As there is a raised risk of E. coli O157:H7 contamination of 414,000 cases of pizza products with pepperoni toppings, the makers, General Mills, has announced a voluntary recall of said pizzas. As these are freezable products, the company is asking consumers to check in their freezers as well. The pizzas were produced in General Mills’ Ohio factory and distributed throughout the USA.

The products to look out for are:
(SKU = stock keeping units or UPC codes)

— Totino’s Party Supreme – SKU number 42800-10700
— Totino’s Three Meat – SKU number 42800-10800
— Totino’s Pepperoni – SKU number 42800-11400
— Totino’s Pepperoni – SKU number 42800-92114
— Totino’s Classic Pepperoni – SKU number 42800-11402
— Totino’s Pepperoni Trio – SKU number 42800-72157
— Totino’s Party Combo – SKU number 42800-11600
— Totino’s Combo – SKU number 42800-92116
— Jeno’s Crisp ‘n Tasty Supreme – SKU number 35300-00561
— Jeno’s Crisp ‘n Tasty Pepperoni – SKU number 35300-00572
— Jeno’s Crisp ‘n Tasty Combo – SKU number 35300-00576

When 21 cases of E.coli related illnesses were reported in ten states, with half of the patients being hospitalized, authorities started to investigate. The first case happened in June 20th, 2007, while the latest one happened on October 10th, 2007. Nine of those patients had consumed Totino’s or Jeno’s pizza with pepperoni topping prior to becoming ill. Over 120 million Totino’s and Jeno’s pizzas have been distributed since the first reported illness.

The company says that as soon as it learnt about the potential problem it launched an investigation. As a precaution, Totino’s and Jeno’s parent company, General Mills, issued a Class I recall. According to the company, the investigation is still underway – it also adds that it is cooperating fully with state and federal authorities.

Totino’s / Jeno’s
P.O. Box 200 – Pizza
Minneapolis, MN 55440-0200
Consumers concerned about the recall can telephone (800) 949-9055.

What is E. coli?

E. coli is short for Escherichia coli, it is one of the bacteria that line the gut of humans and animals. It also exists in raw and undercooked beef, infected water and milk. Most E. coli strains are harmless. However, O157:H7 can cause food poisoning.

A sample of a person’s feces (stool) must be tested to confirm E.coli poisoning.

Cattle are believed to the main source of infection.

It can spread as a result of:

— Eating contaminated food, such as undercooked beef burgers, raw vegetables which have been washed or watered with contaminated water
— Drinking untreated milk or dairy products
— Contact with infected animals

Symptoms of E. coli Poisoning

Diarrhoea (sometimes bloody)
— Abdominal pain
Fever (sometimes)

Symptoms usually appear about 1-3 days after infection.

Written by – Christian Nordqvist