The Associated Press reports that a second tainted bag of spinach, found in Utah over the weekend, has helped health officials pinpoint E. coli contamination in one specific batch of fresh spinach in a California processing plant.
California health officials said the Utah bag of Dole baby spinach and another of the same brand found in New Mexico last week were both processed during the same shift on Aug. 15 at Natural Selection Foods’ San Juan Batista plant in the Salinas Valley.
"We are looking very aggressively at what was produced on that date," Dr. Kevin Reilly, deputy director of prevention services for the California Department of Health Services, said late Monday. "Much of the feedback we got from patients right now was related to Dole packaging."
The Utah Department of Health and the Salt Lake Valley Health Department confirmed Monday that E. coli had been found in a bag of Dole baby spinach purchased in Utah with a use-by-date of Aug. 30, 2006, the FDA said.
The earliest onset of illness known to be linked to spinach consumption was on Aug. 19.
The 25 affected states are: Arizona (7 cases), California (1), Colorado (1), Connecticut (3), Idaho (4), Illinois (1), Indiana (9), Kentucky (8), Maine (3), Maryland (3), Michigan (4), Minnesota (2), Nebraska (9), Nevada (1), New Mexico (5), New York (11), Ohio (20), Oregon (6), Pennsylvania (8), Tennessee (1), Utah (18), Virginia (2), Washington (3), Wisconsin (44), and Wyoming (1).
Wisconsin has the largest number of reported cases, and the one death, a 77-year-old woman. Two other deaths, in Idaho and Maryland, are still under investigation.