Is My Costco Chicken Salad At Risk Of E. Coli? The Recall Has Spread To Several States

The Center for Disease Control is reporting that seven states have been affected by a recent E. coli outbreak linked to Costco's rotisserie chicken salad. The initial announcement came on Tuesday that 19 cases linked to the item have been reported leading to five hospitalizations. By Nov. 20, Costco had voluntarily removed all of the product from its shelves, according to the CDC. This particular strain of E. coli may be very dangerous, and has already led to the development of hemolytic uremic syndrome — a disease with symptoms that include anemia and kidney failure — in two of the 19 reported cases. So is your Costco chicken salad at risk of E. coli? The warehouse store suspended the sales of the salad on Nov. 20, so any rotisserie chicken salad purchased on or before that day runs the risk of being infected.

The CDC advised:

Consumers who purchased rotisserie chicken salad from any Costco store in the United States on or before November 20, 2015, should not eat it and should throw it away. Even if some of the rotisserie chicken salad has been eaten and no one has gotten sick, throw the rest of the product away.

Seven states have been affected by the outbreak, including California, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Virginia, Utah, and Washington. It's unclear as to which ingredient may be contaminated in the salad but Costco has taken extra precautions by not only removing the product from shelves across the country but halting its production altogether. The CDC is continuing to investigate and has been interviewing those affected in addition to testing potentially infected chicken salads. Those who have reportedly fallen ill have all become sick between Oct. 6 and Nov. 3. E. coli symptoms typically develop three to four days after the consumption of infected food.

The easiest way to tell if your Costco rotisserie chicken salad is infected is to look at its item number. Just underneath the all caps name "chicken salad made with rotisserie chicken," there should be the item number "#37719." Right below the number and the label is the list of ingredients in the salad. According to the CDC, the item's shelf life is around three to four days. Costco has yet to release its own official statement about the outbreak though health officials in Colorado have already assured citizens that the salad has been removed from shelves and that they are continuing to investigate the outbreak.

The E. coli outbreak is the second such incident to occur in the states of California and Washington this month. Chipotle had previously been forced to temporarily close locations as it battled their own e. coli outbreak reported in the aforementioned two states as well as Minnesota, New York, Ohio, and Oregon. According to recent reports, the CDC is no longer advising consumers to steer clear of the fast casual chain. It's unclear when Costco's chicken salad will once again return to shelves but at least you can tide yourself over with a burrito in the meantime.

Images: CDC (1), Getty (1)