Spinach Recall Scares Consumers

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Spinach Recall Scares Consumers

NEW YORK -- Grocery retailers are not likely to be harmed by the current spinach recall that is due to an outbreak of E. coli, industry experts believe. However, consumers of spinach or other fresh produce might be wary of purchasing other bagged products, CNNMoney.com reported.

"I think that grocers will not be hugely impacted," Bruce Axtman, president of the Perishables Group, told the Web site.

Grocery and convenience channels sold nearly $325 million in bulk and packaged spinach last year, totaling less than 1 percent of the total retail produce sales, the Perishables Group noted.

"I think that spinach is going to suffer for some time, whether it's sold in a bag, a bunch, or loose," Bill Nardelli, president of the distributor Nardelli Brothers Inc., told The Associated Press. "We're concerned that people are going to shy away from a lot of the bagged products."

In New Jersey, spinach is no where to be found, bagged or otherwise. At the advice of the New Jersey Restaurant Association, spinach -- including frozen -- has been pulled from menus, the AP reported.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning on Friday about the E. coli outbreak and its link to bagged spinach. Since then, the FDA has told consumers not to eat any fresh spinach until the source of the outbreak is found. That day, the outbreak was linked to packages from the California-based Natural Selection Foods. The company has issued a recall for all spinach products with "best if used by" dates of Aug. 17 through Oct. 1.

The source of the outbreak has yet to be found, however, Dr. Robert Brackett of the FDA told CNN.

The FDA has already received 111 reports of E. coli and one death throughout 21 states from consumers who have eaten bagged spinach.

The scope of the contamination and its affects have yet to be seen. "It's way too early to tell," Tim Chellig, spokesman for the Western Growers Association, told CNNMoney.com. "It depends entirely on where this thing goes in the next couple of weeks."