Costco in E.coli chicken salad scare

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

Kidney failure for two consumers of Costco's chicken salad
Kidney failure for two consumers of Costco's chicken salad

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Rotisserie chicken salad with E.coli traces has caused the illness of 19 people across seven US states, health officials in Washington have claimed.

Chicken salad contaminated with suspected E.coli has been pulled from the shelves of Costco stores in seven US states and anyone who purchased the product is urged to throw it away.

So far, two people who consumed the chicken salad have been diagnosed with acute kidney failure, with another three being hospitalised.

A joint investigation by the Washington State Department of Health (WSDH) and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ascertain the source of the outbreak is ongoing.

E.coli taken 'very seriously'

 "The epidemiological evidence available at this time suggests that rotisserie chicken salad made and sold in Costco Wholesale stores in several states is a likely source of this outbreak,"​ CDC said.

And WSDH state epidemiologist Dr Scott Lindquist added: "We take E.coli very seriously in Washington and we are working with CDC and state partners to determine the source."

Utah hit worst 

The majority of reported cases of the Costco E.coli scare come from the west of America, in states like Montana and Utah.

Other states where E.coli hit Costco stores are California, Colorado, Missouri, Virginia and Washington.

E.coli cases arise now with a worrying degree of regularity and “Costco is simply another in the growing list of retailers affected by E. coli outbreaks in recent years", said Shaun Bossons from Trace One.

He added:"Food scares are now an inevitability in the global supply chain. As Costco is showing, with such large-scale food safety scares, the initial challenge is limiting the risk to consumers: which means getting the affected products off shop shelves as quickly as possible. This demands that all parties know what ingredients, and so products, have been affected; what retail outlets they have been sold in; and can facilitate a nationwide recall in hours rather than days.

"Retailers and manufacturers need to show they have done everything in their power to prevent the contaminated goods from affecting customers. They can’t prevent them from happening, but they can be better prepared to deal with product recalls from these crises. Digging through paper based records of lengthy product specifications will waste time and resources and even put customers at risk. 

"All parties need instant access to all product information wherever they are. After that restoring consumer trust is a slow and careful process, achieved by meeting ongoing demands for more information, and being as transparent as possible. The key is collaboration between retailers and manufacturers."

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