By BRIANA ARRINGTON
Popeye said spinach made him strong, but a recent
outbreak of Escherichia Coli, or E. Coli, found in
bagged spinach made many people sick.
A Fresno County Health Official said since late August,
over 150 people have become ill by spinach tainted
with harmful E. Coli.
Larry Sellers, a biology professor, said E. Coli is everywhere and all organisms, including humans, have
a different type in their system.
“It just so happens this
particular strain found in spinach proved dangerous to the people,” Sellers
Dr. Mark Horton, the state public health officer in
California, said in an interview with Fox News Channel Sept. 20 the outbreak
resulted when cow manure seeped into packaged spinach at a California factory.
“We believe we have finally found the source of the
outbreak,” Horton said.
A news release by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
said test results linking two bags of Dole brand baby spinach to a deadly E. Coli strain have helped health officials hone in on the
source of the outbreak.
The tainted greens came from specific batches from
processing plants in three California counties; San Juan Bautista, Santa Clara
and San Benito processing plants.
According to a report by the FDA, one person in Wisconsin
has died, and 29 people have had kidney failure.
The FDA reported the nationwide warning against spinach
has been lifted.
However, there are strong precautions being taken to
assure the safety in the three California counties.
Sellers said symptoms of E. Coli
can be severe and include diarrhea, fever, nausea and headache.
“It is not typically fatal for college-aged students, but
is for children under five and for the elderly,” Sellers said.
Some students still felt a little food-wary during the
“I had a cheeseburger with spinach leaves a couple of
weekends ago,” said Jake Giehl, a senior
communication major, said.
“I didn’t even think about it because it was at a
cookout, but a friend warned me afterwards,” Giehl
Monica Rude, a freshman business major, said the E. Coli outbreak in spinach was kind of scary.
“You think it’s not going to happen to you, but it’s a
possibility,” Rude said.
“I just hope that the problem is finally solved and I
won’t have to worry anymore.”
Mike Michelle, food service director for Tech, said
students in Louisiana probably do not have anything to worry about. There have
been no reports of an E. Coli case in Louisiana.
Wisconsin accounts for about
one-third of the cases.
Nonetheless, Michelle said Tech is still taking
precautions to keep the students safe.
“Our housing and dining services were very proactive, and
they pulled all of their spinach products off of their menus,” Michelle said.
Sellers said consumers are probably seeing the tail-end
of the outbreak, but largely due to spinach being taken off the market.
“People should still take the necessary precautions to
avoid it,” Sellers said.
Sellers said symptoms of the infection can be present for
five to 10 days.
“The incubation period for E. Coli is three to four days,
although some individuals have symptoms as long as eight days after they
consume spinach,” Sellers said.
“The best advice I can give to students is to watch what
you eat, wash your hands often, and hope for the best.”