E. coli Outbreak -- Spinach off Table
FDA: Don't Eat Any Fresh Spinach Until Further Notice
Sept. 18, 2006 -- The FDA is advising consumers not to eat any fresh spinach
or products containing fresh spinach until further notice, due to a multistate
E. coli outbreak tied to at least one death and more than 100 cases of
The warning includes loose fresh spinach, as well as packaged items.
"It's fresh spinach and products containing fresh spinach," FDA
spokeswoman Laura Alvey tells WebMD via email.
As of Sept. 17, the CDC had gotten reports of 109 people -- including six
children under 5 years old -- infected with the E. coli 0157:H7 strain in 19
Those people included a Wisconsin adult who died of hemolytic-uremic
syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure
caused by E. coli infection.
The outbreak has landed 55 people in the hospital, 16 of whom had HUS,
according to the CDC.
States that have reported cases are California, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana,
Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio,
Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Those cases reportedly started between Aug. 2 and Sept. 9, says the CDC.
E. coli 0157:h7 causes diarrhea, often with bloody
stools. Although most healthy adults can recover completely within a week, some
may develop HUS. HUS is most likely to occur in young children and the
The FDA reports that Natural Selection Foods of San Juan Batista, Calif., is
recalling all its products containing spinach in all brands the company packs
with "Best if Used by Dates" of Aug. 17, 2006 through Oct. 1, 2006.
The recalled products include spinach and any salad with spinach in the
blend. Products that don't include spinach aren't part of this recall.
Natural Selection Foods' 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,
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.
Another California company, River Ranch, is also recalling packages of
spring mix containing spinach.
River Ranch obtained bulk spring mix containing spinach from Natural
Selections, according to the FDA. The following brands are involved: Farmers
Market, Hy Vee, and Fresh 'N Easy. Products that don't contain spinach
aren't part of this recall.
Affected products were also distributed to Canada and Mexico.
The FDA continues to investigate whether other companies and brands are
The following advice for consumers is posted on the CDC's web site:
Currently, the FDA's advice is to not eat any fresh spinach or
salad blends containing fresh spinach that are consumed raw.
- E. coli O157:H7 in spinach can be killed by cooking at 160 degrees
Fahrenheit for 15 seconds. (Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit.) If spinach
is cooked in a frying pan, and all parts do not reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit,
all bacteria may not be killed. If consumers choose to cook the spinach, they
should avoid cross-contamination of the fresh spinach with other foods and food
contact surfaces, and wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water
before and after handling the spinach.
- Persons who develop diarrhea after consuming fresh
spinach or salad blends containing fresh spinach are urged to contact their
health care provider and ask that their stool specimen be tested for E. coli
- Persons who ate fresh spinach or salad blends and feel well do not need to
see a health care provider.