The recent E. Coli breakout has restaurants operating scared, including here in Connecticut where several restaurants have eliminated the leafy green delight from menu items. The thought is a little concerning, to put it mildly. Spinach is a health staple that packs a whopping 20% of the recommended daily intake of iron in a 1 1/2 cup shredded portion.
Many news outlets are reporting a spinach shortage due to this problem.
“It was a pain in the butt to pull all the bags,” an area store manager said, adding that employees also put away breakfast sausage, salads and wraps containing spinach.
“Everything that possibly had spinach in it” was discarded or stored, said the manager, who insisted on anonymity because only corporate personnel were authorized to discuss the recall. “We like to be overly cautious.”
Federal health officials have linked prepackaged spinach distributed by Natural Selection Foods LLC throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico to the ongoing outbreak, which has killed one person and sickened nearly 100 others in 19 states. No foreign cases are known.
Although E. Coli can be killed if the spinach is thoroughly cooked (so says the FDA), it’s a wonder how this happened at all. Worse yet, how will we go indefinitely without spinach? No baby spinach, no cooked spinach, no palek paneer.
And worse yet, historically a scare like this could negatively impact availability and usage of spinach for far longer than this actually lasts. Remember mad cow disease? And remember how long people avoided beef both here in the US and abroad? I still hear people say that they avoid it for that reason and it’s been years.
So it could be a long time before spinach is readily available to the masses again. It could be a long time before spinach is an inexpensive option again. This could make other leafy greens like chard and kale surge in popularity. Who knows? Maybe even collard greens could rise in popularity. Wouldn’t that be something.
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