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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk ZeoBandit's Avatar
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    Default Health chiefs: Don't eat bagged spinach

    Health chiefs: Don't eat bagged spinach
    POSTED: 8:01 a.m. EDT, September 15, 2006

    Story Highlights
    • E. coli outbreak linked to fresh spinach hits eight states, FDA says
    • Origin of tainted spinach unclear, so nation told not to eat bagged spinach
    • One person died in Wisconsin, where 20 people are ill, 11 in Milwaukee
    • E. coli causes about 73,000 infections and 61 deaths annually in the U.S.

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Consumers nationwide should not eat fresh bagged spinach, say health officials probing a multistate outbreak of E. coli that killed at least one person and made dozens of others sick.

    Food and Drug Administration and state officials don't know the cause of the outbreak, although raw, packaged spinach appears likely. "We're advising people not to eat it," said Dr. David Acheson of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

    Eight states were reporting a total of 50 cases of E. coli, Acheson said Thursday.

    The death occurred in Wisconsin, where 20 people were reported ill, 11 of them in Milwaukee. The outbreak has sickened others -- eight of them seriously -- in Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon and Utah. In California, state health officials said they were investigating a possible case there.

    The outbreak has affected a mix of ages, but most of the cases have involved women, Acheson said. Further information on the person who died wasn't available.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Wisconsin health officials alerted the FDA about the outbreak at midweek. Preliminary analysis suggested the same bug is responsible for the outbreak in all eight states.

    The warning applied to consumers nationwide because of uncertainty over the origin of the tainted spinach and how widely it was distributed. Health officials did not know of any link to a specific growing region, grower, brand or supplier, Acheson said.

    Amy Philpott, a spokeswoman for the United Fresh Produce Association, said that it's possible the cause of the outbreak won't be known for some time, even after its source is determined.

    "Our industry is very concerned," she said. "We're taking this very seriously."

    Reports of infections have been growing by the day, Acheson said. "We may be at the peak, we may not be," he said."

    E. coli can cause diarrhea, death
    E. coli causes diarrhea, often with bloody stools. Most healthy adults can recover completely within a week, although some people -- including the very young and old -- can develop a form of kidney failure that often leads to death.

    Anyone who has gotten sick after eating raw packaged spinach should contact a doctor, officials said.

    Other bagged vegetables, including prepackaged salads, apparently are not affected. In general, however, washing all bagged vegetables is recommended. Thorough cooking kills the bacterium.

    "We're telling people if they have bagged produce and they feel like it's a risk, throw it out," Michigan Department of Community Health spokesman T.J. Bucholz said. "If they feel like they have to eat it, wash it first in warm water."

    E. coli lives in the intestines of cattle and other animals and typically is linked to contamination by fecal material. It causes an estimated 73,000 cases of infection, including 61 deaths, each year in the United States, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Sources of the bacterium include uncooked produce, raw milk, unpasteurized juice, contaminated water and meat, especially undercooked or raw hamburger, the agency says on its Web site.

    In December 2005, an E. coli outbreak sickened at least eight children in Washington state. Officials traced the outbreak to unpasteurized milk from a dairy that had been ordered to stop distributing raw milk.

    Last October, the FDA warned people not to eat certain Dole prepackaged salads that were connected to an outbreak of E. coli infections in Minnesota. At least 11 people were sickened.

    In 1993, a major E. coli outbreak sickened about 700 people and killed four who ate undercooked Jack in the Box hamburgers in Washington state. That outbreak led to tighter Agriculture Department safety standards for meat and poultry producers.
    "What we are dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law" - Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit

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  2. #2
    Unchained
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    No problem, I hate spinach.

    It's been on our local news for the the last 2 days. I had heard on a news story years earlier that you should always wash (rinse) those bagged salad mixes. They even make a product called Fit (I think that's the name) to wash it with.

  3. #3
    Sinner's Swing! racefan8's Avatar
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    Damn, I just started buying more bagged spinach for salads cuz it lasts longer than lettuce. Grrrrrrr. Wet tail sucks.
    Stupid is forever, ignorance can be fixed.
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  4. #4
    The Dude Dan Halen's Avatar
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    Yep, I work in the produce department of a grocery store and we had to pull all the bagged spinach from the shelves last night. Maybe now customers won't keep asking where all the spinach is.
    "It's so damn hot... milk was a bad choice." --Ron Burgundy, Anchorman

  5. #5
    Atomic Punk onefootoutthedoor's Avatar
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    Damn, I'm w/ RF8. I love having spinich b/c it lasts longer than lettuce.

  6. #6
    Good Enough wham bam will rock's Avatar
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    I KNEW veggies could kill....

    That's why God made supplements....
    "Never is just reven spelled backwards." -House

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  7. #7
    Eruption
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    Isn't this typically a good rule for homosexual or heterosexual folks that dig guys? Don't touch a leafy green sack.

  8. #8
    Atomic Punk ZeoBandit's Avatar
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    FDA to consumers: Don't eat ANY fresh spinach
    POSTED: 10:48 a.m. EDT, September 18, 2006

    Story Highlights
    • FDA warns consumers not to eat any fresh spinach
    • Number of people sickened by E. coli on spinach now at 109
    • Recall expanded Sunday night to three more brands
    • FDA is working to find the source of contamination

    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Food and Drug Administration said Monday consumers should not eat any fresh spinach as investigators look for the source of E. coli bacteria that has sickened at least 109 people.

    The initial FDA advisory late last week focused on bagged spinach.

    Dr. Robert Brackett of the FDA told CNN, "We've expanded the warning actually to all of the fresh spinach. That's because we learned that some of the companies that produced the consumer bag spinach also produced larger food-service size.

    Brackett said another concern is that restaurants or stores may use consumer-size bags of spinach to stock their salad bars or bulk bins.

    "We want to make sure consumers are aware that they don't consume any of the fresh spinach. We don't know whether it came from the bag or another state. We just don't have the focus down that much yet," he said.

    Spinach producers are voluntarily recalling their products. Brackett said the FDA does not have the power to order a recall but is working with the producers.

    They do have the power to seize contaminated products, but Brackett said investigators can't do that until they determine the exact source of the contamination.

    "It could come from the irrigation water, animals in the field, from the workers, from a piece of equipment that's contaminated. We just don't know," he said. "Until we figure that out, we don't want to go down the wrong road. We're looking at all possibilities."

    The number of people sickened by the E. coli bacteria traced to fresh spinach has reached 109.

    One death blamed on outbreak
    Investigators have blamed a death in Wisconsin on the outbreak, which has been identified in 19 states, said Dr. David Acheson of the FDA.

    All 109 were infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli 0157:H7, he told reporters in a telephone conference call Sunday night. Of them, 55 were hospitalized, 16 with a form of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

    Acheson said the number of reported cases could increase Monday, when public health departments, many of which were closed over the weekend, reopen.

    As it is, he said, "This is unquestionably a significant outbreak."

    Also Sunday, authorities expanded their recall of products containing spinach to include "Spring Mix" made by the River Ranch Fresh Foods, LLC, in Salinas, California. The company obtained its spinach from Natural Selection, the company which issued the initial recall of spinach products on Friday.

    Sunday's recall affects three brands: Farmers Market, Hy Vee and Fresh and Easy, Acheson said.

    River Ranch President and CEO Robert V. Jenkins said he was advised Saturday of the need for the voluntary recall.

    "We are all eagerly waiting for them to come up with a cause for this so that we are able to identify solutions," he said.

    The ongoing investigation is being carried out jointly by the FDA and the California Department of Health Safety's Food and Drug Branch.

    Investigators will begin Monday carrying out "traceback" studies, where they go to the farms that grew the suspect vegetables for Natural Selection, to see if they can find the source of the bacteria.

    So far, the evidence implicating spinach is based on epidemiological data that show the people who became sick ate the spinach, Acheson said. It can take two weeks or longer from the time a person seeks medical attention until the time a laboratory is able to confirm the diagnosis, he said.

    Asked if he had any advice for farmers, many of whom are bewildered over what they should do with the spinach in their fields, he said, "Given the state of the investigation, I don't."

    Asked when it would be safe for Americans to resume eating fresh spinach, he said, "As soon as we are sure that we've got this under control and that the outbreak is over and that we have figured out, as best we can, what the problems are and fixed them."

    No evidence of foul play
    Washing the leaves well will not necessary offer protection, he said, noting that there is evidence that E. coli can get inside the leaf.

    The FDA said Friday it linked the outbreak to products packaged by the California-based Natural Selection Foods/Earthbound Farm. The company initiated a voluntary recall of all its spinach products with "best if used by" dates of August 17 through October 1.

    Asked whether terrorism or foul play may be involved, Acheson said he had seen no evidence to support that theory, but did not rule it out. "In my job, I always have to keep that in the back of my mind as a possibility," he said.

    Acheson said the CDC determined that the first illness from E. coli bacteria happened August 2.

    Symptoms of E. coli infection include diarrhea and vomiting, and the bacteria can lead to more severe complications, particularly in the very young or elderly, including anemia and kidney failure.
    "What we are dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law" - Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit

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  9. #9
    Baluchitherium Guitar Shark's Avatar
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    Well, I hope someone has informed Popeye about all of this.

  10. #10
    The Dude Dan Halen's Avatar
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    The other day when the story broke someone called our store and said that they bought a bag of spinach that day and were concerned because they used it for sandwiches for his whole family. We explained that there was an e. coli outbreak and that it was all pulled and suggested that he go to the hospital. Kind of a weird phone call to handle.
    "It's so damn hot... milk was a bad choice." --Ron Burgundy, Anchorman

  11. #11
    Atomic Punk chefcraig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Halen
    The other day when the story broke someone called our store and said that they bought a bag of spinach that day and were concerned because they used it for sandwiches for his whole family. We explained that there was an e. coli outbreak and that it was all pulled and suggested that he go to the hospital. Kind of a weird phone call to handle.
    That's certainly the opposite of life here in "lawsuit-land", where people were inquiring if we were still selling spinach, wanting to purchase it so they could get sick and sue the store.

    We also recieved death threats (via the phone, naturally) because we didn't have a video gaming system for sale upon it's release date.
    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
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  12. #12
    Atomic Punk
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    Death by Natural Selection, oh the irony...
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  13. #13
    Baluchitherium KT's Avatar
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    paging sisca... come in sisca...

    dude, are you SURE that was a seaweed salad you said you ate? Maybe they slipped in some spinach and THAT'S why you've been for days!?! (sorry, couldn't resist )
    Meet me in Cabo!

  14. #14
    Eruption vh resurrection's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Shark
    Well, I hope someone has informed Popeye about all of this.
    He should be okay. He usually eats canned spinach.
    "Ladies and Gentlemen, I'd like to introduce the king of 10 fingers and six strings... Mr. Edward Van Halen!"

  15. #15
    Atomic Punk Viking's Avatar
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    We ended up throwing away what we had in the refrigerator. We like to eat a spinach salad with raspberry vinigrette dressing along with steak and wild rice. Good shit, Maynard.

    When they had the big E-Coli breakout in late '93, they had traced it back to Jack in the Box restaurants. My brother and I went through the drive thru and ordered two Jumbo Jacks, hold the E-Coli.
    Last edited by Viking; 09.18.06 at 02:35 PM.
    "Viking - last to sleep, first to rise, last to leave, that's how the Nords of old rocked the house." ~ timmac in the 'Texas Linkers' thread talking about yours truly. :-)

 

 

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