On Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that over 20 cases of E. coli 0121 have broken out within 15 states, with one of the cases being linked to Farm Rich frozen food products. One third of the E. coli 0121 cases have been hospitalized, no deaths have occurred. The outbreaks have been reported in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. A majority of the cases are under the age of 22. The New York State Department of Health found a strain of Shiga toxin producing the E. coli in an open bag of frozen chicken quesadilla in a sick person’s home. All the ill people they interviewed stated that they all eat frozen foods, and some were eating Farm Rich frozen food products. The FDA is now currently under investigation to determine the true source of this outbreak.
This outbreak is not looking good for the frozen food industry, since most of their customers are college students because of the easy cooking. With the cases being under 22, students and parents will slowly stop purchasing the frozen meals to avoid getting sick. The only way that the frozen food industry will pick up will be when the FDA finds the true source of outbreak and they can fix the problem while reinsuring the quality of their products. At the same time they might not lose that much business because some people will still buy solely just out convenience within their daily lives.