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FDA Broadens Warnings on the Contaminated Dip that Sickened at Least 49

Friday, January 28, 2000 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Food and Drug Administration widened warnings yesterday that Americans should not purchase or consume a Mexican-style five-layer dip that appears to have left at least 49 people with food poisoning. The dip may be contaminated with shigella, a serious -- and highly contagious -- type of bacteria that causes bloody diarrhea, cramps, fever, nausea and vomiting.

The manufacturer recalled the contaminated dip last week, but the FDA said the illness count has mounted and the dip was sold more widely than previously reported. Do not purchase or consume any five-layer dip sold under the following brand names, the FDA said: Senor Felix's Five-Layered Party Dip, Delicioso 5-Layer Dip, Trader Joe's Five-Layered Fiesta Dip, or The Carryout Cafe Mexican Fiesta Party Dip 5 Layer.

If you have consumed these recalled products and experience shigella symptoms, seek medical care, the FDA advised. Symptoms of shigella infection typically appear one to three days after ingesting the bacteria. It can be very serious and require antibiotic treatment. Indeed, five of the 49 cases counted so far have required hospitalization, the FDA said. Shigella is highly contagious, so sufferers who do not carefully wash their hands can spread the illness to family members.

Previous consumer alerts did not mention that the product is sold under the Carryout Cafe brand, and implied the dips were sold in only a few retail chains. Actually, the dips were sold in numerous stores nationwide, and while most of the illnesses were reported from California, Oregon and Washington, reports are trickling in from other areas, the FDA said. The recalled dip was manufactured by Senor Felix's Gourmet Mexican Foods Inc. of Baldwin Park, Calif. Consumers who have purchased the recalled dips may return them to the place of purchase for a refund.

Consumers also may call Senor Felix's hot line at 1-800-807-7335.

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