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Possible pizza E. coli case in Iowa

The Des Moines Register reported this morning that an Iowa E. coli case might be connected to the E. coli outbreak that was traced back to consumption of Totino’s and Jeno’s pizzas earlier this month. According to the story, testing is still being conducted, and the epidemiologic investigation has not yet concluded that the pizza was the source of the Iowan’s illness; however, the investigation is ongoing. Nigel Duara wrote:

totino's ecoli outbreakDr. Patricia Quinlisk of the Iowa Department of Public Health said Tuesday that either a person in western Iowa contracted a strain of E. coli that matches the DNA "fingerprint" of the E. coli bacterium involved in a national frozen pizza recall, or the person’s history involves consumption of the tainted product.

The bacterium in the recall is blamed for sickening 23 people in 12 other states, including bordering states South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois and Wisconsin.

Quinlisk said the department has investigated three cases. Two did not match the strain found in the pepperoni in Totino’s and Jeno’s pizzas, but one case is still under investigation.

"We’re still waiting for some further information," Quinlisk said Tuesday. "We don’t know it’s definitely here. Two (cases) were proved not to be here."

General Mills announced on November 1, 2007, that the company was recalling its Totino’s Crisp Crust Party pizzas and Jeno’s Crisp ‘N Tasty pizzas for possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination. The recall was initiated after over 20 people became ill with E. coli infections after eating the pizzas.

The pizzas were produced on or before October 30, and were distributed nationwide. Each package is marked with “EST. 7750” inside the USDA seal of inspection, and has a “best if used by” date on or before April 2, 2008.

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