USDA Recalls Totino's, Jeno's Delicious E. Coli Flavored Pizzas

Yesterday the USDA recalled several types of both Totino’s and Jeno’s meat pizzas because they are tainted with e. coli. E. coli bacteria is not destroyed by freezing, so you’ll want to avoid eating these pizzas. The USDA considers this a Class I recall, which is defined as “a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.”

Several people have become ill from eating these pizzas, so please, please throw them away. The code “EST. 7750” will be located inside the USDA mark of inspection as well as a “best if used by” date on or before “02 APR 08 WS.”

The USDA says: “The company applies the “best if used by date” on the package based on a 155-day shelf life, however consumers are urged to look in their freezers for similar frozen pizza products and discard them if found.

So far there have been illnesses reported in Illinois (1), Kentucky (3), Missouri (2), New York (2), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (8), Virginia (1), and Wisconsin (1). Don’t mess with these pizzas. Throw them away. For a complete list of the recalled pizzas, click here.

Ohio Firm Recalls Frozen Meat Pizzas Due to Possible E. coli O157:H7 Contamination [USDA]


Edit Your Comment

  1. darkened says:

    Cooking to 350-400 degrees isn’t enough to vaporize the bacteria?

  2. matdevdug says:

    Wow I could be in some real trouble if cooking them to 350 degrees isn’t enough. I eat about one of these things a week.

  3. remusrm says:

    350-400 is not a good cooking temp… a little secret is that most restaurants and good cooks use high heat to make their food. whatever is on the box to cook at, add 100 or so degrees.

  4. 44 in a Row says:

    Those Jeno’s pizzas are delicious.

  5. Red_Eye says:

    @remusrm: Considering Totinos cook at about 425(depending on toppings) that could be an issue for some ovens.

    Allegedly the e.coli can be killed at 160deg, but is your life worth a $.87 cent pizza? Several of the people who have gotten e.coli related to this recall have lost kidney function. A lifetime of dialysis or get another snack hmmm….

  6. Balisong says:

    @remusrm: um…are you joking? All you’re going to do by raising the temperature is make the outside of the pizza (or whatever product) look cooked and leave the inside a deliciously frozen haven for bacteria. People raise the oven temp from the instructions on the box thinking they can cook something faster (I once worked with a person who prepared food for customers like this – scary, no?). It’s people like you that are affected by these recalled foods and get sick, because you won’t follow instructions and cook things thoroughly! That or you like your pizza burnt to a blackened crisp, in which case to each their own.

  7. DrGirlfriend says:

    Oh man, I love Totinos. Good thing I’ve been avoiding extra-fatty foods (allowing myself to go only as far as “fatty”), or else I’d be turning all hypochondriac. Or all e-coliac, I guess.

  8. Chairman-Meow says:

    Another recall due to E. Coli goodness.

    Why do I feel like its 1900 all over again ? Should I try to raise Upton Sinclair from the dead again ?


  9. 3drage says:

    Yeah, not a good idea to increase the cooking temp of these things. The heat they ask you to cook them at now is hot enough to compete with the sun. I usually get one of these once a month or so, guess I’ll be eating healthier from now on..drat!

  10. pkrieger says:

    Crap, now what am I going to have for dinner.

  11. 4ster says:

    I was just about to heat up one of the cheese ones (not affected by the recall), but still got skittish and tossed it.

  12. iEddie says:

    I’ve had these. Well, I’m not dead yet, so I guess they weren’t affected.

  13. Hawk07 says:

    I tend to stay away from the sub-cheap frozen pizzas that go for like $1-$2. I got them once to try because I had coupons and they were frankly really cheap, but the quality was laughable at best and I’d be embarrassed to serve to any company (i.e. friends coming over to watch the game, not a dinner party per say).

  14. lotides says:

    I just had to throw those exact pizzas away. Thanks consumerist!

  15. Flossie says:

    Oh man – I eat two or three of these things for breakfast everyday. How do I tell E. Coli poisoning apart from the general illness caused by the pizzas themselves? I’ve got horrible vomiting, diarrhea, and the chills – nothing out of the ordinary.

  16. justin.ryan says:

    Bummer. I have about 5 cheese ones in the freezer. I know they aren’t included in this recall, but I am feeling a little weird about eating it now.

  17. jeff303 says:

    @Flossie: You owe me a new keyboard

  18. faust1200 says:

    Typical Consumerist style post parody: “Why not just make your frozen pizzas at home? That’s what we do. It saves us money and they taste so much better!!”

  19. synergy says:

    Like others have said, cooking at over 160ºF/71ºC should kill the bacteria.

    Don’t just sear your pizza either like the person advocating the 100º addition to the cooking temp. The temp should be the internal temp of the food, too, all the way through.

    On the other hand, it is a cheap pizza. You shouldn’t be eating it unless you’re poor and can’t afford a better quality one.

  20. PDX909 says:

    My wife and son are very ill at the moment, and they did both share one of these pizzas earlier in the week. As a consumer are we supposed to let someone know that we may have been affected by the product so that they know the distribution pattern of affected goods? To JUSTIN.RYAN’s question, Since all these pizzas are made on the same assembly lines I would be very wary of eating a pizza manufactured around the same time, even if it wasn’t named in the initial recall.

  21. PDX909 says:

    To SYNERGY’s point. Agreed, they are cheap pizzas, but they are also one of the only small pizzas out there on the market, that’s why we buy them, it saves wasting half of a bigger one, and I think you’ll find that’s one of the reasons they are so popular.

  22. Brad2723 says:

    I tried one of those Totino’s Pizzas. It probably had the e-coli, as not only was it the worst pizza I ever tasted but it gave me the shits as well.
    I ate one slice before deciding to throw the rest in the trash. It tasted so nasty, I wouldn’t even feed it to my dog.

  23. stinerman says:

    Throw a little tabasco sauce on there. It covers up the bad taste. I ate quite a few of these in college due to their price.

  24. justin.ryan says:

    @PDX909: Yeah, that is what I was thinking. I’m just going to bring them back to the store.

  25. ratnerstar says:

    Man, my friend-who-used-to-live-on-my-couch left a bunch of those in my freezer when he moved back to Minnesota. I just ate one a few days ago.

    If I lose a kidney, it’s on your head, dude.

  26. bunnymen says:

    Another food I ate when I was poor bites the dust. Bummer.

  27. XianZomby says:

    I believe the cooking instructions for the Totino’s pizza say preheat the oven to 425 degrees, and cook for about 13-17 minutes. The pizza is about half an inch thick. I’ve never pulled one of these out of the oven and not had the top brown, the bottom crispy like a cracker and the entire pizza hot enough to burn a hole in my mouth. Eaten with Chalula hot sauce and cooked according to the directions this tastes damn good. Of course, you have to FOLLOW DIRECTIONS.

    My roomate microwaves it, against instructions, and eats it like a soggy taco. He might get food poisioning. But he also eats it with ketchup. Anybody that eats a pizza with ketchup deserves to get sick.

  28. TravisL says:

    I know it’s a really cheap pizza, but if it’s being recalled, shouldn’t they give instructions on where or how to return it? “Recalled” implies “returning back to where it came”, but the instructions here are to just toss it and suck up your 87¢ loss (per pizza).

  29. MrEvil says:

    @XianZomby: I know I always cook them all the way through in my big oven as the directions say.

    e.coli is easy to avoid if you aren’t a lazy turd and and cook your food properly. The beef industry around here has been handing out those one-time use meat thermometers for hamburgers that change color when the meat is hot enough in the middle. NEVER EVER EVER order a hamburger less than well done. If it’s not cooked all the way through, toss it or send it back to the kitchen.

    the only reason it’s safe to eat a rare steak or piece of prime rib is because e.coli does not come from meat. It comes from fecal matter that has contaminated the surface of the cut of meat. Unfortunately with ground meat it gets smushed up in the grinding process and is thouroughly mixed in. With a steak, the e.coli is isolated to the outter surface of the cut of meat and is burned off during cooking.

    I’m a huge steak-eater and I have to have my steak “Still moo-ing” rare. I’ve not once gotten sick, I just ensure my grill is tremendously hot and I get a good even cook on the outside of the meat.

  30. clarkbhm says:

    I’d rather return it then throw it away… Why should the company profit from a recall? Why should I throw away my money instead?