Companies Involved continued...
Most of the salad products can be identified by the labels Trader Joe's, My Brothers Pizza, or Chef on the Run and are in clamshell containers. Pizza products are in round cardboard bottoms with a plastic wrap.
All salad products will have a "USE BY DATE" on or before Sept. 20, 2006. Pizza products will have a "USE BY DATE" on or before Sept. 23, 2006. The products were distributed through various retail outlets in Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho; they weren't distributed internationally.
Q. What is E. coli?
A. E. coli is a bacterium. There are hundreds of strains of E. coli bacteria; the strain involved in the current outbreak is E. coli O157:H7.
Q. Is this strain of E. coli more dangerous than other strains?
"E. coli O157 is a particularly dangerous type of E. coli because it can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome," a form of kidney failure, says CDC spokeswoman Christine Pearson. "So it can be more severe for people."
Q. What are the symptoms of E. coli infection?
E. coli O157:H7 causes diarrhea, often with bloody stools.
"Anybody who does develop diarrhea after consuming fresh spinach should see their doctor and also ask [the doctor] to take a specimen for testing," Pearson says.
Most healthy adults recover completely within a week, but some may develop hemolytic uremic syndrome.
Q. How long does it take for symptoms of E. coli infection to appear?
A. "Twelve to 36 hours, normally. Up to a week in some cases," Richard Linton, PhD, tells WebMD. Linton is a professor of food science and the director of the Center for Food Safety Engineering at Purdue University.
Q. What is hemolytic uremic syndrome?
Hemolytic uremic syndrome is a life-threatening complication of E. coli infection affecting the kidneys.
It's usually treated in intensive care and often requires blood transfusions and kidney dialysis. Young children and the elderly are particularly at risk for the complication.
Even with intensive care treatment, the death rate for hemolytic uremic syndrome is 3% to 5%, according to the CDC.