Spinach Recalls. Salmonella, E-Coli, Listeria. What Can We Do?

Spinach

11-7-2012  The news wires have reported yet another recall from that innocent, healthy salad green full of vitamins, minerals and cancer preventing antioxidants.  This time Fresh Express Incorporated is recalling their 9 oz packages of Spinach with a Use-by Date of November 7 and Product Code of S299B25 (upper left corner of package) due to a possible health risk from Salmonella There has been no reports of illness or consumer complaints as of this date, however random sample testing under regulations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, showed a positive result for Salmonella in an isolated instance. As a precaution, Fresh Express customer service representatives have contacted relevant retailers to verify the recalled product is removed from inventories and store shelves.  

Consumers who have already purchased the recalled spinach are asked not to eat it, but to throw it out. Fresh Express is offering a full refund. Possible states of distribution may be AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, KS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NM, OK, OR, SD, TX, UT WA, WY.

9-19-2012 Grocery store chain Kroger has announced a voluntary recall of their spinach product Fresh Selections Tender Spinach because testing shows signs of Listeria contamination. The product effected are sold in 10-ounce packages with a “best if used by date Sept. 16” and a UPC of 0001111091649.

The product was sold in the 15 states of AL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MI, MS, NC, NE, OH, SC, TN, VA, and WV in their stores there at Kroger, Baker’s, Food 4 Less, Dillons, Gerbes, Jay C, Owen’s, Pay Less, and Scott’s.

Kroger advises if customers have already purchased the recalled product, they should return it to stores for a full refund or replacement.

10-6-2006 The CDC (Centers For Disease Control and Prevention) put out it’s update on the “Multi-State Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 Infections From Fresh Spinach.”  At that date The CDC reported 199 persons infected with that strain of e-coli from 26 states,  three confirmed deaths and numerous cases of associated kidney failure. After long and extensive research, the E. coli O157 out break was isolated from 13 packages of spinach supplied by patients living in 10 states. Most were from brands processed by Natural Selection Foods such as Earthbound and Dole.  In a much detailed followup report by USA Today, it was reported that”…the month before Trautz died, a 2.8-acre section of a 51-acre field was planted in spinach by grower Mission Organics at the Paicines Ranch in central California, an 8,000-acre spread largely devoted to cattle grazing.  The 1,002 pounds of spinach from that 2.8-acre section was harvested on Monday, Aug. 14, and processed the next day by Natural Selection Foods, one of the nation’s biggest processors of leafy greens. The spinach went mostly into bags of Dole Baby Spinach, each tagged with the production code P227A. It was shipped nationwide.  FDA and California investigators would later say that spinach from this small section of the Paicines Ranch most likely carried the deadly E. coli strain into the homes of unsuspecting consumers…”

Salmonella, E Coli, and Listeria contamination illnesses can be physically brutal to go through and even fatal. These bacteria live in the intestines and bowels of humans and animals and the chain of contamination can be very long, from animals contaminating soil and run off water coming in contact with growing crops and then processing those contaminated crops for public distribution. These dangerous bacteria cannot always be “Triple Washed” off. Contamination can also be caused by food coming in contact with processing equipment and counter tops that were not properly cleaned and disinfected from a previously usage. Also contamination can be caused by workers that have not properly washed their hands after going to the bathroom and then going back to work and touching food without gloved hands.

It’s no longer a matter of affording the convenience of these factory farms to provide us with our food. It’s a safety issue. We cannot depend on the safety standards of these corporate conglomerates, where profits and dividends are the main issue, where they employ thousands of under paid workers whose paycheck and not our safety, is their main issue. 

Maybe it’s time we start taking back our food. Take back the responsibility of feeding our families,  safely and healthfully. “If you want things done right, do it yourself!”

Michelle Obama along with other Grass Roots Initiatives have been trying to spread the message of home gardening and teaching this generation of kids about health and food and where it comes from.  They are helping to teach kids the meaning of a sit down family meal with vegetables that they have grown and picked from their own family garden.

Gardens can be started on balconies, indoors with water and no soil, in window gardens, in all kinds of containers, large and small, in tiny plots of soil; the options are endless.

One good place to learn about how others are growing their own food and living a healthier and wholesome lifestyle is Growing A Greener World.   This organization has presented healthy lifestyle alternatives in Videos on PBS Stations across the Unites States.  Visit the website and Click on “Episodes”. There are three seasons of Full Episodes of enjoyable, informative, TV Show Videos that will open you to the many avenues of what people across the country are doing to achieve a healthier, greener world.

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