Stores Pull Spinach Off Shelves

By: Venton Blandin
By: Venton Blandin

September 15, 2006

Consumers are on high alert after an E. Coli outbreak spreads across the nation affecting dozens of people.

I'm a little disappointed because it's my favorite lettuce, but I think I deal with the iceberg until it gets fixed," said spinach lover Alice Simpkens.

Alice Simpkens said she eats spinach at least five times a week. The spinach lover may have to deal with a lettuce alternative longer than she thinks. Federal officials believe fresh spinach is the source of a serious E. Coli outbreak that has killed at least one person and made 50 others sick.

"The FDA right now is recommending that people not used bagged spinach. It is possible that you could cook it, but we are advising not to wash it," said Environmental Health Supervisor Eric Myers.

Eric Myers says not to wash it because it should be thrown away altogether. The E. Coli virus is not common, but it is important for people to have control measures in place. They apply for almost anything you eat to protect from contracting E. Coli.

"People should do things like cook ground beef thoroughly, wash their hands well after handling any raw meat, and used pasteurized products. Juices, cheeses, and things like that to help," added Myers.

The Food and Drug Administration only warns against bagged spinach, but local grocery stores are pulling both bagged and loose spinach from the shelves. It's even being pulled from salad bars.

"I think I am quite concerned about that, so I will try to avoid eating salad when I go out, and start eating sandwiches instead," added Simpkens.

The FDA says it may take some time to find out the exact details and the source of the food poisoning which spans ten states.

Experts say contamination for bagged spinach most likely starts at the source through the water or from ground.

Most of the spinach crop at this time of year comes from California.

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