More than half of all the people sickened in the six-state E. coli outbreak linked to Earth Grown falafel live in Michigan. Eleven of the 20 people who developed E. coli infections after purchasing the frozen falafel from ALDI stores are from Michigan. The nine other patients are from Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio, Kansas, and Florida.
ALDI operates 2,244 stores in 40 states. Michigan is one of 10 states with more than 90 ALDI locations. Its 95 ALDI stores are located throughout the state including the Upper Peninsula.
On October 7, Cuisine Innovations Unlimited of Lakewood, NJ issued a recall for two varieties of Earth Grown brand frozen falafel sold exclusively at ALDI. Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it has started a traceback investigation and sample analysis of ingredients used to make the Earth Grown Vegan Traditional Falafel and Earth Grown Garlic & Herb Falafel.
Health officials have submitted the E. coli strain found in the falafel and cultured from patients to genetic testing called whole genome sequencing which identifies the genetic “fingerprint” of the strain. Results of these tests show that all of the patients were sickened by the same strain found in the falafel.
Eighty-three percent of the people interviewed by health officials said they were ALDI shoppers. Six patients remembered eating Earth Grown brand falafel before they developed E. coli symptoms on dates ranging from July 13, 2022, to September 13, 2022.
Symptoms of an E. coli infection include abdominal cramps and diarrhea that can be bloody. Usually, these symptoms develop within one to three days of eating contaminated food.
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