Nikita Richardson
December 02, 2015 9:04 am

Some not so awesome news out of Starbucks this week: The company has decided to pull its holiday turkey paninis with stuffing out of nearly 1,400 locations after the sandwiches were tied to a recent E.coli outbreak on the West Coast.

Out of an “abundance of caution,” the meals, which had “enjoy by” dates of November 27 and 28, have been removed from stores across California, Oregon, and Washington and were pulled before anyone got sick.

It was bulk grocery chain Costco that first connected the outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E.coli—one of the most dangerous strains of the bacteria—with the diced celery used in its rotisserie chicken salad. So far, the tainted veggie has been connected to the illnesses of 19 people (with no deaths reported at press time) across seven states, including California, Missouri, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Montana, and Colorado. Major retailers like Walmart, 7-Eleven, Safeway, Target, and now Starbucks have removed products containing the celery, supplied by Taylor Farms Pacific Inc., as well.

This outbreak appears to be unconnected to the milder strain of E.coli, which sickened at least 43 Chipotle customers in late October and early November. The popular fast casual chain has yet to identify which ingredient or ingredients were contaminated.

Though humans naturally carry helpful E.coli germs in their lower intestines, certain strains of the bacteria can be dangerous, causing diarrhea, fever, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and in extreme cases, kidney failure.  According to the CDC, the strongest defenses against the bacteria are thorough hand washing, cooking meat at the proper temperature, and avoiding cross contamination when preparing meals.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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