September 16, 2007

spinach strategy

Bunches of fresh spinach, not pre-washed or packaged.

It's been about a year since the major spinach recalls due to E.coli

A few weeks ago, there was another bit of a scare as growers pulled spinach off the shelves after finding salmonella. No one was hurt, but it had me wondering about how to buy safe spinach. Spinach obviously has many great nutrients (including vitamin A, folate, vitamin K, potassium and iron). I'd love to be able to use it without worry.

Today at the grocery store I asked the produce expert if it was safer to buy spinach that wasn't pre-washed and in those plastic boxes or bags. He kindly told me that the bulk, loose spinach at this particular store is also from the same types of bags (only much larger) and the store simply opens them for customers to scoop their own quantity.

He suggested it might be safer to buy the spinach that is sold in bunches, since it is not pre-washed and comes from a local grower. I would imagine buying a similar product at a local farmers market would be good, too.

Remember, I'm no scientist or expert, but this is the information I gathered today and I'm going with it until further notice. Bunches of fresh, local spinach, not pre-washed, over packages of pre-washed spinach.

This bulk spinach has actually been pre-washed and was delivered to the store in a big package.


Anonymous said...

I think the problem with the pre-packaged greens is that consumers get complacent about washing off the dirt and bacteria, even though it says "triple washed."

Another solution - grow your own if you are able :-)

Anonymous said...

My vote is for farmer's market and pre-bunched. The more a product is handled (i.e., washed, triple washed, chopped, bagged, frozen, etc.) by more people or machines, the greater the chance of contamination.

Gift of Green said...

Interesting factoid! What about frozen spinich? I know it's not "fresh" but what about the process of freezing it makes it safe from E. coli. MGG: You are now The Spinach Expert.