SACRAMENTO March 3, 2017 – California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith today warned consumers, especially children, not to eat I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter or granola coated with SoyNut Butter. These products may be contaminated with Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157 (STEC O157).
CDPH, in coordination with local and state health departments, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is investigating a multistate outbreak of STEC O157 infections.
As of March 2, 2017, 12 patients have been identified, including four from California. Most of the patients have been children, and several patients have been hospitalized with a potentially life-threatening complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The most severe cases of HUS can include kidney failure. All four California patients reported eating I.M. Healthy brand Creamy SoyNut Butter in the week before becoming ill.
“Consumers who purchased Creamy SoyNut Butter or coated granola should dispose of the product immediately, even if it was already eaten and didn’t cause illness,” said Dr. Smith.
While the investigation is ongoing, people should avoid eating any I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter varieties and sizes, or granola coated with SoyNut Butter, until additional information, including the exact products and lot numbers, are confirmed. The products have a shelf life of two years.
Symptoms of illness caused by STEC O157 typically include stomach cramps and diarrhea, often with bloody stools. If there is fever, it usually is not very high. People typically become ill three to four days after exposure, but this period can range from one to eight days. Most people get better within a week. Young children and the elderly are at highest risk for HUS. People who develop symptoms of STEC infection should consult their health care provider.
Additional information about STEC O157 can be found on CDPH’s website.