For Immediate Release: November 2, 2007
Media Contact: Communication Office
BURLINGTON - The Vermont Department of Health is warning consumers not to eat Totino's or Jeno's frozen pizzas with pepperoni toppings that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, a strain of E.coli bacteria.
No illnesses have been reported in Vermont, but cases have been reported in nearby states. Nationwide, at least 21 cases in 10 states have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Eight people have been hospitalized and four have developed a type of kidney failure known as hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), according to the CDC. No deaths have been reported.
The General Mills products were distributed nationwide and may have been sold in Vermont.
The recall affected approximately 414,000 cases of pizza products including Totino’s Party Supreme, Three Meat, Pepperoni, Classic Peperoni, Pepperoni Trio, Party Combo and Combo; and Jeno’s Crisp & Tasty Supreme, Crisp & Tasty Pepperoni, and Crisp & Tasty Combo. More than 120 million of the frozen pizzas have been distributed nationwide since July 1, 2007.
Although most strains of E. coli are harmless, several are known to produce toxins that can cause diarrhea. The E. coli strain called O157:H7 can cause severe diarrhea and kidney damage. Symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 usually start from 3-4 days after eating a contaminated food item, and may include stomach cramps and diarrhea. Bloody diarrhea may develop.
Anyone with these symptoms within 3-5 days of consuming this product should seek medical attention. Illness should be reported to the Vermont Department of Health at 802-863-7240 or 1-800-640-4374. Vermonters who have the frozen pizzas listed among the recalled products and are not ill should discard the product or return it to their grocers.
For more information about this strain of E. coli, visit the Department of Health online fact sheet “Facts about E. coli O157:H7.”