Thursday, March 9, 2017

Utah Public Health Officials Issue Warning About Peanut Butter Substitute

(Salt Lake City, UT) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), multiple states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli infections. The investigation has revealed I.M. Healthy brand soy nut butter and I.M. Healthy granola products may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria and are a likely source of the outbreak. 

No E. coli cases associated with this outbreak have been reported in Utah, although the products are sold in Utah stores. Food safety inspectors from the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) are contacting Utah distributors and grocery store chains to ensure recalled products are removed from shelves. Inspectors have found some products on some store shelves and have worked with stores to have the products removed. 

Sixteen people from nine states have been infected with E. coli associated with the outbreak. Eight of those individuals were hospitalized and five developed a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported. 

Utahns should stop eating all varieties of I.M. Healthy brand soy nut butter and granola products. Childcare centers, schools, and other institutions should stop serving these products and check their food storage area for soy nut butter products from I.M. Healthy. The products have a shelf life of two years.

“Even if some of the soy nut butter or granola was eaten or served and no one got sick, throw the rest of the product away. Put it in a sealed bag in the trash so that children, pets, or other animals can't eat it,” said Laine McCullough, epidemiologist with the Utah Department of Health.

Consumers who have purchased I.M. Healthy soy nut butter may return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-800-288-1012, Monday-Friday 8:00-4:00 MST.

E. coli symptoms vary but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. Most people get better within 5–7 days, but some infections are severe or even life-threatening. Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, is a potentially life-threatening complication of E. coli infection. Very young children and the elderly are more likely to develop severe illness and kidney failure than others, but even healthy, older children and young adults can become seriously ill.

Contact your healthcare provider if you have diarrhea that lasts for more than three days, or is accompanied by high fever, blood in the stool, or so much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down and you pass very little urine. More information about E. coli can be found at

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Media Contacts:
Rebecca Ward (UDOH)
(o) 801-538-6682
(m) 801-352-1270
Larry Lewis (UDAF)
(o) 801-538-7104
(m) 801-514-2152