FDA Statement on Foodborne E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak in Spinach
Update: Saturday, September 16, 2006
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will continue to provide the public with regular updates on the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak each day until further notice.
To date, 102 cases of illness due to E. coli infection have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including 16 cases of Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) and one death. Illnesses continue to be reported to CDC. This is considered to be an ongoing investigation.
Symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 Illness
E. coli O157:H7 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 HUS. HUS is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly. The condition can lead to serious kidney damage and even death.
There are 19 confirmed states (versus 20 reported yesterday). The case originally attributed to Tennessee was, in fact, in Kentucky. States reporting illnesses include: California, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
FDA advises consumers to not eat fresh spinach or fresh spinach-containing products until further notice.
If individuals believe they may have experienced symptoms of illness after consuming fresh spinach or fresh spinach-containing products, FDA recommends that they seek medical advice.
Natural Selection Foods, LLC, of San Juan Bautista, California, is recalling all of its products containing spinach in all brands they pack 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.
The affected products were also distributed to Canada and Mexico. FDA continues to investigate whether other companies and brands are involved.
Lettuce Safety Initiative
The FDA developed the Lettuce Safety Initiative http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/lettsafe.html
in response to recurring outbreaks of E.coli O157:H7 in lettuce. As a result of this outbreak, the initiative has been expanded to cover spinach. The primary goals of the initiative are to reduce public health risks by focusing on the product, agents and areas of greatest concern and to alert consumers early and respond rapidly in the event of an outbreak. This initiative is based on the 2004 Produce Safety Action Plan, intended to minimize the incidence of food borne illness associated with the consumption of fresh produce.