Federal health officials said Tuesday that an outbreak of deadly E. coli bacteria linked to Costco rotisserie chicken that sickened 19 people in seven states, mostly in the west, appears to be over.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said five people were hospitalized and two developed a type of kidney failure, a severe complication from infection with this particular strain of E. coli, known as E. coli O157:H7 . No deaths were reported, officials said Tuesday.
The evidence collected during the federal health investigation suggested that rotisserie chicken salad made and sold in Costco Wholesale stores in several states was the likely source of this outbreak. Fourteen of 16 people purchased or ate rotisserie chicken salad from Costco in the week before illness started.
On Nov. 20, Costco reported to public health officials that the company had voluntarily removed all remaining rotisserie chicken salad from all stores in the United States. Six days later, Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc., voluntarily recalled the celery and onion diced blend used in the Costco chicken salad and many other products containing celery, because they might be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.
Federal health officials are advising consumers, restaurants, and retailers to avoid eating, serving or selling any of the products recalled by Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc.
The Food and Drug Administration conducted a traceback investigation of the FDA regulated ingredients used in the chicken salad to try to determine which ingredient was linked to illness. However, the traceback investigation did not identify a common source of contamination.