A woman is suing the grocery store, claiming that spinach smoothies caused stillbirths

  • The woman gave birth to a stillborn child after eating spinach contaminated with listeria, the lawsuit said.
  • Listeria can cause listeriosis, which is more common and dangerous during pregnancy.
  • About 22% of cases of listeriosis in pregnancy result in stillbirth or death of the newborn.

A Philadelphia woman who suffered a stillbirth says baby spinach she added to her smoothie days earlier is to blame, according to a new lawsuit.

The spinach made by Fresh Express was contaminated with listeria, but the woman didn’t know that at the time, the lawsuit alleges.

Listeria, the bacteria that causes listeriosis, is more dangerous during pregnancy and is a known cause of pregnancy loss, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The woman, identified by NBC News as 25-year-old Mecca Shabazz, is suing Fresh Express and the grocery store for “death of the unborn child, as well as bodily harm and emotional distress to the expectant mother,” according to a news release from the law firm. says.

“In addition to the tragic death of this infant, we are fighting to raise awareness of the public who blindly rely on food manufacturers and distributors to provide clean, safe and uncontaminated food,” said attorney Julianne Merback Burdeau, Wapner Newman’s Catastrophic Partner. Injury practice, reports said.

“Safety in the food chain must start with those who process, pack, transport and sell our food,” added Merbek Burdo.

Shabazz was quarantined at home with COVID-19 while eating spinach

On December 11, 2021, Shabazz, who was more than 30 weeks pregnant, was admitted to the hospital with flu-like symptoms. Doctors confirmed that the fetus was healthy and it was quarantined at home, the press release said.

While on vacation, her grandmother bought Fresh Express Baby Spinach for Smoothies from Fresh Grocer for Shabazz.

On December 15, Shabazz returned to the hospital with bleeding and labor pains. There, providers found no fetal movement or heartbeat, and Shabazz delivered the stillborn baby the same day, the court heard.

An autopsy confirmed that the sole cause of death was Listeria.

Five days later, Fresh Express issued a “caution call” for its leafy greens due to listeria outbreaks in Pennsylvania and other states. The appeal included baby spinach eaten by the mother.

The baby would be the first for Shabazz and her husband. “This baby could have been born the day before eating this spinach and could have survived and thrived,” Bourdeau told NBC.

Fresh Express and its parent company, Chiquita Brands International, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Listeria is dangerous during pregnancy

Listeria is a “big pregnancy problem” and a known cause of stillbirth, Dr. Stephanie Ross, an OB-GYN and maternal-fetal specialist in Florida, told Insider.

Therefore, pregnant women are advised to avoid deli meats, soft cheeses, and raw foods that have been grown raw. Spinach is not a food that pregnant women should normally avoid; in fact, it is recommended as an excellent source of folic acid, which helps prevent miscarriage.

Although healthy people who accidentally eat foods contaminated with listeria do not usually get sick, people with weakened immune systems, including pregnant women, can get listeriosis and become seriously ill. Fetal Medicine.

Specifically, pregnant women are 20 times more likely to be infected than healthy non-pregnant adults, and about 17% of pregnant women develop listeriosis.

The infection can pass to the fetus and cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and low birth weight, the organization said.

Newborns born with listeriosis can have respiratory problems, fever, rashes, lethargy, and even death.

Pregnant women with listeriosis, including fever, should be treated with IV antibiotics, ACOG says.

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