Processing Magazine

Organic baby spinach recalled in 36 states due to E. coli

February 19, 2013

Organic baby spinach products manufactured by California-based Taylor Farms Retail Inc. have been voluntarily recalled, following an alert over possible Enterohemorrhagic E. coli contamination. The company claimed that no illnesses have been reported so far.

The products are being recalled in a total of 36 states where they were sold. The affected states are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming, Taylor Farms Retail announced in a statement.

The recalled products are all labeled with a "best by" date of Feb. 24, 2013 and are marketed under the names Central Market Organics, Full Circle Organic, Marketside Organic, Simple Truth Organic and Taylor Farms Organic, in 5-oz and 16-oz packages. As with other recalled food items, customers can return the recalled spinach to the place where they purchased it and get a full refund. The recalled spinach should not be eaten in any manner, consumers have been warned.

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According to Taylor Farms Retail, the recall is a precautionary measure and all products will be disposed of once they have been withdrawn from the market. The company stated that it was working together with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the California Department of Public Health regarding the recall. The Department of Public Health said that no other products or code dates were affected by the recall and consumers should not worry if they have purchased other products by the same manufacturer.

Enterohemorrhagic E. coli is a bacterium that can cause serious health problems, including severe abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea, while fever and vomiting are also possible. The infection typically lasts for about a week. Every year, around 110,000 people in the United States are affected by E. coli. One of the most dangerous complications that occurs in one in 10 people infected with the bacteria is hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can lead to kidney failure, requiring those infected to undergo transfusions and dialysis treatment. Some 3 to 5 percent of hemolytic uremic syndrome cases are fatal, with children, the elderly and those in developing countries being most at risk.

The news of the recall caused concern in many states, but one of the most worrying reports came from Black Mountain, N.C., where a charity alerted that some of the contaminated spinach may have been served to hundreds of people who were given free meals last week. According to organizers of the Welcome Table, as many as 380 people who came for lunch at the St. James Episcopal Church dining hall may have eaten recalled spinach contaminated with E. coli. The product was served as a salad, organizers told the Citizen Times. The local medical offices were informed of the possibility of people being infected with the illness.

In December 2012, Taylor Farms Retail recalled Hearts of Romaine 10 oz. bags after tests conducted by the FDA tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.