Frozen spinach linked to as many as 100 illnesses in Slovakia; recall underway

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Deep frozen spinach puree has been linked to a foodborne outbreak in Slovakia.

Authorities have not said how many people were affected by tropane alkaloid poisoning but figures in local media vary from a dozen to up to 100 with some needing hospital treatment.

The State Veterinary and Food Administration of the Slovak Republic (SVPS) received information about the incident from the National Toxicological Information Centre at University Hospital Bratislava.

Product recall
The 400-gram or 450-gram frozen spinach products manufactured by Equus were sold at Coop and Kaufland under the brand Vinica with a date of May 2023 and were recalled earlier this month.

One of the items recalled

Other potentially implicated batches, dates and lots identified by the manufacturer have the name Frizanto, Dle Gusta, Freshona HU and Clever. Some of the affected product was also sent to the Czech Republic.

SVPS is carrying out official inspections in commerce and at the manufacturer. The agency said as it was not yet able to determine the possibility of harmful health effects it was temporarily ordering the halt to sales of all batches of the products.

The National Toxicological Information Centre reported a rise in consultations in March following consumption of the product. Officials believe it may have accidentally contained jimson weed, also known as Datura stramonium.

Tropane alkaloids are natural substances that occur in a variety of plants as a defense against being eaten.

Symptoms of poisoning include dryness of mucous membranes, so reduced flow of saliva and a dry mouth, dryness and redness of the skin, possibly dilation of pupils. For high quantities, people may experience dizziness, impaired vision, palpitations, disorientation and hallucinations. Symptoms occur relatively quickly after ingestion from minutes to hours and may continue for 24 to 48 hours.

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