California produce grower Metz Fresh LLC said on Wednesday it voluntarily recalled fresh spinach in grocery stores and food service packages after a sample tested positive for salmonella.
The privately held King City, California-based company and a spokesman from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said there have been no reports of illness or problems related to the spinach.
The products were distributed in the continental United States and Canada under the Metz Fresh label. Recalled packages include 10-ounce and 16-ounce bags, as well as 2.5 and 4 pound bags shipped in cartons.
The affected spinach carries tracking codes 12208114, 12208214 and 12208314.
Metz Fresh spokesman Greg Larsen said the issue first came to the company's attention on Friday when a single sample taken during routine testing conducted by an independent lab came back presumptive positive for salmonella. The sample was confirmed positive for salmonella late on Tuesday, Larsen said.
On Friday, Metz Fresh tracked, located and put 'holds' on the vast majority of the cartons of affected spinach. As a result, more than 90 percent of the more than 8,100 cases in transit were halted. That spinach will not be released into the marketplace.
FDA spokesman Mike Herndon said the agency is working with Metz Fresh to determine which states received recalled spinach.
Consumers should discard any product related to the recall or return it to the place of purchase for a refund. Metz Fresh has set up a telephone line for questions at 831-386-1018.
Salmonella is a food-borne pathogen that can cause severe illnesses, including fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. While many people recover without treatment, salmonella infections can be life-threatening to infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.
Concerns about food safety have risen after E. coli-tainted bagged spinach killed three people and sickened more than 200 last year.
This year, a widespread outbreak of salmonella from peanut butter made more than 600 people sick and pet food products imported from China were linked to the deaths of animals in the United States.
(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein)