Updates on US spinach products

A spokesman for the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) said today (October 25) that the supply of US bagged spinach had resumed following confirmation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the affected farms found to be related to outbreaks of E.coli O157 were no longer producing ready to eat produce.

"The FDA has also confirmed that fresh spinach with the date code (best use-by date) of October 2, 2006 or later is allowed to be sold in the US.

"Upon this latest development, the CFS had taken two US spinach samples for testing of E.coli O157. Results were all negative.

"The Centre has already informed the trade of the latest situation and will continue to monitor the safety of fresh spinach from the US," the spokesman said.

He also reminds the public of the following safety tips on consumption of vegetables:

When preparing vegetables, discard the outer leaves of leafy vegetables such as lettuce and cabbage before washing. Immerse fresh vegetables in water and wash thoroughly with running water to remove dirt and surface microorganisms.
For people in high risk categories (ie. young children, elderly people, pregnant women and others with weak immune system), they should avoid eating food containing raw vegetables (e.g. salad, coleslaw, pickled vegetables).
To reduce food safety risk, vegetables should be thoroughly cooked before consumption.
Ends/Wednesday, October 25, 2006