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A PA & NJ Food Allergy Lawyer Discusses Recent Spinach Recall By Dole Due To Possible Walnut Contamination

On August 28, 2014, Dole Fresh Vegetables voluntarily recalled its baby spinach packaged in 6 oz and 8 oz bags due to a possible contamination with walnuts, which is a tree nut. 

Though no illnesses or allergic reactions have been reported by consumers, Dole is initiating the recall in an abundance of caution to protect its customers.

The recall is due to a possible contamination of walnuts in the spinach.  The walnuts fell from a tree into spinach bins being delivered from a field to the plant.  The walnuts were discovered in the bins at the plant.

The recall affects Dole Baby Spinach 6 oz bags and Dole Spinach 8 oz bags in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico only.  Therefore, this is a limited recall.  The affected bags of spinach have the best by date of 9/4/2014. 

The following are the bag codes for the affected spinach bags:

DOLE Baby Spinach 6 oz bag
(UPC 071430009642)

DOLE Spinach 8 oz bag
UPC 071430009765













Tree Nut/Other Nut Allergies & Accidental Exposures

It is encouraging that Dole took the initiative to voluntarily recall these limited spinach bags even though contamination was not confirmed.  People with serious tree nut allergies can have life threatening allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis, even though they were only exposed to the slightest amount or consumed the slightest amount.  

Other food manufacturers and restaurants should take note of Dole's action and exercise the same abundance of caution for their customers.  For example, restaurants should make sure that cross-contamination does not occur when the kitchen is preparing customers' meals.  There should be separate cooking utensils and pans to prepare dishes that contain food allergens, such as nuts or tree nuts, and dishes that do not contain food allergens.  This is crucial for customers who have severe food allergies. 

For instance, a customer severely allergic to peanuts may order a dish that does not contain peanuts in it but still suffers a severe allergic reaction, i.e., anaphylactic shock, because the frying pan used to make his meal was previously used to prepare a dish that contains peanuts.  The frying pan was not thoroughly washed; it was only rinsed with water.  Therefore, traces of peanuts were still in the pan.  In this instance, if the restaurant knew that the customer was severely allergic to peanuts, it may be held liable for the customer's injuries and damages as a result of being exposed to peanuts.

To learn more about accidental exposure to food allergens and your legal rights, click on the following related articles:

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