A woman claims she suffered a stillbirth after drinking smoothies with listeria-contaminated spinach, and now she's suing her grocery store

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A woman suffered a stillbirth after consuming spinach contaminated with Listeria, a lawsuit claims.
Listeria can cause listeriosis, which is more common and dangerous in pregnancy.
About 22% of cases of listeriosis in pregnancy result in stillbirth or death of the newborn.
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A Philadelphia woman who suffered a stillbirth says the baby spinach she added to her smoothies a few days earlier was to blame, according to a new lawsuit.
The Fresh Express spinach was contaminated with Listeria, although the woman did not know it at the time, the lawsuit says.
Listeria, a bacterium that causes the disease listeriosis, is far more likely -- and far more dangerous -- in pregnancy and is a known cause of miscarriage, 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 "unlawful killing of the unborn child and physical harm and emotional distress to the expectant mother," the law firm's press release says.
"In addition to the tragic loss of this baby, we are fighting to raise awareness of the public who blindly rely on food manufacturers and retailers to provide clean, safe and uncontaminated food," said attorney Julianna Merback Burdo, a partner at Wapner Newman's Catastrophic Injury practice said in the press release.
"Safety within the food chain must start with those who process, pack, transport and sell food," added Merback Burdo.
Shabazz was quarantined at home with COVID-19 while consuming the spinach
Shabazz, then over 30 weeks pregnant, went to the hospital on December 11, 2021 with flu-like symptoms. Doctors confirmed the fetus was healthy and sent her home in quarantine, the press release said.
While she was resting, her grandmother bought Fresh Express baby spinach from Fresh Grocer for Shabazz to use in smoothies.
On December 15, Shabazz returned to the hospital with bleeding and painful contractions. There, providers found no fetal movement or heartbeats, and Shabazz gave birth to the stillborn baby the same day, the lawsuit says.
An autopsy confirmed that the only cause of death was Listeria.
Five days later, Fresh Express announced a "precautionary recall" on its leafy greens days due to a listeria outbreak in Pennsylvania and other states. The recall included the baby spinach that the mother had eaten, according to the suit.
The baby would have been Shabazz and her husband's first. "This baby could have been born the day before this spinach was eaten and is surviving and thriving," Burdo 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 problem in pregnancy" and a known cause of stillbirth, said Dr. Stephanie Ros, a Florida-based gynecologist and specialist in maternal-fetal medicine, told Insider.
Because of this, pregnant women are advised to stay away from foods that are more likely to be affected, such as cured meats, soft cheeses, and raw sprouts. Spinach is not a food that pregnant women are typically told to avoid; In fact, it's recommended as a great source of folic acid, which can help prevent miscarriage.
While healthy people who accidentally consume foods infected with Listeria don't usually get sick, people with compromised immune systems, including pregnant women, do get fetal medicine, according to the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.
Pregnant women are 20 times more likely to be infected than healthy adults who are not pregnant, and around 17% of pregnant women will develop listeriosis.
The infection can be passed to the fetus and lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm labor and low birth weight, the organization reports.
Newborns with listeriosis who survive birth can experience breathing problems, fever, rash, lethargy, and even death.
Pregnant women who have listeriosis with symptoms like fever should be treated with IV antibiotics, ACOG says.
Read the original article on Insider

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