Friday, September 15, 2006

Drop that spinach!

Here's a news story that could affect you whether you're vegetarian or not -- and especially if you're Popeye.

One of the things I pretty much always have in my refrigerator is a bag of prewashed spinach. I use it to make salads, to put in wraps, to toss into a pan of scrambled eggs. It's healthy and super-convenient.

So it was particularly vexing and alarming when I read that the FDA is warning people not to eat fresh bagged spinach because of an outbreak of E. coli. So far there have been 50 cases in eight states, and one person has died. Most healthy people can fight off the bacteria, but it can cause kidney failure and death.

Reports seem to conflict over whether it would do any good to wash the spinach first -- so better safe than sorry, I'd say, and just not eat it until they can narrow down the cause. And to be on the safe side, it's best to go ahead and wash all of that bagged, prewashed produce. Yeah, it defeats some of the convenience aspect, but it's better than getting sick.

Some grocery stores are pulling spinach off their shelves, but others probably aren't aware of this FDA alert, so you might want to mention it to the produce manager if you're at the store.

It's disheartening to realize that we have to watch out for such healthy foods, too, but cases such as this also make me more convinced that we need to pay more attention to the foods we eat in general, develop safer food-production methods and grow more of our own food when possible.

2 Comments:

At 9/20/2006 10:38 AM, Blogger Andy said...

Instead of throwing it away, why not cook it? Does cooking not kill the bacteria? Seems such as waste when there are many great spinach recipes.

 
At 9/20/2006 1:26 PM, Blogger Cassandra said...

According to this article, cooking it at 160 degrees will kill the bacteria, but the FDA is still advising against relying on that. It certainly does seem a waste.

 

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