Saturday, September 16, 2006
Dr. David Acheson of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition advised consumers to avoid bagged spinach, although he noted that thorough cooking killed the bacteria.
Washing the spinach, however, isn't sufficient, said Jeff LeJeune, an E. coli researcher at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster Township. The cause of E. coli contaminations on raw vegetables isn't yet known, LeJeune said, and it's possible the bacteria may be in the vegetables instead of on the surface.
In the vegetables? At first glance that doesn't make sense. E. coli is a human pathogen, not a plant pathogen, but it turns out that the little bug can cooperate with plant pathogens to infect plants as well as humans.
The CDC has some advice on preventing the human variety of infection:
E. coli O157 is highly susceptible to heat. For example, E. coli strains in water are killed after 1 minute of boiling. Cooking vegetables well will kill E. coli. Ideally, food that will be consumed without cooking should be safe to eat. However, bacteria stick to produce even when it is washed, and sometimes the bacteria are inside the produce. These are some things consumers can do to protect themselves from bacteria in produce consumed without cooking:
Wash produce with clean cool running water just before eating and cut away damaged areas. (Firm produce can also be scrubbed with a brush.)
Peel fruits and remove the outer leaves of leafy vegetables.
Refrigerate cut produce
Wash hands before handling food and in between handling different types of food
Avoid cross-contamination – use a different knife and cutting board for meat and produce.
Avoid drinking unpasteurized juice.
And don't eat bagged spinach from a Natural Selection Foods.
More about E. coli here.
And look at this, there's already a spinach lawsuit:
The Seattle law firm has represented more than 1,000 E-coli victims since 1993.
I never knew lawyers were so specialized.
posted by Sydney on 9/16/2006 10:47:00 PM 1 comments
Spinach maybe the tip of the iceberg. When they discover who the grower that is responsible what is the FDA going to do about it.
By 9:26 PM, at