Food contamination lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report that a California company is announcing a national recall of its organic spinach. The Taylor Farms Retail baby spinach may be contaminated with E. coli.
The recalled spinach is sold under the labels Central Market, Full Circle, Marketside, Simple Truth, and Taylor Farms. Recalled Full Circle products were only distributed in California and Central Market products only in Texas. The most wide-spread recall is under the Taylor Farms Organic Baby Spinach label, with a best-by date of February 24, 2013. A comprehensive list of all products and code dates can be found here.
Every year, more than 73,000 illnesses are linked to E. coli poisoning, which result in more than 2,000 serious infections and 60 deaths in the United States. This most recent spinach recall does not come as a surprise to many. E. coli lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm recently reported that leafy greens such as spinach are the nation’s leading cause of food-borne illness, according to a federal investigation (blog)
The federal study was conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which found that 48 million Americans get sick from food poisoning every year. One in five of these illnesses are due to leafy green vegetables, surprisingly more than any other food. The study examined data from 1998 through 2008, and found that produce of all types caused more than 330 deaths in the ten-year period.
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Taylor Farms reports do not indicate which specific strain of E. coli required the recall, and do not say where reports of contamination came from. This is troublesome because strains of E. coli can range from relatively minor to life-threatening. One of these particularly deadly strains is called 0157:H7, which begins to manifest as severe abdominal cramps and vomiting, and can ultimately lead to kidney failure and death. Signs of this particular strain usually begin within three or four days after consuming the contaminated food, although they can begin as early as one day afterward or as late as one week.
The more dangerous strains of E. coli release a powerful toxin into the body, damaging the lining of the small intestines. The bacteria may have contaminated the organic spinach through runoff from cattle farms, which traveled down into the fields where the spinach was growing. E. coli can affect anyone, however, young children, elder adults, and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk. Food contaminated with E. coli may be relatively harmless in some people, but deadly in others who are prone to experiencing more serious complications.
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Other foods at a high risk of E. coli contamination include undercooked or mechanically tenderized beef, unpasteurized milk, soft cheeses made from raw milk, and apple juice and cider. Unfortunately, there are no current treatments to cure E. coli infections, nor are there any methods to relieve symptoms or prevent complications. For most, the best effective way to treat an E. coli infection is by drinking plenty of fluids and getting enough rest. Experts also recommend avoiding taking anti-diarrheal medications – even if it is one of your symptoms – as they slow down the digestive systems.
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Earlier in 2013, the FDA proposed a sweeping food safety reform intended to prevent contamination of this kind. The new standards will, among other things, require food manufacturers to create formal plans outlining how they will prevent dangerous contaminations and food-borne illnesses. Additionally, the proposals cite specific changes in farming regulations, including requiring farmers to wash their hands and build fences to reduce contact with animals.
Product recall lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm remind the public to always wash produce thoroughly before cooking and consuming. If you or someone close to you was affected by contaminated or recalled food, you may be entitled to compensation for you injuries, pain, and medical expenses.