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Manure near spinach crops had E. coli

Oct 4, 2006 | San Francisco Chronicle

California investigators have detected E. coli bacteria in eight samples of cattle manure lifted from pastures adjacent to two farms linked to tainted spinach that has sickened 193 people since August.

"We took them basically from cow pies,'' said state health department prevention director Kevin Reilly. Although the bacteria are the dangerous E. coli O157:H7 strain, further tests will tell within a few days whether the strain carries the same genetic fingerprints as the one that caused the outbreak. Reilly said that, because even healthy cattle are known to carry E. coli, it was not surprising to find the bug in their manure.

Ten bags of spinach from eight states have tested positive with the outbreak strain. Eight of the 10 with the same lot code information were packaged as Dole baby spinach on Aug. 15 at a Natural Selection Foods plant in San Juan Bautista (San Benito County).

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