Food: Safe Spinach

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, September 21, 2006

The do-it-yourself antidote to E.coli has been in your kitchen all along.


We can say with confidence that human pathogens that would enter into the food supply can be inactivated by most standard cooking procedures.


UC-Davis microbiologist Glenn Young is not advocating using spinach until the cause of last week’s E. coli outbreak is determined. But it turns out that boiling, steaming and sautéing are examples of immutable laws of science.


All living cells have a temperature at which the essential components can no longer function. And it happens in a way that’s irreversible. Cooking is the one technique that all consumers have available to them.


Current FDA bulletins say that E. coli IS destroyed if spinach is held at a minimum of 160 degrees for 15 seconds. Washing does not destroy E. coli. Young says there are other reasons to prefer spinach cooked.

Cooking doesn’t diminish the essential quality of the food.


In fact, compared to raw spinach, cooked spinach is HIGHER in iron, fiber, beta carotene and Vitamins A, B-6 and K. But until inspectors solve the current E. coli outbreak and it returns to stores, raw spinach remains off limits..