Tuesday, September 26, 2006


(an image of E. coli O157:H7)

For a while now, I've had a simmering resentment I can't put my finger on about this whole spinach/E. coli recall thing. What can it be? Let's see...

Tons of spinach and mesclun mix, much of it organic, getting tossed into the trash.

An air of bad publicity and suspicion surrounding spinach that might not be gone for years.

FACT: E. coli O157:H7, the strain associated with the latest spinach recall can be killed by cooking at 160 degrees for 15 seconds (Source: New York Times 9/20/2006)

FACT: The FDA's own words: "
E. coli O157:H7 is easily destroyed by thorough cooking." (Source: Well, when you search "beef safety" on the FDA website, you mysteriously get transported to the USDA beef "fact" sheet http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Beef_from_Farm_to_Table/index.asp)

FACT: The FDA did not tell people to stop eating beef or to throw millions of dollars worth of it away a few years ago when there was an E. coli outbreak associated with tainted beef, merely to cook it more thoroughly

FACT: The FDA did tell people to stop eating spinach and to throw away all spinach, because it "wants to maintain a simple cosumer message" and "not confuse people by saying which circumstances are appropriate for eating uncooked spinach." (New York Times 9/20/2006)

FACT: eating spinach = good

FACT: eating beef = bad

FACT: Cattle lobby: rich, well connected, holds FDA in palm of hand

FACT: Spinach lobby: ???

So all this food is going to waste, when the problem could be taken care of by locating the source of the outbreak and in the meantime, buying locally grown spinach from trusted farmers and cooking it well. Meanwhile, people are told that it is all right to go around eating beef which is the source of E. coli contamination because major lobbies such as the cattle lobby financially control the public health mechanisms in this country.

So go ahead Jimmy, eat that burger- just make sure there's no organic spinach on it!

= Evil...?


Judy said...

Wow...I never looked at it that way. Very enlightening.
Love the blog!

Harmonia said...

I have been pondering this since the reports came out. I just didn't have the stats, sources, and sourced facts...thank you!!! ;)

Not So Vivacious Vegan said...

What an insightful post. Every store I've gone to in the past couple of weeks has completely pulled spinach from their shelves. Sad.

Don't Get Mad Get Vegan! said...

I love this post. You rock for putting this out there.

And even tho I adore my spinach salads, I am going to shun spinach no longer and eat it cooked like I please!

Luckily for me, way out here in nowhereland? the spinach is still all over the shelves. wooohoo!

Theresa said...

lol at spinach lobby. You should start one. I've heard little snippets here and there about a spinach recall in the US, but luckily we're safe over here in Australia.

Yep, things are labelled much better over here too. I wasn't expecting it, but in the liquor store nearly every bottle of wine said "Processed with eggs, milk, and/or fish" in tiny print at the bottom. The ones that didn't were mostly brands that I'd recognized as vegan, so I think it's a sure thing... if it doesn't mention it, it's vegan here. The US really needs to follow suit.

KleoPatra said...

Wow, this is so what i need (what the general public needs!) to read. FACTS.

Thank you so much!!

Emmy said...

Great post Bazu!! I couldn't agree more.

Harmonia said...

Oh! I linked you, btw. Hope you don't mind!

Vicki said...

I really think you're on to something Bazu. This totally rings true & I wish more people could be exposed to these facts and ideas -- these thoughts would make a great "letter to the editor" in local newspapers. Thanks for connecting the dots.
Good idea, don't get mad, buy spinach anyway -- if people are buying it, you know they'll sell.

Urban Vegan said...

I have wondered if the e coli thing is a result of all the MANURE that is a by-product of factory farming, But the beef lobby has more $$ to spend on spin doctors than the spinach lobby.

trac said...

Thanks for the information - very enlightening. I think I am gonna head out and get me some spinach :-)

Anonymous said...

Great post!

EatPeacePlease said...

There's tons of beef everywhere... No spinach.

People give in to too much that they don't know about. Thanks for posting this!

Gaia said...

Wow, thank you for posting about this !
Very very interesting...

Candi said...

I love how you think!!!! What a great blog. It's so true with the beef issue. Yes, spinach has been tossed from everywhere out here!

There seems to be lots of money to protect the beef industry, and so many issues of meat contamination never make the mass media because of this. Makes you wonder!

Thanks for the great blog.