Miami-Dade County

A product named ‘I.M. Healthy’ shouldn’t be connected to E. coli. But it is

I.M. Healthy Creamy SoyNut Butter has been recalled.
I.M. Healthy Creamy SoyNut Butter has been recalled.

A possible E. coli contamination that has reportedly caused kidney failure in four people ignited the recall of a soy peanut butter substitute branded “I.M. Healthy.”

According to SoyNut Butter Company’s recall announcement, I.M. Healthy Original Creamy SoyNut Butter has been distributed to retail outlets, childcare centers and schools in several states. Consumers could buy it by mail also, and the illnesses reported so far have been in coastal states.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration calls I.M. Healthy Original Creamy SoyNut Butter “the likely source” of an E. coli outbreak that has struck four people in Arizona, four in California, two in Oregon, one in Maryland and one in New Jersey. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says six were hospitalized, and four developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure that can be fatal. Of the 12 fallen sick, 11 are children.

Interviews with nine of the sick people about what they had eaten or been around the week before falling ill discovered five who’d eaten I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter at home. The other four went to childcare centers that served I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter or I.M. Healthy granola coated with SoyNut Butter.

Escherichia coli infection symptoms can vary. The FDA lists “stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea” and, possibly, mild fever (100 or 101 degrees Fahrenheit, 37.5 or 38.5 Celsius). Most people recover in five to seven days. Others suffer life-threatening problems, such as HUS.

The FDA and CDC recommend tossing out all products that include I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter. The actual recall covers the SoyNut Butter itself, which has been sold in 15-ounce plastic jars; individual portion cups; and 4-pound plastic tubs.

Consumers can call SoyNut Butter Company at 800-288-1012.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal