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Most Fresh Spinach Now Safe to Eat, FDA Says

With the exception of fresh spinach grown in three California counties--Monterey, San Benito and Santa Clara--fresh spinach has been deemed safe to eat, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Monday. An outbreak of 175 cases of E. coli infection has been traced to fresh spinach from these counties. The illness has shown up in 25 states and has led to one death.

Neither canned nor frozen spinach has been implicated. Also, other fresh produce from the three named counties has not been shown to lead to illness.

The specific strain of E. coli often causes diarrhea, from which most healthy adults usually recover within a week. The very young and the elderly, however, are at greater risk of developing kidney failure, which can be fatal. The illness has shown up in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The first case occurred on Aug. 2, but most illnesses reported to date appeared from Aug. 26 through Sept. 12.

The suspect spinach was also distributed to Canada, Mexico, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Iceland, but no illnesses have yet been reported in this countries.

For more information, visit the FDA Web site at www.fda.gov.

Photo by iStockphoto.com/ © Ashok Rodrigues

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