Taylor Farms Retail Inc., a company based in Salinas, California, announces a recall of several batches of baby spinach that may have been contaminated with E. coli and marketed in 39 states.  The spinach may be capable of causing a very serious form of food poisoning in those who consume it.

The spinach in question was sold in 5-ounce or 16-ounce trays under the following names and should have a “best by” date of February 24, 2013:

  • Taylor Farms Organic
  • Central Market Organics
  • Simple Truth Organic
  • Full Circle Organics
  • Marketside Organic

The company has stated that it does not know how the bacteria got into the spinach but that it has not received any reports of foodborne illness related to the spinach.

Those with trays of the baby organic spinach are encouraged to throw them away and under no circumstances to consume them.  Customers can contact Taylor Farms at the Taylor Farms web site or by calling 855-293-9811.

What Is E. Coli?

Escherichia coli or E. coli is a common bacteria normally found in the digestive system of animals.  However, when this bacteria contaminates food, it can cause serious enteric problems.  The strain about which this recall is concerned, Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli  or EHEC, has been linked to serious digestive complaints.  While most patients recover on their own, children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems can be at particular risk of serious injury or death from E. coli poisoning.

While the primary sources of EHEC poisoning are raw or undercooked meats and raw milk, contamination of vegetables with feces may also produce an outbreak.  EHEC is heat-sensitive, so it is often killed in cook processes in meats; however, raw vegetables may be a particular source of risk of EHEC.

What Should I Do To Prevent Food Poisoning?

The World Health Organization offers five tips to prevent food poisoning in yourself and your family.

  • Keep clean.  Avoid cross-contamination by washing your hands frequently with antibacterial soap and cleaning counter surfaces carefully, especially after foods have come into contact with them.
  • Separate raw and cooked.  Never mix raw material with cooked food.  In your refrigerator, be sure to keep raw meat packaged well so that it does not leak juice onto other foods.
  • Cook thoroughly.  Be sure you are familiar with the proper temperatures for cooking foods thoroughly and stick to these guidelines.
  • Keep foods at safe temperatures.  Never allow raw or cooked foods to sit at room temperature; be sure you know the safe cooling temperatures to store foods.
  • Use safe water.  Always wash vegetables and fruits in clean, safe water.  Do not reuse water to wash other foods.

Following the WHO’s food guidelines will help you have a safer kitchen.  However, there are some forms of pathogens that are resistant to standard safety procedures.  If a company manufactures or distributes food that is tainted, the company may be liable for the damages caused.

If you have been a victim of a foodborne illness, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your case and learn how you can collect damages from the at-fault company.