FDA announced on Friday, September 29 that all spinach implicated in the current outbreak had traced back to Natural Selection Foods LLC of San Juan Bautista, California. This determination is based on epidemiological and laboratory evidence obtained by multiple states and coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Natural Selection Foods issued a recall of all implicated products on September 15, 2006. Four other companies have issued secondary recalls because they received the recalled product from Natural Selections. Spinach processed by other manufacturers has not been implicated in the outbreak.
FDA, the State of California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Department of Agriculture continue to investigate the cause of the outbreak. This includes continued inspections and sample collection in facilities, the environment and water, as well as studies of animal management, water use and the environment.
Although the current outbreak may ultimately trace back to a specific field(s), there has been a long history of E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks involving leafy greens from the central California region. Spinach processed by other manufacturers has not been implicated in this outbreak, however, based on discussions with industry, and given the past E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks, FDA and the State of California expect the industry to develop a comprehensive plan which is designed to minimize the risk of another outbreak due to E. coliO157:H7 in spinach grown in central California. While this plan is under development, FDA and the State of California reiterate previous concerns and advise firms to review their current operations in light of the agency's guidance for minimizing microbial food safety hazards.
FDA will be holding a public meeting to address the larger issue of food borne illness linked to leafy greens later in the year once the current investigation is complete. FDA continues to work closely with the CDC and state and local agencies to determine the cause and scope of the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in spinach. Please check www.fda.gov for updates.