By Kathryn Price
October 11, 2006
We have watched the evening news as story after story of incidents related to the E. coli outbreak is told. Many are ill while others die after consuming tainted leafy greens.
What is E. coli? According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Escherichia coli, a.k.a. E. coli, is "a subgroup of fecal coliform bacteria that is present in the intestinal tracts and feces of warm-blooded animals. It is used as an indicator of the potential presence of pathogens. There are many different strains of E. coli that are classified into more than 170 serogroups. Although most strains of E. coli are harmless and live in the intestines of healthy humans and animals, the E. coli O157:H7 strain produces a powerful toxin and can cause severe illness."
Here is what is known. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, September 18, 2006, "federal authorities announced they will investigate farms in Salinas Valley seeking evidence of what caused the outbreak." [i]
The article goes on to quote Dr. David Acheson of the FDA saying, "Acheson, who called the outbreak one of the larger E. coli outbreaks ever reported, extended indefinitely the federal recommendation not to eat any fresh spinach or products that contain or are packaged with spinach that have a sell-by date of Aug. 17 through Oct. 1.