A baby spinach recall has led to a recall of dozens of ready-to-eat items from Whole Foods.

After health investigators in New York and Florida found two clamshell containers of baby spinach that tested positive for salmonella, leafy greens grower Satur Farms announced a voluntary recall of baby spinach.

Whole Foods also announced a recall of dozens of ready-to-eat items, including salads, pizza, sandwiches, and wraps that may contain some of the recalled spinach.

More Food Recalls

Satur Farms also recalled mesclun lettuce out of an abundance of caution because it was stored in the same area as the baby spinach, owner Paulette Satur says.

The recalled Satur Farms products are packaged in 5-ounce, 10-ounce, and 16-ounce clamshells, bearing one of these lot numbers on the left side of the label: 18494 (spinach), 18513 (spinach), or 18520 (mesclun). The list of 55 recalled Whole Foods products, sold at stores in eight states Jan. 23 or earlier, can be found here.

The Food and Drug Administration is advising consumers to return any of the recalled Satur Farms and Whole Foods products to the place of purchase for a full refund.

No illnesses were reported in connection with these recalls, and Paulette Satur says the recalled product was a “fairly small amount,” though she declined to give an estimate.


Possible Origins

The FDA is still investigating what might have contaminated the baby spinach. The bacteria is usually transmitted by animal—and occasionally human—feces. One of the biggest foodborne pathogen outbreaks in recent U.S. history stemmed from California-grown spinach tainted with E. coli, which some investigators believe came from livestock waste.

Satur also says testing of newer batches of baby spinach distributed by her company turned up no evidence of salmonella or other pathogens. “We’ve already made some modifications to our safety protocols,” she says. “I’m hoping we’ve taken care of the problem.”

Leafy greens are the most common type of food implicated in foodborne illness outbreaks in the U.S., for reasons that include the way they are grown and how foodborne pathogens adhere to the leaves.

“Bacteria can cling to the surface of the leaves and get stuck in microscopic crevices,” says Sana Mujahid, Ph.D., manager of food safety research at Consumer Reports. “You can’t always wash the bacteria off.”

Photo: FDA

The Details

Products recalled: 5-ounce, 10-ounce, and 16-ounce clamshell packages of Satur Farms baby spinach and mesclun, bearing one of these lot numbers: 18494 (spinach), 18513 (spinach), or 18520 (mesclun). Lot numbers can be found on the left side of the label (see photo). These products are sold at retail outlets in New York and Florida.

Additionally, Whole Foods recalled 55 premade food items. A full list can be found here. These products are available at locations in Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.

The problem: Product testing by New York and Florida state health officials found salmonella in two containers of Satur Farms baby spinach.

The fix: The FDA says consumers should return any affected Satur Farms and Whole Foods products to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Contact the producer: Call Satur Farms at 631-734-4219 or Whole Foods at 844-936-8255.

Symptoms of salmonella: Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause diarrhea, often accompanied by fever, abdominal pain, and occasionally vomiting. Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Contact your doctor if you have a fever of 101.5° F or higher, bloody diarrhea, or severe dehydration.