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Spinach link to E Coli

20th September 2006

20092006_spinach1.jpgThe US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have continued to warn people in the US not to eat spinach, after an outbreak of E coli has been linked to the produce. 

All packaged spinach has been removed from stores, including withdrawal of products by Natural Selection Foods, the largest grower of organic produce in the US.  Dr David Acheson, the head of food safety and security for the FDA, said consumers should avoid all spinach as some retailers opened packaged leaves and sold them loose.

The latest figures by the FDA on the 19th of September show that 131 cases of illness due to E coli infection have been reported, including 66 people who have had to be admitted to hospital, and one 77-year-old woman who has died in the state of Wisconsin. The FDA says that illnesses continue to be reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

There are now 21 states affected by the outbreak. The affected products were also distributed to Canada, Mexico, and Taiwan, but no illnesses have been reported from these countries.

The FDA suggested that irrigation water contaminated with cattle faeces might have been responsible for the outbreak.

E coli O157:H7 causes diarrhoea. 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.
 

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