Last month, we heard the news that America has an E. coli problem that's spreading. So far there have been 11 states with 35 reported cases and very similar symptoms have been seen in Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
It has now gotten so severe that one person has died in the outbreak.
Experts at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that consumers should check the origin of their romaine lettuce before they purchase it. Since the outbreak was potentially linked to lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona, the CDC says only lettuce from these regions should be avoided.
Of the 102 cases with available information, 51 percent needed to be hospitalized, compared to a hospitalization rate of about 30 percent seen in other E. coli outbreaks.
Now, as well as lettuce, the public has to be on the lookout for certain tortilla chips and their dangers.
On May 2, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration released an announcement issuing a voluntary recall of certain Utz and Weis brand tortilla chips. The recall is the result of a “potential contamination of undeclared milk allergen,” according to the FDA - meaning this milk ingredient was not disclosed on the chip bag’s label. As of May 8, no illnesses caused by this mistake have been reported.
The recall affects Golden Flake, Good Health, Utz, and Weis brand Tortilla Chips that were distributed in 32 regions, including Alabama, Washington DC, Florida, New Hampshire, and Texas. You can check out the full list of affected states on the FDA’s website.
Because the dairy allergen was not noted on the label, those with a lactose or milk allergy could be subject to serious or life-threatening reactions if they consume these tortilla chips. The FDA recommends that consumers who have bought the affected bags either return them to the store for a full refund or throw them away.
The FDA provided a list of expiration dates of the contaminated chips on its site; they range from May 26, 2018 to December 15, 2018, and have varying UPC codes. No other brand products besides those listed are being recalled.
It's been reported that Target, Kroger, and Publix all distributed the contaminated bags and have since warned customers to check the UPC labels and expiration dates before diving in. Given the urgency surrounding the E. Coli and Salmonella cases recently, the callbacks should not be ignored.
In terms of the only E. Coli death, the California Department of Health is not releasing details about the person who died. The complete lists of states that have shown cases includes, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
In North Carolina, more than 200 million eggs produced by an Indiana company have been recalled, after the various cases of salmonella were linked back to the farm's produce. According to a report from the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Rose Acre Farms were forced to issue the recall after officials traced these cases back to the company's facility in North Carolina.
Keep an eye out for any development on the spread of these bugs.