Almost 100 people sick as the potentially ‘hallucinogenic’ spinach recall hits fourth supermarket and state
As product recalls over potentially contaminated spinach impact a fourth state and supermarket today, in NSW alone the number of people sick after consuming the product has jumped to more than 85.
NSW Health says 88 people across the state have reported symptoms after eating baby spinach and at least 33 of them have required medical attention.
Eleven people have reportedly been made sick from consuming the spinach in Victoria and ACT Health are investigating several possible cases.
Earlier on Saturday, both Coles and Aldi recalled items which could contain the potentially “unsafe” baby spinach.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) says they’ve “been advised the recalled baby spinach products appear to have come from a single source”.
Riviera Farms said on Saturday that they’ve been in touch with the 20 retailers selling items containing their baby spinach in a statement issued on their website.
“Riviera Farms can confirm that on Thursday and Friday we contacted all 20 of our baby spinach customers via phone, in writing, or both,” they said.
“The advice to our customers remains to recall potentially contaminated spinach products from their shelves, and to advise their own customers to do the same.”
They added: “Riviera Farms has been working with retailers and regulators to identify, and recall, potentially contaminated spinach products from shelves”.
It’s believed the products may be contaminated with a weed which can “have health consequences if consumed”.
Both Victorian and NSW health authorities have urged people not to eat the spinach and to throw it out immediately after reports of potential contamination with an “unsafe plant material”.
Pratima Kafle told Today she couldn’t stand properly after being affected.
“I feel like my whole body is numb,” Kafle said.
Recalled product details
Coles has recalled 11 of its home-brand products containing baby spinach “as a precaution” across four states and two territories.
The products are sold in Coles Supermarkets, Coles Local, Coles Express and through Coles online across New South Wales, Victoria, ACT, Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australia.
“Health authorities have advised that some spinach may potentially be contaminated with unsafe plant material,” the company said on Saturday afternoon.
“Only the baby spinach products with the specific use-by dates detailed below are being recalled.
“No other Coles pre-packed spinach or salad products are impacted by this recall.”
The following products with use-by dates between December 17 and December 23 have been recalled:
- Coles Baby Spinach 60g
- Coles Lettuce Spinach 120g
- Coles Salad Family Baby Spinach 280g
- Coles Chef Blend Tender Leaf Blend 150g
- Coles Australian Salad Family Baby Leaf Blend 300g
- Coles Kitchen Green Goddess Salad 300g
- Coles Kitchen Roast Pumpkin Fetta & Walnut Salad 265g
- Coles Kitchen Chicken BLT Salad Bowl 240g
- Coles Kitchen Smokey Mexican Salad 280g
- Coles Kitchen Salads Green Goddess Salad 250g
- Coles Kitchens Egg And Spinach Pots 100g
Earlier, Aldi recalled 450g packets of The Fresh Salad Co-branded Fresh & Fast Stir Fry with use by dates of up to and including December 24, due to “potential contamination with unsafe plant material”. The product was available for sale across Victoria.
Riviera Farms products were originally recalled from discount giant Costco on Thursday night after reports of people suffering hallucinations, amongst other symptoms, in NSW, before Woolworths issued a product recall for two of its salad varieties on Friday evening.
Supermarket giant Woolworths said their recalled items were sold across Victoria, New South Wales, ACT and Queensland.
A statement on Friday warned consuming these could cause illness and asked anyone with the two varieties to return them to stores for a full refund.
- Woolworths Chicken Cobb Salad 270g (ID 218366) with use by dates of December 20
- Woolworths Chickpea Falafel 290g (ID 218371) with use by dates of December 20 and December 22
An initial recall for the affected baby spinach, sold at Costco, with a use by date of December 16 was issued by NSW Health on Thursday.
This has now been expanded to include products with a use by date of up to and including December 28 in 350g and 1kg containers.
“This is a precautionary measure and is an update on earlier advice where we stated that products with a best before date of 16 December 2022 were impacted,” Riviera Farms said in a statement on Thursday.
“It appears these products, which were grown on a farm in Victoria and shipped to stores in NSW, have been contaminated with a weed which can have health consequences if consumed.”
Samples of the spinach have been sent to laboratories for testing.
The product is “not safe to consume” and people who still have it should throw it out or return it to the store they bought it from for a full refund authorities say.
Anyone who is concerned about exposure to the spinach should call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26, and anybody experiencing severe symptoms should visit their nearest emergency department, or contact triple zero.
- Delirium or confusion
- Dilated pupils
- Rapid heartbeat
- Flushed face
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth and skin