Please find more information about this topic via the https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/ website where this was originally published.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has coordinated multiple recalls of baby spinach products due to potential contamination with unsafe plant material.
The following products have been recalled:
Coles – Spinach, Chef Blend Tender Leaf, Baby Leaf Blend, Kitchen Green Goddess Salad, Kitchen Chicken BLT Salad Bowl, Kitchen Roast Pumpkin, Fetta & Walnut Salad, Kitchen Smokey Mexican Salad, Kitchen Egg and Spinach Pots
Consumers are advised not to consume these products and return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.
Frequently asked questions
How did this incident happen?
The cause of the baby spinach contamination remains under investigation, with unsafe plant material from weeds the likely cause.
The supplier is working collaboratively with Victorian Government authorities to get to the bottom of how the contamination occurred and prevent it from happening again.
As soon as the potential contamination was identified, FSANZ worked closely with the supplier, states and territories and affected retailers, who have all been cooperative in assisting with the recall of affected product.
What symptoms are people who have eaten the contaminated baby spinach experiencing?
Initial symptoms may include:
Delirium or confusion
Dry mouth and skin.
How many people have been affected?
As of 18 December 2022, over 190 potential cases have been reported across New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Queensland. However, cases are still being followed up and it is anticipated that with greater public awareness resulting from the recall and media releases that more cases may be reported.
What should people do if they have eaten it?
Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any unusual symptoms following consumption. This may include calling your local poisons information centre.
Have the toxic reactions continued to stem from a single source?
Yes. Investigations suggest that all affected products stem from a single plant source.
What is the contaminant causing people to become unwell?
A weed is the most likely cause of the spinach contamination, not pesticides. Investigations are ongoing. Lab analysis of weed samples from the farm is underway..
Have all the affected products been removed from supermarket shelves?
We understand that affected products have been identified and recalled. Retailers are aware of these recalls and the products should no longer be on supermarket shelves.
How did the weed get into the food supply?
This is currently being investigated by Victorian authorities with site inspections underway.
Is it safe to eat spinach and other salad products?
Yes. Affected baby spinach products have been recalled. Consumers should enjoy spinach again.
How serious is the poisoning – will people recover?
While there have been several hospitalisations, investigations are continuing and toxicological impacts are still to be confirmed. It is understood most people affected are experiencing symptoms for a short time and recovering quickly.
What are the most common food recalls in Australia?
Mixed and/or processed foods are the most common foods recalled in Australia. More information on recalls is available on Food recall statistics.