Spinach withdrawn from US shops after death from E coli

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The Independent US

Spinach has been withdrawn from supermarket shelves across America after an E coli outbreak that has killed one person and caused illness in nearly 100 others.

Reports of illness had been received from 19 states, and 29 people are in hospital, 14 of them with kidney failure, the Food and Drug Administration said.

The outbreak was traced to Natural Selection Foods, based in San Juan Bautista, California. FDA officials stressed the bacterium had not been isolated in Natural Selection products but the link was established by patients' accounts of what they had eaten. They said other brands may yet be implicated.

Natural Selection Foods LLC said it had stopped shipping all fresh spinach products. They are sold under many brand names, including Earthbound Farm, Dole, Green Harvest, Natural Selection Foods, Rave Spinach, Ready Pac and Trader Joe's. State health officials received the first reports of illness on 25 August, but the FDA was not informed until Wednesday.

The FDA warns that washing will not get rid of the tenacious bug, though thorough cooking can kill it. E coli lives in the intestines of cattle and other animals and is typically spread through contamination by fecal material.