RICHMOND -- More than 90 tons of prepackaged salads and sandwiches were recalled by a Richmond catering company because a bacterial strain of E. coli has been linked to its products, federal health officials announced Sunday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said Glass Onion Catering recalled approximately 181,620 pounds of salads and sandwich wraps containing cooked chicken and ham after 26 patients in three states were sickened with E. coli O157:H7, a strain of the sometimes deadly bacteria.

The FSIS did not say in which states the E. coli patients became ill. The agency is urging anyone who may have bought salads or prewrapped sandwiches with cooked ham or chicken to throw them away.

The products were produced between Sept. 23 and Nov. 6, and were shipped to distribution centers in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Texas.

The Food and Drug Administration notified the FSIS on Wednesday that California authorities had tied the illnesses to the Richmond company.

Glass Onion Catering has been a source of food for retailer brands, including Trader Joe's, Super Fresh Foods and Delish. The company was launched in 1992. Its owner, Tom Atherstone, did not return multiple messages left with the company on Sunday.

According to the FSIS, the company began monitoring the outbreak Oct. 29 after a cluster of illnesses involving the E. coli strain.


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The bacteria can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps some 2-8 days after a person is exposed to it, according to the FSIS. Most people recover within a week, but some develop kidney failure, the agency said.

Consumers with questions about food safety can go to AskKaren.gov, a virtual representative available 24 hours a day (via smart phone, the address is m.askkaren.gov). Call the USDA's meat and poultry hotline 7 a.m.-1 p.m. (PST) at 888-674-6854.

Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4789 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rdERH.