A potential E. coli contamination has led Rich Products Corporation to voluntarily recall 10.5 million pounds of various frozen meals, including frozen pizza and other snack items.
The products included in the expanded recall were produced at the company's Waycross, Ga. plant with best by dates ranging from January 1, 2013 to September 29, 2014, according to a Rich Products press release.
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The products include 18-ounce and 20-ounce bags of Farm Rich mini quesadillas; 7-ounce, 22-ounce, and 2-pound bags of Farm Rich mozzarella bites in a pizzeria-style crust; 7.2-ounce and 22-ounce cartons of Farm Rich mini pizza slices with cheese pepperoni and sauce; 21-ounce bags of Farm Rich Philly cheese steaks with cheese, beef, and onions in a crispy crust; 1-pound bags of Schwan's mini meatball sandwiches; 21-ounce bags of Farm Rich mini bacon cheeseburgers; and 22-ounce bags of Market Day Mozzarella Bites.
The recalled products have the establishment numbers "EST. 27232" or "P-27233" inside the USDA mark of inspection.
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) became aware of the investigation of E. coli-related illnesses on March 19
, after a New York man's illness prompted the state's Department of Health Wadsworth Laboratory to collect and test various food samples from the man's home.
Since then, 24 other cases have been reported in 15 other states, the South Carolina NBC affiliate WCBD reported.
So far at least seven people have been hospitalized in connection with the contamination, one of which for Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure.
"When it became apparent to us that, despite the expertise of the USDA, the FDA, the scientific community, and our own experts, identification of a specific cause was not going to be a simple or short process, we decided to act proactively to expand the recall," said Bill Gisel, Rich’s President and Chief Executive Officer in a statement.
Gisel added that Rich Product’s will continue to cooperate fully with federal, state, and local agencies to investigate this situation.
FSIS says it will be continuing to work with both federal and state public health partners during the investigation. Other agencies and departments involved in the investigation include: the New York State Department of Health, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, WCBD reported.
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