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Los Angeles, California

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Michael Eyerly
Michael Eyerly
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E. Coli Outbreak Linked to California Spinach Grower

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Natural Selection Foods of San Juan Bautista, California issued a voluntary recall of all its packaged products containing fresh greens. The company, which also operates under the name Earthbound Farm issued the recall just one day after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended against eating any fresh bagged spinach due to an E. coli outbreak that has so far caused one death and sickened 93 people in 20 states. At least 14 people have developed serious conditions that can lead to kidney failure. More than 29 people have been hospitalized as a result of E. coli infection.

Officials suspect the strain of E. coli involved in this outbreak is E. coli 0157:H7. It is a particularly virulent strain, causing an exceptionally high rate of illness and complications. According to the Centers for Disease Control, E. coli 0157:H7 is a strain of bacterium Escherichia coli and an emerging cause of food bourne illness. There are an estimated 73,000 cases of infection in the U.S. each year. Infection can lead to kidney failure and death.

Produce need by contaminated with only a small amount of E. coli for a person to become infected and fall ill. E. coli contamination of produce may originate in the growing fields as a result of substandard or negligent farming practices.