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FDA: Spinach in E. coli Outbreak Linked to Natural Selection Foods

Oct. 2, 2006 -- The FDA's warning on fresh spinach has gotten narrower: It now applies only to products containing fresh spinach from Natural Selection Foods with a date code of Oct. 1 or earlier.

The warning is due to the current outbreak of E. coli infections, which has caused at least one death and scores of illnesses.

"All spinach implicated in the current outbreak has traced back to Natural Selection Foods LLC of San Juan Bautista, California," the FDA announced on Sept. 29.

Natural Selection Foods recalled all its products containing fresh spinach on Sept. 15. Four other companies followed with their own recalls of products containing fresh spinach bought from Natural Selection Foods.

Those four companies are River Ranch of Salinas, Calif., RLB Foods of West Caldwell, N.J., Triple B Corp. (doing business as S.T. Produce) of Seattle, and Pacific Coast Fruit Company of Portland, Ore.

The FDA is still investigating the E. coli outbreak. Exactly how E. coli got into the spinach isn't yet known.

The FDA says it will hold a public meeting later this year, once the spinach investigation is over, to address the larger issue of food-borne illnesses linked to leafy greens.

Here are some questions and answers related to the current outbreak:

Q. What brands are covered in the spinach warning?

A. The warning applies to recalled products containing fresh spinach from Natural Selection Foods and four other companies that recalled products containing fresh spinach bought from Natural Selection Foods.

Companies Involved

Here is a list of recalled products by company, as listed by the FDA. Other products from these companies have not been recalled.

Natural Selection Foods:

The recall includes all products containing spinach in all brands they pack with "Best if Used by Dates" of Aug. 17, 2006, through Oct.1, 2006. These products include spinach and any salad with spinach in a blend, both retail and food service products.

Natural Selection Foods, LLC brands include: Natural Selection 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, D'Arrigo Brothers Co. of New York, Green Harvest, Mann, Mills Family Farm, Premium Fresh, Snoboy, The Farmer's Market, Tanimura & Antle, President's Choice, Cross Valley, and Riverside Farms.

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