We Still Don’t Know Who Made The E. Coli-Contaminated Soynut Butter

Image courtesy of Connie Ma

So far, 16 people sick from E. coli have had their illnesses officially linked to recalled soy butter from the brand I.M. Healthy. Half of the infected have been hospitalized, and 14 of them are children. Yet there’s one piece of information about the recall hasn’t been made public: The company has not released the name of the contract manufacturer that made the products originally.

The problem, the Miami Herald reports, is that the butter company can declare the manufacturer’s identity to be Confidential Commercial Information, which the FDA isn’t allowed to make public. CCI can be particular ingredients, processes, or equipment that a company uses to make its products. In this case, the information that SoyNut Butter Co. is out to protect is who actually made the products sold under its name.

Officials are also investigating cases of E. coli that may be linked to the original outbreak. A school in Portland, for example, is waiting for test results to find out whether its own outbreak of E. coli might be linked to the soy products.

While the product wasn’t used at the school, one student did have a jar at home, and it’s possible that feces-to-food transmission could happen if the child were sick. It becomes even more possible the younger the child is. Four cases in Arizona were from the outbreak strain and may be linked to the nut butter as well.

Marler Clark, a Seattle law firm that specializes in food safety lawsuits across the country, partnering with local firms, is behind two lawsuits against the company. One of the suits is against what the firm is calling the “John Doe” contract manufacturer.

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