Hundreds of Aussies Affected by Psychoactive Spinach Taint Incident
© Photo : Pixabay"Plants are very environmentally responsive. They know that there is going to be a drought long before we do. They can detect small changes in the properties of soil and water potential. If we tap into those chemical signaling pathways, there is a wealth of information to access," said Professor Strano.
© Photo : Pixabay
Australian supermarket chains Woolworths, Costco and Coles recalled a raft of products containing fresh baby spinach leaf late last week after incidents of poisoning. The contaminated leaves, believed to have become mixed with the nightshade plant, are thought to have come from a farm in Victoria state.
At least 230 people in Australia have suffered delirium, fever and heart problems after eating contaminated spinach.
New South Wales (NSW) was the worst hit by the wave of food poisoning, with the state's health department reporting 164 cases by Monday. 42 of those were hospitalised with heart palpitations and hallucinations.
The state of Queensland said 42 people had called its Poisons Information Centre to reports symptoms, while in Victoria 20 people had attended hospital emergency departments due to the poisoning.
And 10 people in the small Australian Capital Territory (ACT) covering Canberra and its outskirts had also reported symptoms, although a spokesperson said "ACT Health is not aware of any hospitalisations ... associated with the baby spinach food recall."
The Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) agency issued an urgent nationwide recall alert for the baby spinach on Sunday.
It urged residents to throw away products that might contain the contaminated leaves, believed to have originated on a farm in Victoria, which included pre-packed salad and stir-fry mixes bought from branches of supermarkets Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and Costco.
18 December 2022, 06:11 GMT
Dr Brett Summerell of Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens ventured that the poisoning was likely caused by a variety of the nightshade family of plants becoming mixed in with the spinach.
"When young, they are just a few dark green leaves which is probably not that much different to spinach," Summerell explained. "You're harvesting all these leafy greens now at a very young age, sometimes it can be quite difficult [to tell them apart]."
Authorities urged Aussies seeking cheap thrills not to look for nightshade leaves to eat in the hope of getting a psychedelic high.