Steamboat briefs for June 30

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Veggie Booty foods possibly contaminated

— State health officials Friday urged individuals who purchased any Veggie Booty snack food marketed by Robert's American Gourmet to discard the product because of possible contamination with Salmonella Wandsworth, a bacteria that causes severe gastrointestinal illness.

Because Veggie Booty is often consumed by children, and the illnesses reported to date have involved children under 10 years of age, state health officials urged parents and caregivers to watch children closely for symptoms of the illness and to seek medical care immediately if symptoms appear.

Dan Rifkin, Wholesale Foods Program manager with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Consumer Protection Division, said "five cases of illness have been reported in Colorado. We are asking that anyone who believes they became ill after eating Veggie Booty to see their health care provider immediately and hold any remaining bags of the product until the results of their stool testing are known. Health officials are asking people who become ill to hold any remaining product because if they test positive, the department may want the product for further testing. The department will not be testing product from the general public who do not become ill."

Because Salmonella is a reportable disease, the Department of Public Health and Environment will be informed by health care providers of any positive test results. Health officials will follow up with the patient and provide guidance on what to do with the product they've saved.

Salmonella causes diarrhea, oftentimes bloody, and is accompanied by stomach cramps and fever. Symptoms typically begin within one to four days after exposure to the bacteria. In infants, people with poor underlying health and those with weakened immune systems, Salmonella can invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections.

This warning is based on 54 reports of illness to date that span 17 states, including Colorado. Almost all the illnesses reported nationwide have occurred in children under 10 years of age, with the most cases in toddlers.

Veggie Booty is sold in a flexible plastic foil bag in 4-ounce, 1-ounce, and half-ounce packages and was widely distributed to retail food outlets in Colorado.

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