We're Scared Of Spinach

A recent survey by Rutgers University shows that September’s spinach recall has left consumers wary of leafy greens. From Forbes:

Plummeting spinach sales have also prompted the produce industry to seek federal oversight to assure buyers that fresh produce is safe.

“We need to be in front of this to maintain consumer confidence,” said Tom Stenzel, president of the United Fresh Produce Association, a leading trade group. “Consumers need to eat fresh produce and feel safe in their choices,” he said.

A new national survey to be released Monday by Rutgers University suggests that the broad recall could have lasting effects on spinach and other similar vegetables. As a result, consumers felt uncertain and threw away other bagged produce that was not affected by the recall.

Are you guys back to eating leafy greens? Bagged? Not bagged? —MEGHANN MARCO

Consumers Still Worries About e. Coli [Forbes]

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  1. B says:

    I never ate spinach much before, so this didn’t really affect me. I never stopped eating other leafy green vegetables.

  2. Metschick says:

    Yup, we’re back to eating all leafy green vegetables. Or in my case, pushing them around my plate, and then forcing them down.

  3. Matthew says:

    I was under the impression that it was always safe if you cooked it, which is almost the only way I eat spinach anyway.

  4. major disaster says:

    I eat lots of leafy greens, including spinach. Never stopped (except when they pulled it from stores, of course). The risk of dying or getting sick is extremely low, and it’s just not worth the energy to make myself crazy about it. I already have to scrutinize ingredient lists because of actual allergies that I know will make me sick – that’s enough to worry about.

  5. magdelane says:

    I missed my spinach, and for a while the bagged salad mixes that had contained spinach. I eat lots of fresh veggies, leafy greens taking up a large share of the crisper in the fridge… I think the greatest effect the recall had on me was the realization that farming is really, just another corporate business.
    What old time farmer would have turned a blind eye to the massive ‘retention pond’ of fecal matter just upstream of his irrigation source? Most small farmers I know would have been enraged by such a situation.

  6. pmm says:

    I’m wary of buying spinach now. I had a lovely hummus pita last week with spinach and it made me miss having it at home. I’m going to wait a little while longer before I start buying it in stores again…

  7. RandomHookup says:

    Scared of leafy greens? Nah, not since the paraquat outbreak of the late 70’s…

  8. etinterrapax says:

    I’m still buying it and still eating it. But I just realized my usual mix didn’t have spinach in it, so I’m probably on the first bag that does. So far, so good.

  9. Now that you mention it, I got into the habit of buying lettuce for my homemade burgers instead of my usual spinach leaves, and haven’t gotten back in the spinach groove yet.

  10. BMR says:

    granted you can’t do anything about the raw spinach you get at a restaurant, but at home this is not an issue because everyone washes their pre-bagged greens before eating them, right? even if it says, “ready to eat”, right?

    it amazed me during this scare that not once did i hear this sage advice – WASH YOUR GREENS!

  11. WindowSeat says:

    I’ve opted out of buying spinach at the store. I grow plenty of it in my garden and I’ve got about fifteen pounds of it in the freezer.

  12. missdona says:

    Totally missed it, couldn’t wait to get it back into our diets.

    I make some sort of spinach something just about every day.

  13. acambras says:

    BMR — washing your greens is good advice, but from what I understand, no amount of washing would have gotten rid of the contamination, which was systemic.

  14. yetiwisdom says:

    I love how the price of spinach has plummeted since the scare and the wife and I have been taking advantage of it. There has been a scare like this for virtually every type of food in the past 10 years and to stop eating something after the recall has happened and the hubub has died down seems paranoid to me, especially considering the massive volume of food moving through the marketplace.

    But, we’re both ex-foodservice and we prepare our food carefully and clean produce thoroughly. We never heed the labels stating that whatever produce has been “thoroughly washed!” – we always was it ourselves.

  15. brilliantmistake says:

    I never stopped eating greens, and I never wash the “prewashed” bagged greens.

  16. isadora says:

    Ooh, this post makes me want to make my cranberry spinach salad. Yumm!

  17. I had spinach for lunch today. And I’ve eaten at Taco Bell in the past week. I figure the two balance each other out.

  18. NeonCat says:

    Popeye! Where’s Popeye now that the industry needs him!

    Who knew all Bluto had to do was take a crap upstream of a spinach farm…

  19. mathew says:

    We made a spinach lasagna at Christmas.

  20. ursonate says:

    I was surprised to discover a few weeks ago that the Chinese restaurant across the street from me was still convinced that spinach wasn’t safe to eat again yet. I eat it more now than ever.

  21. Josh Smith says:

    We have started eating more bagged greens since November, as part of a health kick so no. Though we don’t eat spinach so it didn’t affect us.

  22. lactaid says:

    I got caught up in the whole e. coli thing and trust me, it sucks. Stupid me with no insurance thought I could just sleep it off like typical food poisoning. By the time I realized what was happening the worst had passed. So, do I eat greens as much as I used to? Definitely not. I’m scared and scarred to wits end. BTW I bought the bagged orgainic kind. Maybe it was too organic…

  23. Kierst_thara says:

    I’ve been more or less off the bagged spinach since a couple summers ago when I found a dead moth in a bag that I’d bought. I wrote the company, and they sent me some coupons, but somehow bagged spinach just hasn’t been the same since then. Moths are my least favourite insect. Ick.

  24. Sudonum says:

    Randomhookup, I remember the paraquat problem like it was yesterday. I continued using leafy greens then, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to stop now. Long Live Paraquat Kelly!

  25. alhypo says:

    I don’t eat nearly as many greens as I should. That said, spinach is really the only option as lettuce has the tendency to… uh… well, back things up a bit.

    While getting sick is really unpleasant, the risk of death is almost nonexistent for healthy persons. Still, I would like it if they started irradiating products that are typically consumed raw.

  26. medalian1 says:

    I’m back to spinach … have been since they brought it back. Finding it on the shelves is a lot harder now though :(

  27. Little Miss Moneybags says:

    I just bought my first bag of bagged spinach since the recall. This isn’t unusual, as I only buy a few bags a year. Interestingly, I got food poisoning the day after buying the spinach–but I haven’t even opened the bag yet! Should I be asking someone for compensation? ;)

    I also ate at Taco Bell during and after their e.coli scare, and truthfully I really miss their green onions. Any word on when they’re coming back?

  28. GenXCub says:

    As soon as Sweet Tomatoes (Souplantation for others) got their spinach back at their salad bar, I said a prayer. I love making spinach salads.

  29. DearEditor says:

    RoadDave follows the trail from the field to the top of your taco:

    http://road-dave.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!15F30E7F138DBB88

    His thesis: as long as we’re OK with substandard wages and working conditions for food industry workers, we’ll always have a potential for poisons on our plate. Enjoy that tasty Kharma, it’s very affordable.