What do I need to know about the Spinach Recall?
The FDA is warning of another possible outbreak of E. coli associated with Spinach. They are asking producers of to recall their products. The FDA is advising consumers not to eat spinach, especially if it is known to have been produced in Monterey, San Benito, or Santa Clara counties located in California. So far 25 states have been included in the possible distribution circle of the contaminated vegetables.
In the last couple of years there have been many recalls of spinach products. In 2010 Ready Pac Foods, Inc. recalled 702 cases of their Baby Spinach variety that had use by dates between July 4 and July 8 due to a link between that product and E.coli contamination.
In September 2006 there was an outbreak of E. coli was also attributed to spinach. The tainted spinach has been linked to a facility in San Juan Batista, California. The outbreak confirmed 94 cases of E. coli infections and 14 deaths in Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wisconsin.
What is E. coli?
Escherichia coli is a common bacteria often found in the digestive systems of humans. It is normally harmless but when it is ingested it can cause serious health concerns. Common illnesses associated with E. coli infections are diarrhea and bloody stool. In most cases the illness is short lived, however, in a minority of individuals it can cause serious kidney damage and death. This is especially true in those individuals who are more susceptible to infections such as children and the elderly.
What brands have been included in the recall?
Natural Selection Foods, Pride of San Juan, Bellissima, Dole, Rave Spinach, Emeril, Sysco, Fresh Point Jansal Valley, Cheney Brothers, Riverside Farms and many others. It is advised that if you purchased any spinach recently you should return it to the store for a refund.
Most recently a lawsuit between a Utah woman and a producer linked to the 2006 E.coli outbreak settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. The reports had stated that a jury was willing to award the woman $5 million in damages due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome that she was stricken with after being exposed to E. coli through the defendant’s spinach products. As a result of the settlement the specifics of the award are not available. There have been a number of lawsuits pending from the 2006 outbreak that resulted in 4 deaths and over 100 hospitalizations.
I have been eating spinach, what do I do?
If you or someone you know has been consuming spinach recently it is important that you stop. If the spinach was bagged, keep the package, if it was not bagged spinach then notify the store and ask them about recall information. You also want to go to the FDA’s website and search for recalls of that specific brand of spinach as well as the lot number and “use by” date. If you have developed an illness that can be attributed to your recent spinach consumption then it is important to seek medical treatment followed by consultation with an attorney.