SPRINGFIELD - Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, announced today a sample of bagged spinach collected from Illinois’ first case of E. coli O157:H7 was positive for E. coli O157:H7. Last week an elderly woman from LaSalle County was the first state resident whose E. coli O157:H7 isolate matched the national outbreak strain associated with spinach consumption. Bagged spinach collected from the home of Illinois’ first case, has been tested at the Illinois Department of Public Health new Springfield Combined Laboratory Addition and found to be positive for E. coli O157:H7. Further testing will take place to confirm that the strain of E. coli isolated from this bagged spinach also matches the outbreak strain.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined the spinach implicated in the outbreak was grown in three counties in California: Monterey, San Benito and Santa Clara. Other produce grown in these California counties is not implicated in this outbreak. Spinach grown in the rest of the United States has not been implicated in the current E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. Therefore, the FDA has advised that spinach grown in non-implicated areas can be consumed. Consumers are advised not to buy or eat fresh spinach if they cannot verify that it was grown in areas other than the three California counties implicated in the outbreak.
The food industry is working to get spinach from areas not implicated in the current E. coli O157:H7 outbreak back on the market.