Feds revise, narrow spinach warning

Sept. 23, 2006 at 1:58 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- U.S. officials have limited a warning against eating fresh spinach to spinach produced in three California counties linked to a nationwide E. coli outbreak.

That still includes much of the fresh spinach produced in the United States.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials revised their recommendation after determining that the tainted spinach --which spread to 25 states, sickened 166 people and caused at least one death -- came from processing plants and farms in San Benito, Santa Clara and Monterey counties in California, the Los Angeles Times said Saturday.

David Acheson, chief medical officer for the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said officials now know that spinach grown in the elsewhere in California and the United States isn't implicated in the outbreak, "therefore the public can be confident that spinach grown in non-implicated areas can be consumed," the Times said.

About three-quarters of the nation's spinach comes from California, with about 60 percent of it grown in the three-county region still included in the FDA's warning, the newspaper said. Other spinach-producing counties in California are Ventura, Imperial and Riverside.

Besides California, other spinach-producing states include Arizona, Texas and New Jersey, the Times said.

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