When you’re looking in your fridge for something to make for dinner, you likely consider factors like prep time, nutrition, and whether or not your leftovers can really withstand another go in the microwave. However, if you’re preparing a salad or other dishes that call for spinach, you may want to ask yourself another question: is this likely to make me seriously ill?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Josie’s Organics baby spinach has been linked to multiple cases of E. coli-related illness. At the time of the CDC’s Nov. 15 announcement, 10 people in Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, ad South Dakota had become sick with E. coli infections, five of whom reported eating spinach prior to falling ill, and one of whom had specifically reported eating spinach from Josie’s Organics.
Two people have been hospitalized thus far; there have been no deaths associated with the outbreak.
The affected spinach was sold at stores throughout the U.S. and comes packaged in a plastic clamshell container with a “Best By” date of Oct. 23, 2021.
If you purchased the potentially contaminated spinach, the CDC recommends throwing it away or returning it to the store from which it was purchased. Additionally, you should thoroughly wash any surfaces or items that could have come into contact with the affected spinach using either a mixture of hot water and soap or by running them through a dishwasher cycle.
E. coli infection most frequently presents with symptoms including diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting, and mild fever. Most cases of E. coli infection present within four days of eating contaminated food and resolve without treatment within a week.
However, the CDC reports that up to 10% of people diagnosed with a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infection—which is associated with the type of E. coli bacteria involved in this outbreak—can develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially fatal condition affecting the kidneys. Individuals with HUS may experience severe fatigue, reduced urinary output, and a noticeably pale color in their skin; it’s important that anyone with these symptoms see a medical professional immediately.
Similarly, if you have diarrhea and a fever that exceeds 102 degrees Fahrenheit, diarrhea that is bloody or does not improve after three days, signs of dehydration, or vomiting so severe that you can’t keep liquids down, it’s time to contact a healthcare provider.
For more insight into foods that could potentially make you sick, This Is The #1 Most Surprising Source of Food Poisoning, CDC Says, and for the latest food safety news delivered to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter!
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