A brand of spinach has been recalled in Australia after being linked to more than 50 illnesses.

New South Wales (NSW) Health said there are 47 people in the state who have reported symptoms after eating baby spinach and at least 17 of them have sought medical attention.

Initial symptoms may include delirium or confusion, hallucinations, fever, dilated pupils, rapid heartbeat, a flushed face, blurred vision, and dry mouth and skin. The onset of symptoms occurred within hours of eating the affected baby spinach.

Riviera Fresh has recalled Riviera Farms brand baby spinach 350 grams and 1-kilogram. It was sold at Costco Wholesale in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), and Victoria. All use-by dates from Dec. 16 to Dec. 28, 2022, are affected.

Woolworths Group has recalled Chicken Cobb Salad with a use-by date of Dec. 20 and Chickpea Falafel Salad with use-by dates of Dec. 20 and Dec. 22, which include the spinach. They were sold at Woolworths and Woolworths Metro stores in NSW, ACT, Queensland, and Victoria. Aldi has also recalled Fresh Salad Co. Fresh and Fast Stir Fry with a date of Dec. 24 sold at stores in Victoria.

Illness is believed to have been caused by accidental contamination of products with “unsafe plant material,” said Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

Possible symptoms
ACT Health is looking into several potential cases in the state and investigating the issue with other agencies.

The Victorian Department of Health said reports of “unusual and severe” symptoms have occurred in Victoria following consumption of the baby spinach.

Consumers have been advised not to eat the spinach and dispose of it. People who have eaten the product should seek medical advice or contact their local poisons information center.

Riviera Farms said it was working with retailers and regulators to identify, and recall, potentially contaminated spinach products from shelves. 

“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 have been sent to laboratories for testing,” said a company statement.

“Riviera Farms advised authorities immediately after being alerted by one of our retailers and we will continue to work closely with health and food regulators as investigations continue. Riviera Farms has been in the business of providing fresh food since the 1880s and has been saddened by this incident, which is the first in our long history of providing fresh food products.”

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