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Spinach Recall and E. coli

In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warned consumers nationwide about an outbreak of E. coli bacterial infection in multiple states linked to fresh spinach (both bagged and unbagged). At the time of the spinach recall, the FDA advised consumers not to purchase or consume fresh spinach grown in the three California counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Clara. Spinach grown in the rest of the United States was implicated in that particular outbreak. 

According to the FDA, 25 states have reported illnesses linked to spinach and other produce: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. (More from the FDA: Spinach and E. coli Outbreak)

What is E. coli?

Escherichia coli O157:H7 (commonly called "E. coli") is one of hundreds of strains of the bacterium Escherichia coli. Although most strains are harmless and live in the intestines of healthy humans and animals, this strain produces a powerful toxin and can cause severe illness.

Health Problems Associated with E. coli

The E. coli bacteria 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 Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). HUS is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly. The condition can lead to serious kidney damage and even death.

Links Between Spinach and E. coli

According to the FDA, evidence suggests that fresh spinach was the cause of the 2006 E. coli outbreak and subsequent spinach recall, first reported by the FDA on September 14 of that year. 205 cases of illness due to E. coli infection have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and three deaths. 

Spinach Recalls

  • September 22, 2006: Pacific Coast Fruit Company of Portland, Oregon initiated a voluntary recall of products that may include spinach supplied by Natural Selections Foods.
  • September 22, 2006: Triple B Corporation, doing business as S.T. Produce, of Seattle, Washington, initiated a voluntary recall of its fresh spinach salad products with a "Use By" date of 8/22/2006 through 9/20/2006.
  • September 19, 2006: RLB Food Distributors, L.P., West Caldwell, NJ, initiated a voluntary recall of certain salad products that may contain spinach with an 'Enjoy Thru' date of 9/20/06.
  • River Ranch (of California) recalled packages of spring mix containing spinach. River Ranch obtained bulk spring mix containing spinach from Natural Selections. The following brands were involved: Farmers Market, Hy Vee, Fresh and Easy. Products that do not contain spinach are not part of this recall.
  • Natural Selection Foods, LLC (San Juan Bautista, California) recalled all of its products containing spinach in all brands 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 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, 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.


Advice for Consumers

Individuals who believe they may have experienced symptoms of illness after consuming spinach or any other fresh, store-bought vegetables are urged to contact their health care provider..

Spinach Recall and E. coli - Getting Legal Help

If you or a loved one have experienced any dangerous symptoms or unusual medical conditions that might be related to consumption of tainted spinach or other fresh produce -- including symptoms of E. coli infection -- you should first seek immediate medical attention. You may also wish to meet with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options and to protect your right to a legal remedy for any E. coli-related illness caused by consumption of fresh vegetables.

See FindLaw's Dangerous Foods section for more information related to the spinach recall and other toxic food alerts. 

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