Big Heads up:: E.Coli bacteria found in bagged spinach
Y'all may have read this, just posting if you have not. Sorry for the lenght.
FDA: E. coli linked to Natural Selection Foods
POSTED: 7:55 p.m. EDT, September 15, 2006
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢ NEW: FDA identifies Natural Selection Foods as source of E. coli outbreak
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢ Federal officials say 94 people in 20 states have E. coli poisoning
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢ Washing spinach won't help get rid of E. coli, FDA warns
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢ Anyone who gets sick after eating bagged spinach should see doctor
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration said late Friday that an E. coli outbreak had been linked to bagged spinach products distributed by Natural Selection Foods/Earthbound Farms, based in San Juan Bautista, California.
The company has agreed to recall its bagged spinach products.
"It is possible that the recall and the information will extend beyond Natural Selection Foods and involve other brands and other companies, at other dates," said Dr. David Acheson, the chief medical officer with the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
The news came hours after federal health officials warned consumers that even if you wash the spinach, you still could be at risk.
Sober warnings for salad lovers came from federal health officials Friday as they struggled to pinpoint a multistate E. coli outbreak that killed one person and sickened nearly 100 more.
Bagged spinach -- the triple-washed, cello-packed kind sold by the hundreds of millions of pounds each year -- is the suspected source of the bacterial outbreak, Food and Drug Administration officials said.
The FDA warned people nationwide not to eat the spinach. Washing won't get rid of the tenacious bug, though thorough cooking can kill it. Supermarkets across the country pulled spinach from shelves, and consumers tossed out the leafy green. (Watch CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta explain why this advisory is significant -- 2:07)
"We're waiting for the all-clear," said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University. The Tennessee university's medical center was treating a 17-year-old Kentucky girl for E. coli infection.
By Friday, the outbreak had grown to include at least 20 states: California, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Wisconsin accounted for 29 illnesses, about one-third of the cases, including the lone death.
"We are telling everyone to get rid of fresh bagged spinach right now. Don't assume anything is over," Gov. Jim Doyle said.
The bug has sickened at least 94 people across the nation, the CDC said. The agency added that 29 people have been hospitalized, 14 of them with kidney failure.
FDA officials said they issued the nationwide consumer alert without waiting to identify the still-unknown source of the tainted spinach.
"Early is good," said Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, adding that the alert may have prevented hundreds more cases. (Watch how health officials are scrambling -- 1:11)
Better safe than sorry
An industry spokeswoman said public health concerns justified the blanket warning: "It needed to happen this way," said Kathy Means, a spokeswoman for the Produce Marketing Association. "Public health has to trump economics at this time."
Initial suspicions focused on California's Monterey County. Farmers there grow more than half the nation's 500 million-pound spinach crop, according to the Agriculture Department.
"We're trying to get to the bottom of this and figure out what happened. Everybody is terribly concerned," said Dave Kranz, a spokesman for the California Farm Bureau Federation.
Even before the latest outbreak, a joint state and federal effort has been under way in the California county to find and eliminate any possible sources of E. coli contamination.
"We need to strive to do even better so even one life is not lost," said Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, FDA's acting commissioner.
The FDA's top food expert stressed the importance of stopping the bacterium at its source, since rinsing spinach won't eliminate the risk. "If you wash it, it is not going to get rid of it," said Robert Brackett, director of the agency's Center for Food Safety and Nutrition.
Messages left with two major bagged vegetable producers, Dole Food Co. Inc., of Westlake Village, California, and Ready Pac Produce Inc., based in Irwindale, California, were not immediately returned Friday.
E. coli lives in the intestines of cattle and other animals and typically is spread through contamination by fecal material. Brackett said the use of manure as a fertilizer for produce typically consumed raw, such as spinach, is not in keeping with good agricultural practices. "It is something we don't want to see," he told a food policy conference.
Meanwhile, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Safeway Inc., SuperValu Inc. and other major grocery chains stopped selling spinach, removing it from shelves and salad bars.
"We pulled everything that we have spinach in," said Dan Brettelle, manager of a Piggly Wiggly store in Columbia, South Carolina.
Local doctors began seeing the first of the ongoing E. coli poisoning cases in late August. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Wisconsin health officials alerted the FDA about the outbreak at midweek.
thanks for the concern but it is all about off the shelves now. No cases in southern states either fortunately. That's yankee food LOL. Good thing it wasn't okra or collard greens.
LK ... don't insult us Yankees. It's girly food, only good for Californians and vegitarians (almost the same thing).
Man Spinach and I ate some in my salad at Jason's deli in Baton Rouge last week. GEEEZ!! :awe:
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