If You Have This Vegetable In Your Fridge, Throw It Out Now, CDC Says

The agency has linked this product to illnesses in 10 people across seven states so far.

Making sure to incorporate plenty of vegetables into your diet is one of the first lessons we're taught about nutrition when we're kids. That early knowledge still holds true as we get older: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults should be consuming two to three cups of veggies every day. But though getting your greens normally does a body good, the CDC warns there's one vegetable product that could pose a severe health risk right now. Read on to see which item you should be tossing if you have it in your fridge.

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The CDC is investigating illnesses linked to Josie's Organics Baby Spinach sold nationwide.

A bowl of freshly washed spinach leaves

On Nov. 15, the CDC announced that it was actively investigating illnesses linked to baby spinach sold nationwide under the brand name Josie's Organics. The agency says the products in question were sold in plastic clamshell containers and have a "best by" date of Oct. 23, 2021 printed on the packaging.

The baby spinach may be contaminated with E. coli.

Older man with stomach pain

According to the CDC's announcement, health officials in Minnesota discovered E. coli O157:H7 in a sample collected from a package of Josie's Organic baby spinach found in someone's home who became ill. The investigation has since found that five people have reported eating spinach before becoming sick, with one confirmed case linked to the Josie's Organic brand.

So far, the outbreak has led to 10 illnesses across seven states overall, including two hospitalizations. The investigation is ongoing and working to determine if any other products could be contaminated with the harmful bacteria.

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You should throw away any contaminated spinach and wash any surfaces it may have touched.

man in red shirt holding black trash bag
Shutterstock / Mike_shots

The agency is warning anyone who purchased the contaminated baby spinach not to consume it and to throw it away or return it to the store where it was purchased immediately. You should also prevent cross-contamination by washing any surfaces or items that may have touched the contaminated spinach using hot soapy water or running it through a dishwasher.

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Call your doctor if you experience any serious symptoms of E. coli poisoning.

woman lying on couch with stomach cramps

In its announcement, the CDC warns that people who come into contact with E. coli often experience abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea, and dehydration. Typically, symptoms begin three to four days after ingesting the bacteria, with most healthy people recovering without medical treatment within five to seven days. The agency advises anyone who experiences diarrhea that is bloody or accompanied by a fever higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit, diarrhea for more than three days that is not improving, or vomiting too much to keep liquids down to call their doctor immediately.

The agency also warns that among certain individuals—particularly children under the age of five and seniors—E. coli exposure can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. According to the National Kidney Foundation, the most apparent symptom of HUS is loss of color in the skin, but some individuals with the condition will also urinate less and have noticeably reduced energy levels. If you have any of these symptoms, experts recommend seeking immediate medical care.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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