March 23, 2017 Outbreak Update: E. coli at Montessori of Alameda is linked to the I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter outbreak. Also, our law firm has filed a filed a lawsuit against The SoyNut Butter Company for a child whose kidneys failed after eating an I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter product at a daycare. Parents interested in a lawsuit to obtain compensation and justice for their child can contact attorneys Brendan Flaherty or Ryan Osterholm, who are representing our young client, for a free consultation: 1-888-377-8900 (toll free).

The Oregon Health Authority has confirmed that two E. coli O157 patients who live in that state are linked to the national I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter outbreak. Public health epidemiologists collected a sample of the product from the patients’ home, and tests showed the presence of E. coli O157. This is “smoking gun” evidence linking to SoyNut Butter Company products to illnesses in 9 states: Arizona, California, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Oregon, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter
The medical director for the Communicable Disease Prevention section at the OHA Public Health Division, Dr. Paul Cieslak, said in a statement, “People need to know that if they have this product in their pantries, they should immediately return it to the store where they bought it, or throw it out. If they ate the product and are experiencing symptoms of an E. coli infection, they should see their health care provider right away.”

The Outbreak

A nationwide multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infections linked to I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter products has sickened at least 16 people, most of them children. In Oregon, both patients, siblings under the age of 18, contracted the illness, but they were not hospitalized and did not develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

Unfortunately, five patients in this outbreak did develop HUS, and eight were hospitalized. The patients live in Maryland, California, Arizona, Missouri, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin in addition to Oregon. The CDC has linked I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter and I.M. Healthy SoyNut Granola to the outbreak through epidemiological evidence.

The SoyNut Butter Company has recalled all of their I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter and I.M. Healthy Granola in response to this outbreak. All date codes of all varieties of these products are included in the recall.

E. coli – HUS

By law, there is zero tolerance for E. coli bacteria in ready-to-eat products such as nut butter spreads. The consumer eats these products without heating them, so there is no “kill step” that would destroy pathogens.  And because children are often served these products at daycare centers and schools, the hospitalization and HUS rates in outbreaks linked to these foods are high. People who are at higher risk for serious complications from an E. coli infection include children, pregnant women, and the elderly.

The symptoms of a STEC infection include painful stomach and abdominal cramps, diarrhea that can be bloody and/or watery, and a mild fever. After being exposed to the pathogenic bacteria, it usually takes three to four days for symptoms to develop.

If an E. coli infection is improperly treated with antibiotics, or if the patient is young or has other health issues, hemolytic uremic syndrome can develop. The symptoms of this complication include severely reduced urine output, lethargy and tiredness, pale skin, unexplained bruises, and bleeding from the nose or mouth. HUS is the leading cause of kidney failure among children in this country.

Anyone who is experiencing any of these symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible. Early treatment is the best predictor of a good outcome.

E. coli Lawsuits

Our law firm has helped many clients who have been sickened with this type of infection. Pritzker Hageman recently won a $7.5 million verdict on behalf of a client who was sickened after visiting a petting zoo.

If your case can be tied to the recalled soy nut butter, you may be able to sue the SoyNut Butter Company for E. coli and HUS compensation. But you need an experienced E. coli attorney who understands the nuances and complications of this type of lawsuit. The Pritzker Hageman law firm is one of a very few in this country that specializes in these types of cases. Call us at 1-888-377-8900 or fill out our free online consultation form. We will get back to you soon.

Bad Bug Law Team