All varieties and sizes of the peanut butter substitute I.M. Healthy soy nut butter are now being recalled because of E. coli contamination linked to an outbreak that has sickened a dozen people across five states.
The SoyNut Butter Co. is also recalling its granola products, according to its second recall expansion notice. The company initially recalled only 15-ounce jars of its creamy soy nut butter. Then it expanded the recall to include other sizes of that variety.
Today’s recall expansion covers every size and variety of I.M. Healthy brand soy nut butter and granola.
“I.M. Healthy Products were distributed in multiple states and may have been purchased in stores or through mail order. They were also distributed to childcare centers and schools in multiple states,” according to the recall expansion notice posted on the Food and Drug Administration’s website this afternoon.
All “best-buy” dates of all varieties are included in the recall. The I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter is packaged in 15-ounce plastic jars, individual portion cups, 4-pound plastic tubs and 45-pound pails. It is available in “Original Creamy, Chunky, Honey Creamy, Unsweetened and Chocolate” varieties.
The recalled granola is packaged in individual serving packages, 12-ounce bags, 50-ounce bags and 25-pound bulk bags. I.M. Healthy Granola is available in Original, Apple, Blueberry, and Raisin and Cranberry. “Best-buy” dates are printed on the labels of the containers stamped in silver or black, according to the recall notice.
Officials from SoyNut Butter Co. did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The phone number provided for consumers by the company in its recall notice was being covered by an answering service this afternoon.
“The recall was initiated after ill people or their family members answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill,” according to the SoyNut Butter Co. recall.
“Nine — 100 percent — of the nine people reached for interview reported either eating I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter at home — five people — in the week before they became ill or attending a childcare center that served I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter.”
Consumers who have purchased I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter products or I.M. Healthy granola products are urged not to consume the products and return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.
Public health officials are concerned that consumers and kitchens in schools, childcare centers and nursing homes may have the recalled products on hand and are urging people to check for the products and discard any unused portions.
Advice for consumers nationwide
Anyone who has eaten I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter products or anything containing the products and developed symptoms of E. coli infection should immediately seek medical attention and tell their doctors about the possible exposure to the bacteria.
“The symptoms of STEC infections vary but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea — often bloody — and vomiting,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Most people get better within 5–7 days, but some infections are severe or even life-threatening. Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, is a potentially life-threatening complication of E. coli O157 infection. Very young children and the elderly are more likely to develop severe illness and HUS than others, but even healthy older children and young adults can become seriously ill.”
The CDC advises people to watch for diarrhea that lasts for more than three days, or is accompanied by high fever, blood in the stool, or so much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down and you pass very little urine.
Of the 12 people confirmed by the CDC as outbreak victims as of March 2, 11 are children. Victims are in five states on both coasts: Arizona, California, Maryland, New Jersey and Oregon.
Test results are pending on at lest one more child who is in intensive care and on dialysis in a Seattle hospital. As with all nine of the confirmed victims on whom information is available, the Seattle patient ate I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter before becoming sick.
Overall, six of the victims have had symptoms so sever that they required hospitalization. Four of them developed HUS.
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