E. coli outbreak a result of national spinach recall

Kira Meixner

Dining Services practices food safety precautions

Scanning electron micrograph of E. coli, grown in culture and adhered to a coverslip. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROCKY MOUNTAIN LABORATORIES, NIAID, NIH

Credit: Jason Hall

Kent State Dining Services stopped serving spinach Sept. 14 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration put out a warning about an outbreak of the E. coli 0157:H7 infection.

Andrea Spandonis, director of Dining Services, said they are following similar practices as the rest of the country regarding the spinach recall. They have changed recipes by removing spinach from all meals.

“(We are doing) the same thing as everyone else across the United States,” she said. “We are not serving spinach, Mesclun Mix or Spring Mix.”

Spandonis said companies call Dining Services when there is a recall of products. Dining Services also watches the news and looks to the FDA for information.

Produce companies Natural Selection Foods and River Ranch announced voluntary recalls of all products containing fresh spinach, according to the FDA. One death and 146 cases of illness caused by the

E. coli infection have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The FDA reports that 25 states, including Ohio, have confirmed cases.

Spandonis said Dining Services hasn’t really seen a reaction from students, and she doesn’t know why.

Senior business management major Becky Williams said she sometimes eats spinach in her salad.

“I’m concerned,” she said. “But I haven’t eaten any spinach lately.”

Williams said she will be more cautious about eating spinach when it is served again.

According to the CDC, the E. coli infection often causes bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Usually the illness will resolve in five to 10 days without antibiotics. The FDA urges consumers who experience any of these symptoms after eating fresh spinach to contact a health-care provider.

Contact health and medical reporter Kira Meixner at [email protected].