CDC Sees Celery Blend as Likely Cause of Costco E. Coli Outbreak

A blend of diced celery and onions used to make Costco Wholesale Corp. rotisserie chicken salad is the likely cause of an E. coli outbreak that has sickened at least 19 people in seven states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health officials in Montana tested a sample of the celery-and-onion blend from a Costco store in that state and found E. coli, CDC said in a statement Friday. As a result of the test, Tracy, California-based Taylor Farms Pacific Inc. has recalled multiple products containing celery, the agency said.

The Costco E. coli outbreak has sent five people to the hospital, including two who have developed a type of kidney failure known as hemolytic uremic syndrome, according to the CDC.

A recent E. coli outbreak tied to Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. has sickened at least 43 customers who ate at the chain. Health officials are still working to determine the ingredient that caused those illnesses.

In the Chipotle case, the CDC has said that evidence suggests an ingredient or “common meal item” is to blame. Meat was likely not the culprit because vegetarians were among those sickened, the agency said.

Though it’s common for people to have E. coli in their intestines, some forms of the bacteria are dangerous. They can cause diarrhea and get transmitted to others through food and water.

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