Monday, September 18, 2006

Who Crapped In My Spinach???

     I told my mother when I was a youngster that those green vegetables might kill me...hmmpf...NOW I have proof.  Somebody crapped in my spinach!

     OK, that's not exactly accurate, but I DO like the way it sounds.  Nobody personally defecated in my spinach.  No one probably "let loose" in the spinach crops in California either.  But somehow an entire crop of spinach from farms in California has been recalled because of an outbreak of E. coli lurking on the green leaves.  And our government (AKA the FDA, who has done such a remarkable job keeping our food sources safe...yeah right!  Think Mad Cow Disease...think E. coli outbreak in the 90's at Jack In The Box...think...) has issued a recall of ALL the packaged spinach on the store shelves in America...one just can't be too safe, ya know.

     I just tossed out my $5.00 bag of packaged spinach...it wasn't from the Natural Selection Foods Processing Company, which is being blamed for the E. coli outbreak...or at least I don't "think" it was from there!  Here's a snippet of the national news just in case you might be reading this blog and munching down on a nice, healthy, green salad:

LOS ANGELES (Sept. 17) - Federal agents from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention intervened this weekend to help investigate an E. coli outbreak tied to tainted spinach from California's Central Valley.

The greens, which appear to be grown by the world's largest producer of organic produce, have sickened 102 people, including the death of a 77-year-old woman, according to health officials.

CDC officials said Sunday they've started an Atlanta-based emergency operations center to help state health agencies with E. coli testing. Epidemiologists are helping test spinach samples and stool samples of those who have been infected, center spokeswoman Lola Russell said.

The center is helping when state health agencies can't perform the tests or when a second opinion is needed, Russell said.

E. coli cases linked to tainted spinach have been reported in 19 states, with a majority of cases in Wisconsin.

Other states reporting cases were California, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming, according to the CDC.

Connecticut health officials have reported two cases of E. coli in the state, with one person having recovered and another continuing to recover.

A spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Public Health, has said the two cases match the strain of E. coli found in other parts of the country, but he wasn't sure whether they are associated with the outbreak. State officials are investigating.

The Food and Drug Administration continued to warn consumers not to eat fresh spinach or fresh spinach-containing products until further notice.

Natural Selection Foods LLC recalled its packaged spinach throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico as a precaution after federal health officials said some of those hospitalized reported eating brands of prepackaged spinach distributed by the company.

However, some restaurants and retailers may be taking spinach out of bags before selling it, so consumers shouldn't buy it at all, the FDA said.

Boiling contaminated spinach can kill the bacteria but washing won't eliminate it, the CDC warned.

"We're still in the process of alerting people of the fact that they need to check the refrigerator," Russell said.

The spinach could have been contaminated in the field or during processing. About 74 percent of the fresh market spinach grown in the U.S. comes from California, according to the California Farm Bureau Federation.

There have been previous bacterial contamination outbreaks linked to spinach and lettuce grown in the state.

Federal officials stressed that the bacteria had not been isolated in products sold by Natural Selection Foods, based in San Juan Bautista, Calif., and known for Earthbound Farm and other brands. As the investigation continues, other brands may be implicated, officials said.

Natural Selection officials could not be immediately reached for comment on Sunday.

The company was founded in 1984 by Drew and Myra Goodman. Within two years, Earthbound Farm began shipping pre-washed, packaged salad fixings, and the company's "spring mix" became a mainstay of restaurants and supermarkets.

      So much for healthy eating, eh?  I have a friend who would argue the fact "if the vegetable came in a package, it's not healthy".  She fully believes all of our foods should come "al naturel"...straight from the ground, tree, or hoof with no packaging needed... the less the food is handled by human hands before it hits the mouth, the better.

     I'd have to say in this case, she may be right...it looks like someone may not have washed their hands while on their potty break at the processing plant!!!

     (**Just to be certain you're not believing this theory, the E. Coli outbreak is more likely due to a tainted water or chemical source...perhaps even soiled machinery...but NOT from an uncouth wiper**) 

1 comment:

mdmhvonpa said...

Actually, someone DID do exactly what you suspect.  The problem is that many organic farmers like to use human and animal fecal matter as fertilizer.  If you use it too late (when the plants are already germinated) you will get contamination.  Poop flingers (not the primate variety) are common in use for rural areas near dairy farms.  It's gross, but effective.