Soy Nut Butter Recalled as E. Coli Sickens 12 People, Including 4 in California

Twelve people in five states have become ill from E. coli, including four reported cases in California that prompted the state’s Department of Public Health to issue a warning.

I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter has been linked to at least 12 illnesses in five states, including four in California, health officials say. (Credit: CNN)

I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter has been linked to at least 12 illnesses in five states, including four in California, health officials say. (Credit: CNN)

All but one of the individuals is under age 18, and six of them have been hospitalized. Four of the hospitalized patients have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. It can be life-threatening, although most people recover within a few weeks.

Health officials identified I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter as the likely cause of the outbreak. The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration are working with state and local officials to further investigate.

I.M. Healthy has issued a voluntary recall of its Original Creamy SoyNut Butter with a freshness date of August 30 or 31, 2018.

“CDC recommends that consumers do not eat, and childcare centers, schools and other institutions do not serve, any I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter or I.M. Healthy brand granola coated with SoyNut Butter,” the CDC said in statement.

The illnesses began between January 6 and February 15.

Symptoms of E. coli illness usually begin two to eight days after consuming the bacteria. They include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Most people recover in five to seven days, although 5% to 10% of individuals diagnosed with this type of E. coli illness develop hemolytic uremic syndrome, according to the CDC.

States reporting cases are Arizona, California, Maryland, New Jersey and Oregon.

The California Department of Public Health confirmed four cases in the state. All became ill about a week after consuming I.M. Healthy brand Creamy SoyNut Butter, the department said Friday afternoon in a news release. 

“Consumers who purchased Creamy SoyNut Butter or coated granola should dispose of the product immediately, even if it was already eaten and didn’t cause illness,” CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith said in the release.