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CDC changes spinach advice     Send a link to a friend

[SEPT. 26, 2006]  ATLANTA, Ga. -- Following is advice for consumers about the current E. coli outbreak. This information was obtained from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and was issued on Monday.

  • Currently, we are advising consumers to not eat any fresh spinach or salad blends containing spinach grown in the three counties in California implicated in the current E. coli O157:H7 outbreak -- Monterey County, San Benito County and Santa Clara County. Fresh spinach grown outside these counties can be safely eaten. Spinach grown in these counties is often packaged in other areas of the country. If consumers cannot tell where fresh spinach was grown, they are advised not to purchase or consume the fresh spinach. Frozen and canned spinach can be safely eaten.

  • E. coli O157:H7 in spinach can be killed by cooking at 160 degrees F for 15 seconds. (Water boils at 212 degrees.) If spinach is cooked in a frying pan and all parts do not reach 160 degrees, all bacteria may not be killed. If consumers choose to cook the spinach, they should not allow the raw spinach to contaminate other foods and food contact surfaces, and they should wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling the spinach.

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  • People who develop diarrhea after consuming fresh spinach or salad blends containing fresh spinach are urged to contact their health care provider and ask that their stool specimen be tested for E. coli O157.

  • People who ate fresh spinach or salad blends and feel well do not need to see a health care provider.

[U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]


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