According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a minimum of 19 people in seven states have developed E. coli infection after having rotisserie chicken salad served at stores of Costco Wholesale Corporation.
Out of the people infected, five have already been hospitalized. Although, no deaths have yet been reported, two infected individuals have developed HUS or hemolytic uremic syndrome. For those who don’t know: HUS is a kind of kidney failure, which can result in permanent damage of the organ.
The seven states where the infections have been reported so far are Washington, Virginia, Missouri, California, Utah, Colorado and Montana.
Seattle food safety attorney Bill Marler, who is known to represent people who get sick after having tainted food items, informed that at present, the number of HUS cases is double of what we normally see with E. coli O157:H7. E. coli O157:H7 is the pathogen causing this recent outbreak. According to the food safety attorney, the number of people with the illness is likely to increase as tracking HUS cases is very easy.
One of the biggest concerns for the health officials at this moment is that the exact ingredient of the rotisserie chicken salad causing the infection hasn’t been identified yet.
As reports of infections started to come out, Costco said that it stopped selling the salad in question on November 20. Costco’s vice president of food safety Craig Wilson informed that the company stopped sales of the salad on the same day on which the federal health officials notified the corporation that the rotisserie chicken salad it was selling has links with cases of E. coli infection.
E. coli O157:H7 is capable of causing severe health problems. In a 1993 outbreak caused by this pathogen, the infection killed as many as four children who developed the condition after eating undercooked hamburgers served by the restaurant chain Jack in the Box.
This is not the first health related allegation Costco is facing in recent times. The year 2014 saw the American corporation getting linked to a salmonella outbreak from chicken products sold by it in a minimum of nine states. Foster Poultry Farms, a California-based business, supplied the contaminated chicken to Costco.