CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigated a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections.

Epidemiologic and laboratory data showed that Josie’s Organics prepackaged baby spinach with a “best by” date of October 23, 2021, made people sick.

As of January 6, 2022, this outbreak is over.

A total of 15 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 were reported from 10 states:

California – 1

Indiana – 4

Iowa – 1

Michigan – 1

Minnesota – 2

Missouri – 1

Nebraska – 1

Ohio – 1

Pennsylvania – 1

South Dakota – 2

Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 13, 2021, to November 8, 2021. Sick people ranged in age from 1 to 76 years, with a median age of 26, and 80% were female. Of 15 people with information available, 4 were hospitalized and 3 developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). No deaths were reported.

Public health investigators used the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that were part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples were closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

Officials in Minnesota found the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 in a package of leftover Josie’s Organics baby spinach collected from a sick person’s home.

FDA conducted a traceback investigation for the positive product sample and traced it back to a small number of farms in two different geographic regions. However, investigators did not identify a potential point of contamination.

On November 15, 2021, CDC advised people not to eat, sell or serve Josie’s Organics prepackaged baby spinach with “best by” date of October 23, 2021.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $800 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products.  The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s.  We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.

If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coliattorneys for a free case evaluation.

Additional Resources: