Weed harvested with baby spinach poisons Australians • The Register

About 130 salad fans in Australia got more than they bargained for when they bought food where contaminated baby spinach was an ingredient – including hallucinations and delirium.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand has ripped several products, including packaged salads and stir-fries, off the shelves at retailers Costco, Woolworths, Aldi and Coles across New South Wales.

The spoiled vegetables are believed to have come from Riviera Farms in Victoria and the problem is described as “potential contamination with unsafe plant material”.

The company said: “It appears that these products, which have been grown on a farm in Victoria and shipped to shops in NSW, have become contaminated with a weed which can have health consequences if consumed.

“Riviera Farms informed authorities immediately after being alerted by one of our retailers and we will continue to work closely with health and food authorities as the investigation continues.”

Symptoms reported include delirium or confusion, hallucinations, dilated pupils, rapid heartbeat, flushed face, blurred vision, dry mouth and skin, and fever.

Investigations have led the Food Safety Agency to believe that toxic weeds were harvested alongside the spinach and accidentally included in the product.

dr Brett Summerell, senior scientist at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, said The guard he suspected some kind of nightshade plant. “When they’re young, they’re just a bunch of dark green leaves, which probably isn’t that different from spinach,” he said. “You’re harvesting all these leafy greens at a very young age now, sometimes it can be quite difficult [to identify].”

He went on to warn people against looking for such plants to get high: “People might be tempted to pick weed because they think they’ll get high in some way [but] It’s really important to remember, yes it might have a hallucinogenic side, but there’s a whole bunch of really horrible health issues out there.

“Whether it’s a fungus or if it’s the weed type, if you don’t know what you’re eating, don’t eat it.”

Michael Coote, chief executive of industry association Ausveg, said: “It’s another piece of plant material from a weed found on this particular farm that made it through the harvesting and packaging process and then into products. It’s not the spinach itself that causes these health problems.”

As of the weekend, at least 33 people have seen a doctor after eating the contaminated spinach. Customers are encouraged to return affected products to the place of purchase for a full refund. ®

https://www.theregister.com/2022/12/19/contaminated_baby_spinach_australia/ Weed harvested with baby spinach poisons Australians • The Register

Rick Schindler

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