere from two to three weeks, the details are still forthcoming. There is laboratory testing and analysis to be completed and results to be uploaded into the national databases. The OHA along with the state and federal agencies’ investigation is still ongoing, and the outbreak is not yet deemed over.
As the OHA investigates, it encourages the passing along of knowledge about the outbreak. OHA’s Public Health Division, Acute and Communicable Disease Prevention Section Medical Director Dr. Paul Cieslak commented in a notification statement:
“People need to know that if they have this product in their pantries, they should immediately return it to the store where they bought it, or throw it out. If they ate the product and are experiencing symptoms of E. coli infection, they should see their health care provider right away.”
At this time, several companies have recalled various products related to the outbreak. The SoyNut Butter Company recalled all of its I. M. Healthy SoyNut Butter line of products. The Dixie Diners' Club brand Carb Not Beanit Butter products and New Era Nutrition Inc.’s SoLo GI brand energy bars have also issued recalls. Recalls have now been made in two countries – the United States and in Canada. The SoyNut Butter Company mentioned Oregon’s involvement in the prompting of its recall as:
“Recall update: We received a call from the FDA last night and was told of a positive E. Coli test in Oregon. Samples from our contract manufacturer are still being tested, and we will update as soon as we can.
If you or someone you care for has ingested any of the recalled products and has become ill, urgent medical attention is highly recommended. Urgent medical attention can help reduce the risk for more severe illness and complications.