Australians warned not to eat 'toxic spinach' that has caused hallucinations

Symptoms include delirium, blurred vision, confusion, fever and dry skin and mouth

The contaminated spinach was bought at a Costco supermarket. Bloomberg
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Health authorities in Australia's New South Wales have warned people against eating a certain brand of spinach after it caused severe sickness and hallucinations in several people.

Nine people in the state received medical treatment after eating Riviera Farms' baby spinach and are some patients are said to be “very sick”.

Their symptoms include delirium, hallucinations and blurred vision, authorities said. People may also suffer from dry skin and mouth, fever and confusion, and symptoms can be “severe”.

“The patients that have been quite unwell have been to the point of marked hallucinations where they are seeing things that aren’t there,” Dr Darren Roberts, director of the state's Poisons Information Centre told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“They can’t give a good recount of what happened. No one has died, so we are very happy with that and we hope it remains that way.”

All of the affected bought the spinach from a Costco supermarket, the paper reported, but authorities are currently unaware if the toxic green is being sold anywhere else.

The producer said it believes the spinach was contaminated by a weed and has asked shops to remove the product from their shelves. Health authorities worry other states may soon be affected.

The state health department has asked people not to eat baby spinach with an expiry date of December 16.

It is not the first food-related scare to hit Australia. In November, toxic poppy seeds left several people in hospital.

Several cases of “severe toxicity” were reported after people consumed the seeds in Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Various brands were recalled from shops.

Australian authorities increased the jail term for contaminating foodstuff to 15 years after a scare in 2018, when needles were hidden in strawberries across numerous states.

New Zealand recalled the sale of Australian strawberries as a precaution.

Updated: December 16, 2022, 5:46 AM
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