If you shop at Costco, Wal-Mart, Safeway, Target, Albertsons or other major stores, you might want to take a second look at your celery.
Last week, the seemingly innocent vegetable sparked a recall of Costco chicken salad when Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc., based in Tracy, CA, found that it could contain E. coli. Now, that recall has been expanded to more than 16 states, reports USA Today.
At last count, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the E. coli-contaminated celery had sickened 19 people and hospitalized five across seven states. No deaths have been reported so far.
E. coli causes gastrointestinal illness, marked by symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting. While E. coli isn't often deadly for healthy people, USA Today reports that this particular strain of E. coli can be especially severe — for children in particular. Two of the hospitalized patients in the current outbreak had a type of kidney failure.
The potentially contaminated celery is thought to have reached mostly states in the West, but Hawaii, Arkansas, Nebraska and Georgia are also included in the recall, according to a joint report from the Associated Press and Fox News.
The affected celery was used in mixes and prepared foods — not just sold fresh in the produce section. The US Food and Drug Administration published a complete list of affected products in a press release from Taylor Farms Pacific on its website.