20 E. coli Illnesses linked to Frozen Falafel in 6 States.

According to an FDA alert, a frozen falafel product has been linked to an E. coli epidemic that affected 20 people across six states.

Due to the potential presence of E. coli that can produce the Shiga toxin, Cuisine Innovations Unlimited is voluntarily recalling two items that are only available at Aldi stores: Earth Grown Vegan Traditional Falafel and Earth Grown Garlic & Herb Falafel.

The recall states that eating food contaminated with the bacteria shiga-toxin-producing E. coli can result in foodborne illness.

Infection with E. coli can cause stomach pain, diarrhoea, and vomiting. Those with low immune systems, small children, and older persons are the most commonly impacted by severe disease.

The 20 E. coli cases, including 11 from Michigan and four from Wisconsin, were recorded in Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Between July 13 and September 13, the illnesses began to manifest. Five patients were admitted to the hospital, one of them had hemolytic uremic syndrome, a kidney ailment that can be fatal. No one has passed away.

According to information from the FDA inquiry, public health experts questioned 18 patients and discovered that 15 of them had visited Aldi stores. Six of them had consumed frozen falafel from Earth Grown the week before they fell ill. The bacteria in the patient samples were shown to be closely related using a laboratory process called whole genome sequencing, which suggested that they contracted the illness from the same food.

According to CDC inquiry findings, “the true number of sick patients in this epidemic is likely larger than the number recorded, and the outbreak may not be restricted to the states with confirmed sickness.”

The CDC stated: “This is because some persons recover without medical attention and are not tested for E. coli.” It often takes 3 to 4 weeks to assess whether a sick person is a part of an outbreak, thus recent cases could not have been recorded as of yet.

The goods were transported to retailers after June 24, 2021, and were sold in Aldi stores across 37 states and the District of Columbia. The item is packaged in a box with a bag and may have several different lot numbers (1472, 1481, 1531, 1532, 1541, 1552, 1561, 1581, 1601, 1611, 1612, 1661, 1682, 1732, 1752, 1762, 1782, 1802, and 1812). On the outside flap of the box, under “Best if used by,” is where you may get the lot number.

The recall states that no new batches of the products have been produced since they were taken out of stores on October 6.

The CDC cautioned against eating, selling, or serving the recalled products to customers, businesses, and restaurants. The FDA encouraged people to check their freezers for the goods and stated that the frozen falafel has an 18-month shelf life.

The products should be returned to the retailer for a complete refund by customers who have purchased them, according to the recall. From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, consumers can reach Cuisine Innovations Unlimited at 201-439-1036, ext. 26.

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