Australians Told Not to Consume Contaminated Spinach to Get High

Australians have been urged not to deliberately seek out contaminated spinach products in order to get high, after over 200 people experienced symptoms across the country.

Food items containing spinach, such as various salads, offered in supermarkets across Australia have been recalled due to a suspected contamination, which authorities believe to have originated at Riviera Farms in the southern state of Victoria.

At the time of writing, over 200 people have reported symptoms from the contamination, including “delirium or confusion, hallucinations, dilated pupils, rapid heartbeat, flushed face, blurred vision, dry mouth and skin, and fever.” Riviera Farms said that they were testing weeds on the farm “which can have health consequences if consumed.”

“As soon as we were advised of the possible weed contamination from one of our customers, we immediately advised them to remove our impacted spinach from their shelves, and contacted state health and federal food authorities,” a spokesman for the farm said.

Dr Brett Summerell, chief scientist at Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens, said that there were a number of suspect plants that could result in the aforementioned symptoms, but that in his opinion, it was likely to be a form of nightshade plant.

“When young, they are just a few dark green leaves which is probably not that much different to spinach. You’re harvesting all these leafy greens now at a very young age, sometimes it can be quite difficult [to identify],” Summerell said.

The scientist warned Australians that they should not search out the contaminated spinach products to get high off of. “People might be tempted to go out picking weeds thinking that they’ll get some sort of high [but] it’s really important to remember yes, there might be a hallucinogenic side to this, but there’s a whole lot of really horrible health issues,” he argued.

“Whether it’s a mushroom or whether it’s the sorts of weeds, if you don’t know what you’re eating, don’t eat it,” Summerell concluded.

Michael Coote, the chief executive of Ausveg, the leading vegetable industry body, attempted to reassure Australians that most spinach products were still safe, and that they should keep buying them.

“It is important to remember that there are only a small number of products with recall notices, and our food safety and retail sector is removing affected products as soon as there is a concern for people’s health,” Coote said.

This news and commentary by Jack Hadfield originally appeared on Valiant News.

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