October 29, 2006
No Clear Answers in E. Coli Infections
Article in the New York Times: No Clear Answers in E. Coli Infections, from the Associated Press. The article provides an interesting overview of the development of the spinach e. coli infections and the investigative work of government agencies to stop it. Here's an excerpt:
Like lab technicians on a crime-scene television drama, investigators have tracked a
strain of bacteria over thousands of miles -- from bagged spinach in Midwestern
refrigerators to the guts of a wild pig in the hills of California's central coast.
While they may never pinpoint the exact source of the strain of E. coli blamed for
killing three people and sickening more than 200, they have come closer than ever
before. And experts say the investigation has yielded valuable clues for preventing
''We've completely overhauled the way we test and package greens,'' said Samantha
Cabaluna, a spokeswoman for Natural Selection Foods LLC, the company that packaged
the tainted spinach. ''Regardless of the source or method of contamination, we're better
prepared to catch it.''
October 12, 2006
Source of Deadly E. Coli Is Found
Article in today's New York Times -- Source of Deadly E. Coli Is Found, by Libby Sander:
Cattle manure collected from a California ranch under investigation by federal
and state authorities contains the same strain of E. coli that killed three people
and sickened nearly 200 in a recent outbreak linked to tainted spinach, federal
and state food safety officials said Thursday.
“We know where the E. coli comes from,” said Dr. Kevin Reilly of the California
Department of Health Services.
But while the discovery of the match between E. coli in the manure and in the tainted
spinach is an unprecedented development in the scientific investigation of food-borne
illnesses, Dr. Reilly said, it does not solve the mystery of how the spinach was
contaminated in the first place.
October 05, 2006
Toddler's Death Linked to E. Coli Outbreak
Article in today's Washington Post -- Toddler's Death Linked to E. Coli Outbreak, by Rebecca Boone of the Associated Press:
A 2-year-old boy who died from kidney failure last month had been infected with the
same strain of E. coli bacteria that prompted a nationwide consumer warning on fresh
spinach, health officials said Thursday.
Kyle Allgood's was the second confirmed death in the outbreak, which also killed an
elderly Wisconsin woman and sickened at least 190 other people.
September 21, 2006
Farmers Pledge Steps to Avoid Contamination of Produce
Article from today's New York Times -- Farmers Pledge Steps to Avoid Contamination of Produce, by Jesse McKinley:
Amid growing governmental pressure and public concern about an E. coli outbreak
caused by contaminated spinach, California farmers promised new procedures for
growing, handling and shipping their produce on Thursday, in hopes of lifting a
week-old government warning about the crop.
The guidelines were announced just hours after federal and state health authorities
met with hundreds of concerned and occasionally angry farmers crammed into a Farm
Bureau office here to offer their help in ending an agricultural crisis that is estimated
by trade officials to have already cost the spinach industry $50 million.
September 19, 2006
Pattern of E. Coli Outbreaks Is Seen
Article in today's New York Times -- Pattern of E. Coli Outbreaks Is Seen, by the Associated Press:
Federal health officials said Monday that before the current E. coli outbreak there
had been 19 food-poisoning outbreaks since 1995 linked to lettuce and spinach. At
least eight of those were traced to produce grown in the Salinas Valley in California.
The outbreaks involved more than 400 cases of sickness and two deaths.
The outbreaks led the Food and Drug Administration to write to California farmers
last November, urging them to improve the safety of produce.