Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Spinach E. coli Outbreak in New York Rises To 19

According to, an authority news website that tackles topics about food safety, 19 New Yorkers are sickened which is linked to the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak from a spinach salad mix purchased at Wegmans stores. The incident was confirmed by the New York State Department of Health last Friday.

All the cases where only reported to New York state. The outbreak spread across five (5) counties: Monroe, Steuben, Niagara, Erie and Wayne. The product from State Garden was supplied to Wegmans Food Markets were they issued a voluntary recall last Thursday to 31,000 pounds of Wegmans Organic Spinach and Spring Mix being sold in 5 oz. and 11 oz due to possible contamination of E.coli.

Five have been hospitalized and four has already been discharged.

What Is A E. coli O157:H7?

Escherichia coli O157:H7 or simply E. coli O157:H7 is an enterohemorrhagic strain of the bacterium Escherichia coli and a cause of foodborne illness. (source)

What Does E. coli O157:H7 Do To Your Body?

Serotype E. coli 0157:H7 is a gram-negative bacterium that can produce a bloody diarrhea due to toxins, especially Shiga (Vero) toxin, it secretes when it infects the human intestine.

E. coli 0157:H7 is notorious because it can cause additional complications in children and the elderly; renal failure, anemia, and dehydration especially for children (termed HUS or hemolytic uremic syndrome) and spontaneous bleeding, organ failures, and mental changes in the elderly (termed TTP or thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura). Some of these patients develop permanent disabilities or die. (source)

What Are The Symptoms of E. coli O157:H7?

The symptoms of E. coli 0157:H7 infection may include a low fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and bloody diarrhea; the infection is contagious and can be spread from person to person by fecal contamination. (source)

These are Wegmans Food Market recalled products:
  • Wegmans Food You Feel Good About Organic Spinach & Spring Mix, 11oz – UPC: 77890-16411 – ONLY product sold between 10/14/12 and 11/1/12.
  • Wegmans Food You Feel Good About Organic Spinach & Spring Mix, 5oz – UPC: 77890-16437 – ONLY product sold between 10/14/12 and 11/1/12.

Wegman released a Press Release late Friday evening said, "Test results indicate that only product with a use-by-date of October 23 is connected to the reported illnesses, but out of an abundance of caution Wegmans has removed all code dates of the product, up to and including November 9, from its stores and has called all customers who purchased this product using their Shopper Club card, regardless of the code date purchased,"

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the agency is still testing some samples from the product. The N.Y. Health Department is leading the Spinach E. coli Outbreak investigation.

Food Safety Tips to Prevent Being Infected With E.coli:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to prevent Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infection, you should:
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after going to the bathroom or changing diapers
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling animals, animal bedding, or any material contaminated with animal fecal matter
  • Eat only thoroughly cooked ground beef, pork, sheep meat, or sausage.
  • Cook ground meat products to an internal temperature of 160ºF
  • Avoid drinking unpasteurized milk and juices
  • Wash fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating raw
  • Prevent cross contamination in food preparation areas by washing hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.
  • Keep raw meat separate from ready-to-eat foods
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