On November 26, Taylor Farms recalled 71 products that may include celery that could potentially contain E. coli.
The Montana Public Health Laboratory conducted five preliminary analysis tests on a sample of celery and onion mix made by Taylor Farms and collected from a Costco store in Montana.
All of the tests were positive for E. coli based on a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis, which is used to quickly check for the DNA of E. coli.
Part of the sample was provided to the FDA for confirmatory testing, which involves culturing to grow a living colony of bacteria. The FDA did not find E. coli in the sample, but said “PCR positives” are not always confirmed for several reasons:
- Other bacteria in the sample could interfere with the growth of E. coli
- There may not be enough E. coli in the sample to isolate
- E. coli may have died off by the time confirmation testing was done
The celery and onion diced blend has not been ruled out as a source of the outbreak, according to an update from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The outbreak has sickened at least 19 people in seven states, including five who were hospitalized and two who developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). No new illnesses have been reported to the CDC since November 23.
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