Frozen food manufactured by US group Rich Products Corp. has been linked to an E. coli outbreak that has spread across 15 states.

Twenty-seven people have fallen ill after being infected with an outbreak strain of E. coli O121 that has been linked to the privately-owned firm.

The strain has been identified in two different Farm Rich frozen products collected from the homes of two of the ill individuals, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday (5 April). A person taken ill in Texas had an opened package of frozen pizza slices that contained the strain. In New York state, a pack of frozen chicken quesadillas was found to contain the bacteria.

Over a third of those taken ill have been sent to hospital, with two developing kidney failure. More than 80% of the 27 ill people are under 21, the CDC said.

Ten people reported eating Farm Rich frozen products, the agency added. Investigations are continuing to determine what foods are associated with the outbreak, it said.

On Thursday, Rich Products Corp. recalled all products made at its plant in Waycross on Georgia with best-by dates from 1 January 2013 to 29 September 2014 due to possible contamination. The recall followed an announcement a week earlier that Rich Products Corp. would pull certain Farm Rich and Market Day products.

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