10 Million Pounds of Pizza Recalled After E. Coli Scare Spreads Across 15 States

Say What!? 4

mini pizzasFrozen pizzas and other frozen dinner foods are often a lifesaver when you're in a pinch to prepare a meal, but you may need to think twice before popping one in the oven. New York-based snack food company, Rich Products Corp., had to recall more than 10 million pounds of frozen pizza, mozzarella bites, Philly cheesesteaks, and other products linked to a rare and potentially dangerous outbreak of E. coli poisoning.

The strain found in the foods, E. coli O121, has already has sickened 27 people in 15 states who ate certain Farm Rich and Market Day frozen chicken quesadillas, pizza slices, and other snack foods. And at least eight people have been hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which updated cases on Friday.

In the meantime, three million pounds of the products were still out there for sale on shelves. Yeah, I'd say that's a bit worrisome ...

However, a spokesman noted that, thankfully, the company also had control of seven million pounds of the frozen items that had not reached stores. Well, that's ... somewhat of a relief.

The recall foods all have "best by" dates from January 1, 2013 to September 29, 2014, according to a press release. Eesh, sounds like a huge window there for people to mistakenly nosh on the packaged foods! For a full list of recalled products, click here.

This is no joke. As the Rich Products' press release points out, symptoms of illness associated with this strain of E. coli include:

... mild to severe diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Blood is often seen in the stool. Usually little or no fever is present. Although most healthy adults can recover completely within 5-10 days, certain individuals can develop a complication called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) which can cause the kidneys to fail. HUS is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly. The condition could lead to serious kidney damage and even death.

Aggghh! I don't know about you, but that's enough to scare me off of buying foods like this altogether. Granted, that's sort of an extreme reaction, but seriously -- could the FDA please get on this? Worrying that a simple frozen snack could make us or our kids fatally ill is simply not acceptable.

Does this recall concern you? 



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dekumama dekumama

I would have thought the oven would kill stuff like that, guess not. That's scary stuff.

mande... manderspanders

So, my question would be...since these are *frozen* items, are people really not cooking them thoroughly? Because that would kill the bacteria.

Mary Golden

^Unfortunately not all bacteria are killed by cooking the products.

mande... manderspanders

@ Mary Golden:  Actually... heating food products to an internal temp of at least 160 degrees kills off most bacteria.


Also: "

Bacteria die if they're heated to 165F. Cooking instructions on frozen food packages are designed to deliver a temperature of 165F to the coldest part of the product, according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

The foods involved in this outbreak are all meant to be cooked, not just warmed up, before they're eaten. Snacky foods like mini pizza slices and cheese steaks implicated in the outbreak are often heated in microwaves, and microwave ovens are notorious for heating food unevenly. Thus the sometimes-intricate package instructions involving turning, stirring, and waiting."


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