Friday, September 15, 2006

E. Coli on spinach: washing does not remove it

Eating tonight at a restaurant in Pennsylvania, we noted that both spinach and mesclun salads had vanished.

FDA officials have noted that bagged spinach — the triple-washed, cello-packed kind sold by the hundreds of millions of pounds each year — is the suspected source of the E. Coli bacterial outbreak. By September 15, the outbreak had grown to include at least 20 states: California, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"If you wash it [spinach], it is not going to get rid of it," said Robert Brackett, director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Nutrition.

A spokesperson for the National Restaurant Association said Sept. 15 that some restaurants are already pulling items containing spinach from their menus, including mesclun mix salads, consistent with our own observation at dinner on Sept 15.

According to Philadelphia NBC10, the FBI has identified spinach from Natural Selection Foods as contaminated. This may be marketed under Rave and Dole brands.


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