E. coli poisoning leads to Odwalla juice recall
November 1, 1996
Web posted at: 6:25 p.m. EST
From Correspondent Eugenia Halsey
(CNN) -- E. coli bacteria has caused an outbreak of food
poisoning on the West Coast. But unlike many past cases, the
bug has been traced to a fruit juice, not hamburger meat.
California-based Odwalla Inc., the maker of Odwalla fruit
juices, issued a nationwide recall Wednesday of all its
products containing apple juice after health officials linked
it to an outbreak of E. coli bacterial poisoning.
The company, based in Half Moon Bay, California, also is
recalling its carrot and vegetable juices as a precaution.
Health officials in Washington state linked 10 of 13 cases of
E. coli infection to Odwalla fruit juices. In Colorado,
officials said at least four cases of E. coli poisoning was
most likely associated with Odwalla juices.
Greg Steltenpohl of Odwalla said the company was issuing its
recall because its primary concern is for the "safety and
health" of its customers. (17 sec./184K AIFF or WAV sound)
Thirteen types of juice were being pulled from the shelves of
stores in seven Western states and Canada. While they all
contain some form of apple juice, some, like Blackberry
Fruitshake," do not have "apple" in their names.
The other potentially tainted Odwalla flavors are: Mango
Tango, Super Protein, Strawberry Banana Smoothie, Raspberry
Smoothie, C-Monster, Mo'Beta, Femme Vitale, Strawberry C-
Monster, Superfood, Serious Ginseng and Deep in Peach.
Odwalla sells 12 other products, from strawberry lemonade to
a vegetable cocktail, that do not contain apple juice and are
not affected by the recall. People who have bought Odwalla
products containing apple juice should "discard" them, Food
and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler said.(10 sec./105K AIFF or WAV sound)
Most of the poisoning victims have been children. Two
remained hospitalized; the other victims were not
seriously ill. Symptoms include diarrhea and cramping.
Health officials used dietary histories taken from the
victims and genetic "fingerprinting" of the bacteria to trace
the outbreak to a batch of unpasteurized apple juice that
Odwalla uses as an ingredient in many of its mixed-fruit
No one is sure how the apples became contaminated, but
medical experts said the strain of E. coli typically lives in
the intestines of cows.
Don Schlimme with the University of Maryland suggested the
apples could have become contaminated through feces from cows
grazing near an apple orchard. (10 sec./103K AIFF or WAV sound)
Pasteurization, which involves heat treatment, would have
killed the bacteria in the Odwalla products. Health officials
said when people drink nonpasteurized juice, they run the
risk of becoming sick. They suggest boiling juice first.
But authorities also said most juices sold in stores are
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