California’s Ready Pac Foods Inc. has recalled 702 cases of Spinach Temptations, a variety of baby spinach, in 6 oz. bags.

Ready Pac, based in Irwindale, said the baby spinach products might be contaminated with dangerous E. coli O157:H7 bacteria.

The recalled spinach, with use by dates of July 4 and 8, were distributed in California, Washington state, and Arizona.  The product codes are 11707B, IR127121 for the group with a use by date of July 4, and 12007B, IR130373 for the use by date of July 8.

No illnesses have been associated with this recall of baby spinach.

Just four years ago, fresh spinach was responsible for an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 that infected at least 204 people in 26 states.

Half of those who became ill required hospitalization and 31 developed the type of kidney failure known as hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) leading to three deaths.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discovered the E. coli contamination during random sampling at Ready Pac.

E. coli  O157:H7 is an organism that may cause diarrheal illness with symptoms that often include bloody stools.

HUS is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly.  The condition can lead to serious kidney damage and even death.

In the 2006 outbreak, two elderly women and a two-year-old died from the HUS complications.

Because it is still possible that products bearing the Use-by Dates of July 4 and July 8 with the above product codes could be on store shelves, this recall extends to retailers as well as consumers.

Ready Pac said it is important to alert consumers and retailers who might still possess one of the potentially affected salads to dispose of it immediately.

Ready Pac has notified all of its retail customers who have received the product in question and directed them to remove it from their shelves.

Instructions for Consumers:

Check your refrigerator for Ready Pac Baby Spinach, Spinach Temptations 6 oz. bagged salads with the use-by dates of July 4 and July 8 with the above product codes. The use-by dates are found in the upper left hand corner of the package with the product codes located immediately underneath.

Consumers who may have purchased the affected product are asked to record the use-by date and product code, immediately dispose of the product, and contact the Ready Pac Consumer Affairs representative, toll-free at (800) 8007822, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Pacific Time) to obtain a full refund.

Instructions for Retailers:

All retailers who receive this product are asked to reconfirm with their distribution centers and all individual stores to ensure that no baby spinach with the code dates of July 4 and July 8 with the above product codes remains in their inventory or at store locations.

A separate notification will be forwarded to all relevant Ready Pac retail customers. For additional details, retailers are asked to contact their Ready Pac customer service representative.