A farm in California is recalling an onion and celery blend that federal health regulators believe is the source of the E. coli bacteria that was found in rotisserie chicken salads sold at Costco, sickening 19 people across seven states.
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday said Taylor Farms Pacific, of Tracy, California, is recalling the product "out of an abundance of caution" after a sample tested positive for E. coli strain.
Five people have been hospitalized as a result of the outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Two had developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a form of kidney failure.
"The epidemiologic evidence available to investigators at this time suggests that rotisserie chicken salad made and sold in Costco stores is a likely source of this outbreak," the CDC said in a statement. "The ongoing investigation has not identified what specific ingredient in the chicken salad is linked to illness."
Fourteen of the infected people either purchased or ate the Costco chicken salad before becoming ill, officials said.
Six of the infections were in Montana, five in Utah, and four in Colorado. California, Missouri, Virginia, and Washington had each recorded one case.
People began falling ill on Oct. 6, with the last recorded case on Nov. 3. They ranged in age from 5 to 84, with a median age being 18, according to the CDC.
Costco told public health officials on Friday that it removed the rotisserie chicken salad from all stores nationwide. It has also stopped production of the product until further notice.
The product is labeled "Chicken Salad Made with Rotisserie Chicken" with item number 37719 on the label. Officials are urging people to throw the salad away, even if some of it has already been eaten.
The Costco product contamination comes after restaurant chain Chipotle suffered its own E. coli outbreak in Washington and Oregon earlier this month, which resulted in 42 people falling ill.
More incidents of the illness possibly linked to Chipotle were reported in California, Minnesota, Ohio, and New York last week.
David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.
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