FDA Now Advising That Consumers Not Eat Any Fresh Spinach Products Due to E. coli Problem - Southern Maryland Headline News

FDA Now Advising That Consumers Not Eat Any Fresh Spinach Products Due to E. coli Problem

The FDA has released the following statement on Foodborne E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in spinach. They are now advising consumers not to eat any fresh spinach until the problem has been contained.

To date, 114 cases of illness due to E. coli infection have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including 18 cases of Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), 60 hospitalizations, and one death. Illnesses continue to be reported to CDC. This is considered to be an ongoing investigation.

States Affected

There are now 21 confirmed states: California, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Consumer Advice

FDA advises consumers not to eat fresh spinach or fresh spinach-containing products until further notice.

If individuals believe they may have experienced symptoms of illness after consuming fresh spinach or fresh spinach-containing products, FDA recommends that they seek medical advice.

Symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 Illness

E. coli O157:H7 causes diarrhea, often with bloody stools. Although most healthy adults can recover completely within a week, some people can develop a form of kidney failure called HUS. HUS is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly. The condition can lead to serious kidney damage and even death.

Two Recalls

On September 17, 2006, River Ranch, of Salinas, California, announced a recall of packages of spring mix containing spinach. River Ranch obtained bulk spring mix containing spinach from Natural Selections. The following brands are involved: Fresh N' Easy Spring Mix and Hy-Vee Spring mix containing baby spinach, distributed to retailers in Texas, Iowa and New Mexico. Product was packed in 5 oz. bags and 5 oz. plastic trays. Products that do not contain spinach are not part of this recall.

On September 15, 2006, Natural Selections Foods, LLC, of San Juan Bautista, California, announced a recall of all of its products containing spinach in all brands they pack with "Best if Used by Dates" of August 17, 2006 through October 1, 2006. These products include spinach and any salad with spinach in a blend, both retail and food service products. Products that do not contain spinach are not part of this recall.

Natural Selections Foods, LLC brands include: Natural Selections Foods, Pride of San Juan, Earthbound Farm, Bellissima, Dole, Rave Spinach, Emeril, Sysco, O Organic, Fresh Point, River Ranch, Superior, Nature's Basket, Pro-Mark, Compliments, Trader Joe's, Ready Pac, Jansal Valley, Cheney Brothers, Coastline, D'Arrigo Brothers, Green Harvest, Mann, Mills Family Farm, Premium Fresh, Snoboy, The Farmer's Market, Tanimura & Antle, President's Choice, Cross Valley, and Riverside Farms.

The affected products were also distributed to Canada, Mexico, and Taiwan. No illnesses from these countries have been reported. FDA continues to investigate whether other companies and brands are involved.

Lettuce Safety Initiative

The FDA developed the Lettuce Safety Initiative www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/lettsafe.html in response to recurring outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 in lettuce. As a result of this outbreak, the initiative has been expanded to cover spinach. The primary goals of the initiative are to reduce public health risks by focusing on the product, agents and areas of greatest concern and to alert consumers early and respond rapidly in the event of an outbreak. This initiative is based on the 2004 Produce Safety Action Plan, intended to minimize the incidence of food borne illness associated with the consumption of fresh produce.

FDA continues to work closely with the CDC and state and local agencies to determine the cause and scope of the E. coli outbreak in spinach. Please check http://www.fda.gov for updates.

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