Spinach uproar: Cooking WILL kill the bacteria

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Spinach uproar: Cooking WILL kill the bacteria

Postby Robin Garr » Mon Sep 18, 2006 6:34 pm

I know this has been stated here before, but in the light of the growing hysteria it bears repeating: The US Food & Drug Administration <i>clearly</i> states that cooking spinach eliminates all e. coli threat, and you don't even need to cook it for long.

Here's an except and a link to the FDA's e. coli FAQ page, which is informative about this and a lot of other questions, too:

<i><b>Can people cook the fresh spinach or salad blends containing fresh spinach?</b>

As stated above, the FDA is currently recommending that the public not consume fresh (uncooked) spinach or salad blends containing fresh spinach. However, E. coli O157:H7 in spinach can be killed by cooking at 160 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds. If consumers choose to cook the spinach they should follow these cooking instructions and also remember to take steps to avoid cross-contamination of the fresh spinach with other foods and food contact surfaces and to wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling the spinach. </i>

Nationwide E. Coli O157:H7 Outbreak: Questions & Answers

That being said, if I ran a restaurant, or was a lawyer retained by a restaurant to protect it against risk, I'd probably err on the side of caution and pull it from the menu until this blows over.

But I honestly would not hesitate to eat cooked spinach, at home or outside.
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Re: Spinach uproar: Cooking WILL kill the bacteria

Postby ChefCarey » Mon Sep 18, 2006 6:54 pm

Spinach is a vegetable which gets a lot of use here at my school - both cooked and raw. We got lucky last week. We had a raw spinach salad on our menu last Tuesday. The news hadn't broken yet. When it did, I was a little worried when I saw organic spinach listed as the villain. We usually get our bagged spinach at Sam's Club or Costco. The Sam's club stuff is organic - that's what we had. So, I was glad to see the organics vindicated.
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Re: Spinach uproar: Cooking WILL kill the bacteria

Postby Covert » Mon Sep 18, 2006 8:42 pm

Robin Garr wrote:I know this has been stated here before, but in the light of the growing hysteria it bears repeating: The US Food & Drug Administration <i>clearly</i> states that cooking spinach eliminates all e. coli threat, and you don't even need to cook it for long.


I was just going to post the same thing until I saw that you already did.

I mean the entire industry is shut down because in America nobody is expected to take an iota of responsibility for their own lives. They are not expected to learn or know anything. They must be protected from having to think. We will use tax dollars to send out teams to search through thousands of acres of ruined spinach just to find where someone dumped some crap. Then, like at the end of a scary movie, the children can go to bed feeling safe that the monster was caught by the hero government.

I will of course keep eating it, too, if I can find any.
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Re: Spinach uproar: Cooking WILL kill the bacteria

Postby Bob Ross » Tue Sep 19, 2006 2:25 pm

A couple of points, Covert:

1. It's a very difficult process to track down the source of contamination, involving DnA testing of the specimens and interviewing people who get sick to see if they have common sources of food. Lots of leg work is involved.

2. There was an e coli scare several years ago involving apple juice; after several months of investigation the cause was nailed down to one manufacturer and a couple of poor steps in the manufacturing process. The FDA has a good report on the whole matter on their Legal Matters page.

I was struck by the sentence in this summary that indicated after all of the investigations, the actual source was never identified -- there are three leading theories:

The apples used to make the juice were contaminated with animal fecal material.

The wooden crates used to ship the apples were contaminated.

Odwalla employees failed to wash their hands properly after using the bathroom and before returning to production areas.


Regards, Bob
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Re: Spinach uproar: Cooking WILL kill the bacteria

Postby Hoke » Tue Sep 19, 2006 2:37 pm

Bob: That was a thoughtless reply to Covert. For shame, for shame.

Now he has to go out to find (and eat) some apples infected with fecal material, some apples stored in infected wooden crates, and some apples handled by people who didn't wash their hands after using the bathroom.

The man has a life, you know. He's already busy looking for bad spinach, for goodness sake! Give him a break, huh?
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Re: Spinach uproar: Cooking WILL kill the bacteria

Postby Bob Ross » Tue Sep 19, 2006 2:53 pm

Oh, Hoke, the one thing I admire most about you is how you rise up to defend the oppressed at every opportunity.

Keep watching for my byline -- you'll find much more to tch tch about. :-)

Regards, Bob [off to find another dragon to unleash on the unwary]
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Re: Spinach uproar: Cooking WILL kill the bacteria

Postby Hoke » Tue Sep 19, 2006 5:36 pm

Well, you know what Neil Young says: "Ross never sleeps!"
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