More Listeria Concerns – This Time It’s Spinach

Publix Super Markets is issuing a voluntary recall for spinach dip as it may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The 16-ounce containers of prepackaged spinach dip were sold at Publix grocery stores, and have a UPC of 41415-00062, and use by date of OCT 10 C1. The problem was discovered as a result of routine testing conducted by Publix.

There have been no reported illness to date from the potentially tainted spinach, though the Listeria pathogen can take up to two months to manifest with symptoms. Listeria has been a major concern for the past two months, as cantaloupes have caused illnesses in a reported fifty-five individuals, as well as responsible for eight deaths.

This is, by far, not the first time that we have had an issue with spinach. It was in 2006 that spinach was the cause for the death of three people. At that time, it was an outbreak of food-borne illness caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria that was found in uncooked spinach. The outbreak first appeared in September, and by December 23, 2006, at least two hundred individuals were reported with symptoms from consuming the affected spinach, and spread across twenty six states.

Although other brands of spinach were implicated in the outbreak, Dole baby spinach was discovered to be the cause of many of the sicknesses reported throughout the country. This was the second outbreak linked to a Dole product in a twelve month period. Previously, an E. coli outbreak was linked to Dole bagged salads. As a result, several lawsuits were filed against Dole.