Public Health Alert 

Release date: 08/08/2011
Sponsored by: Health & Human Services Department, Environmental Health Division

Fresh Strawberries from a Farm Field in Washington County Implicated in E. Coli O157 Outbreak in NW Oregon

 

UPDATE: The Oregon Department of Agriculture has posted a non-inclusive list of locations known to have distributed Jaquith Farm strawberries.

Oregon Public Health officials have identified fresh strawberries from a Newberg farm with fields in Washington County as the source of a cluster of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections that sickened at least 10 people last month, including one person who died.  

The strawberries were produced last month by Jaquith Strawberry Farm with a postal address at 23135 SW Jaquith Road in Newberg. Jaquith finished its strawberry season in late July, and its strawberries are no longer on the market. Jaquith sold its strawberries to buyers who then resold them at roadside stands and farmer's markets.  

Health officials are urging consumers who may have purchased strawberries grown on this farm to throw them out. Strawberries that have been frozen or made into uncooked jam are of particular concern. Cooking kills E. coli O157:H7 bacteria.  

Washington County Public Health is working in cooperation with Oregon Public Health, Oregon Department of Agriculture and neighboring counties to monitor the spread of the disease, investigate potential cases and reinforce public guidance from the state about preventing infection. The County is also conducting outreach and providing support to the local community of patrons and sellers at farmer's markets and roadside fruit stands.  

None of the following have been implicated in this outbreak:

  • Berries other than strawberries.
  • Strawberries sold since Aug. 1.
  • Strawberries sold south of Benton County or east of Multnomah County.
  • Strawberries sold in supermarkets.
  • Strawberries picked at Jaquith Strawberry Farm's U-pick field.  

Public health officials emphasize that fruits and vegetables are still important to a healthy diet; at least five servings per day are recommended. Officials also recognize that farmer's markets are an important source of fruits and vegetables and are a vital part of the local economy. However, people need to take the following precautions with any uncooked produce:  

  • Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating them.
  • Keep fruits and vegetables and other raw food separated from cooked or other prepared food.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap after handling raw foods, as well as before eating, after using the toilet, and after changing diapers.  

More information about this outbreak can be found at: http://www.oregon.gov/OHA/news/2011/2011-0808.pdf   

A partial list of locations known to have distributed Jaquith Farm strawberries can be found at:
http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/FSD/strawberries.shtml

More information about E. coli is available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/

Contact:

Health and Human Services, Environmental Health Division
(503) 846-8722