Costco is still reeling from its recent E. coli outbreak that has sickened 19 people across seven states. The outbreak was previously linked to chicken salad sold at the bulk retailer, and now the affected ingredient has been pinpointed: a mixture of diced celery and onion that has now been recalled, reports the Associated Press. The produce mix came from California-based wholesaler Taylor Farms Pacific Inc.
While Costco immediately pulled the chicken salad from shelves, Taylor Farms also recalled a host of other products containing celery from several other stores across the country. The FDA released an official list of affected stores that includes 7-Eleven, Safeway, Walmart, Sam's Club, Target, and Starbucks, among others. Potentially contaminated items include wraps, sandwiches, and many types of prepared salads.
Nineteen people have confirmed becoming ill after consuming the infected vegetable mix, and there will likely be more coming forward in the next several weeks, reports The Big Story. Dr. Robert Tauxe, deputy director of the CDC's division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, explains that foodborne illnesses often take time to track down, particularly when happening in several different states. Costco has been cooperating with the CDC and FDA in order to help track down any other consumers who may have purchased its contaminated rotisserie chicken salad.
Although many other stores are connected to the contaminated vegetable mix from Taylor Farms, there is no connection between this and the recent E. coli outbreak found at Chipotle. After closing 43 stores, sickening more than 40 people across six states, and being slapped with three lawsuits from ill customers, the company finally reopened the doors to all the affected stores. While the outbreak was one of the worst — and certainly one of the most publicized — in recent years, it's thought that the Costco outbreak could be even worse.