E. Coli Outbreak Sends Long-Lasting Ripples Through Spinach Industry

Filed under: Business — @ October 2, 2006

With the dust settling from the E. coli outbreak, will you be buying spinach?

Okay, it’s all clear now. There’s no need to panic any longer. The outbreak has been contained and spinach is now okay to be consumed.

That’s the message in this Reuters story about the recent E. coli spinach scare that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wanted to communicate on Friday.

You will recall the nationwide uproar that hit in mid-September when E. coli was discovered in spinach in eight states with 50 people sick and one dead. In the two weeks since, the number of states involved has increased to 26 with 97 hospitalized and three total presumed dead because of the outbreak.

If you have tried to purchase spinach over the past couple of weeks, you probably couldn’t because there was a total recall of all fresh spinach products in grocery stores and restaurants all across this country. But with the FDA declaring spinach to be safe for consumption again, spinach is expected to return to shelves and on salad bars at your favorite restaurants again within a week or so.

I went shopping at my local grocery store earlier today and the bagged greens section looked pretty skimpy still. Then we went out to dinner at a restaurant tonight and I overheard a server tell a customer that they would not be able to have a certain menu item because it’s got spinach in it and they’re not serving spinach right now.

Since this was first announced, I’ve personally avoided eating spinach (obviously!) and even salad greens for the most part until this outbreak with E. coli passed. It was a decision I could most certainly live with and don’t regret one bit.

But what now? What will be the long-term fallout from this E. coli spinach scare? Will people feel comfortable eating spinach again despite the assurances from the FDA that everything is fine? Maybe, but the concern may not be over just yet.

Click here to read why the FDA is really not so sure of the safety of spinach and other leafy greens and how this is going to impact the future of that industry. Also read what this low-carber is doing about vegetable consumption as part of his low-carb lifestyle in light of this E. coli outbreak.


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