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U.S. tainted spinach toll rises to 109

Sept. 18, 2006 at 8:24 AM

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- The number of people affected by E. coli bacteria from eating California spinach rose to 109 Monday, with one death reported in Wisconsin.

Dr. David Acheson, chief medical officer with the federal Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, part of the Food and Drug Administration, indefinitely extended the recommendation not to eat any fresh spinach or products that contain, or are packaged with spinach that have a sell-by date of Aug. 17 through Oct. 1.

The fatality was a 77-year-old woman, while 55 of the others required hospitalization in 19 states, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Joe Pezzini, chairman of the Central California Grower-Shipper Association, told the Chronicle the spinach harvest has come to a costly standstill, as spinach is a nearly $200 million business in Monterey County, Calif.

Officials said canned and frozen spinach are not included in the warning.

The strain of E. coli can cause bloody diarrhea and cramps and can trigger a rare complication leading to kidney failure, The Los Angeles Times reported.

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