On March 2, 2017, The SoyNut Butter Company initiated a recall of its I.M. Healthy Original Creamy SoyNut Butter after a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) alert of “a possible link between our product and illnesses regarding E. coli.” The FDA’s alert comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed E. Coli cases were linked as an outbreak cluster. The source of the outbreak was identified by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, who confirmed that and E. Coli victim in its state ate I.M. Healthy soy nut butter prior to their illness.
Initially, the company’s representative Marsha dissuaded the media from including the company in the outbreak. She stated that the CDC and other agencies had not contacted the company to inform them of any potential link of the E. Coli cases to their products. Marsha stated “We would be the first to know if there was a problem. The CDC would call us first.”
By that evening, the company initiated the recall on social media. Their post on Facebook states:
“The SoyNut Butter Co. has announced a voluntary recall of our of I.M. Healthy Original Creamy SoyNut Butter with the Best By date of 08-30-18 or 08-31-18. The voluntary recall is in response to the FDA alerting us of a possible link between our product and illnesses regarding E.coli. While we are taking the necessary investigative steps in getting the product in question and the supply chain tested, we decided to issue the recall for the sake of food safety. We take our products integrity seriously and will update all our customers as we receive more information.
Consumers who have purchased I.M. Healthy Original Creamy SoyNut Butter should not consume the product. The recall does not effect any other I.M. Healthy products except for the I.M. Healthy Original Creamy with the Best By date of 08-30-18 or 08-31-18. For questions or concerns, please call our office at 800-288-1012.”
About the Company
From Glenview, Illinois, the SoyNut Butter Company sells its products from coast to coast. One of the company’s most prominent products is its SoyNut Butter. SoyNut Butter is a peanut butter-alternative intended for “individuals and institutions concerned with food allergies.” The company recommends its SoyNut Butter to people with allergies to peanuts, gluten, dairy, eggs, and tree nuts. It further markets its soy butter products as an alternative to peanut butter for children with food allergies.
According to the SoyNut Butter Company’s website, its I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter “is served nationwide in thousands of pre-school facilities, Head Start programs, camps and schools – and kids love it!” The company’s SoyNut Butter is served to “over 2 million children a month.” The company claims that, “In everything from schools to daycare facilities, camps and Head Start programs, the remarkably similar taste and texture of our SoyNut Butter is a hit with kids of all ages. And the nutritional value has made our products the peanut butter alternative.”
The SoyNut Butter Company sells its products in supermarkets nationwide, in health and natural foods stores, and online. In addition to being sold online through Amazon.com and Nutricity.com, SoyNut Butter is sold at these grocery stores: Albertsons; A&P; Bashas’; CA$H WISE FOODS; Coborn’s; Copps; Cosentino’s Fine Foods Market; Cub Foods; D&W Fresh Market; Delhaize; Demoulas; Dillons Food Stores; Family Fare Supermarkets; Felpausch; festival foods; Fiesta; Food Lion; Fred Meyer; Fry’s Food Stores; Giant; Giant Eagle; Hannaford; Harris Teeter; H-E-B; H-E-B’s Central Market; Henhouse; Hornbacher’s; Hyvee; Ingles; Jewel; King Soopers; Kowaski’s Markets; Kroger; Lowes Foods; Lucky Supermarkets; Lunds; Byerly’s; Marianos; Martin’s; Meijer; Minyard Food Stores; No Frills Supermarkets; Pick’n’Save; Price Chopper; Publix; Raley’s; Ralphs; Randalls’ Rice Epicurean Markets; Russ’s Market; Safeway; Savemart Supermarkets; Shaws; Shop Rite; Shop ‘n Save; Smith’s Food & Drug Stores; Stop & Shop; SuperOne Foods; SuperValu; Target; Tom Thumb; Tops; Vons; Wegmans; Whole Foods; and Winn Dixie. SoyNut Butter is also sold at these health foods stores: Earthlight Natural Foods; Fiddleheads; Fresh Madison Market; and New Vitality Health Foods, Inc.
Therefore, there is a possibility that more than four states may be affected.
The CDC released the following statement about the investigation collaboration between them, the FDA, and the state and local government health departments:
“This investigation is ongoing, and we will update the public when more information becomes available. CDC and state and local public health partners are continuing laboratory surveillance through PulseNet to identify additional ill people and to interview those people about foods they ate before they got sick.”
The agencies are using the national database for outbreaks and DNA genomic mapping, the PulseNet system. They want to ensure that there is a proper link for other potential cases that may be related to the outbreak and possess a similar strain of E. Coli O157.
What is E. Coli O157?
E. coli infections are one of the most common forms of foodborne illness. E. coli is the name for a family of bacteria found in most environments, and even in the human digestive tract. Most E. coli strains are harmless and even beneficial to humans. However, some E. coli strains produce toxins that cause illness, like E. Coli O157 found in this outbreak.
The most common form of pathogenic E. coli is Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, or STEC. Shiga toxin-producing bacteria are the cause of this outbreak. These bacteria most commonly contaminate items such as beef, other meats, raw milk, apple cider, and cheese made with raw milk. E. coli bacteria have also been known to contaminate fruits, vegetables, legumes, and even water sources. E. coli infections can affect people from any age group and background. However, young children, the elderly, and those with suppressed immune systems are at the highest risk of developing a serious E. coli infection, severe complications, or even hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
When someone is exposed to harmful E. Coli bacteria from contaminated food or water, symptoms usually show within 1-9 days.
Symptoms of E. Coli poisoning can vary, but typically include: vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, usually bloody. In a majority of instances, an E. coli infection of a healthy person will subside within a week. However, some cases of E. coli infection can more severe and even life threatening.
In up to 10% of E. coli poisoning cases, a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) may develop within a few days of infection. HUS is a complication that damages red blood cells. Essentially, these damaged cells clog up the body’s filtration process when they pass through the kidneys. Filtering these HUS-affected blood cells and removing them from the bloodstream can cause damage to the kidneys, and could even lead to kidney failure. HUS can cause other symptoms, including: decreased frequency of urination, loss of color in the eyes and cheeks, and fatigue. Children are especially susceptible to HUS.
A huge concern about this outbreak is that soy butter is primarily eaten by children. No matter the age, if someone has eaten SoyNut Butter Company or I.M Healthy SoyNut Butter and is showing any of the signs or symptoms of E. Coli food poisoning, they should seek medical attention and get the necessary stool testing to determine if they have an infection immediately.
In 2013, we were recognized by a prestigious publication, The National Law Journal, as having one of the “The Top 100 Verdicts of 2013.” This honor was given for the significant verdict we achieved for our New Mexico client who was killed when a tanker-trailer hit his car. We fought and ultimately won the case, proving that the truck driver had not been properly trained, that maintenance records on the truck were not properly kept and that the driver was fatigued.
We're a nationally recognized as a firm that is skilled at handling difficult mesothelioma cases. Our clients include not only the men and women who were exposed to asbestos from traditional workplace exposures, such as on construction sites, but the many mesothelioma victims who suffered as a result of rare exposures: a dentist who made gold dental crowns, a copy machine repairman and a gentleman who worked in a pencil factory making erasers.
The SoyNut Butter Company, the CDC, the FDA, and local state health agencies advise the immediate cessation of eating or using any soy nut butter-containing products from The SoyNut Butter Company. These products have a long shelf life, so they are most likely still in peoples’ homes.
If you or someone you care for has ingested products from the SoyNut Butter Company and become ill, urgent medical attention is recommended.
You can also call our office for answers to your questions, to address any concerns, and to help you understand the legal process. You can reach us at (855) 969-5637.
For more information on E. Coli or this outbreak, you can visit www.unsafefoods.com.
Pursuant to NMRA 16-702, the law firm Robins Cloud LLP, 505 Cerrillos Road, Suite A209, Santa Fe NM 87501, is responsible for the content of this website.
We welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Neither the completion of an intake nor the submission of any other information to this law firm constitutes the establishment of an attorney client relationship. No attorney client relationship will exist between us without a specific written retainer agreement between you and this firm. The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.