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Fresh, Bagged Spinach & E Coli - THROW IT AWAY

E Coli outbreaks are being traced to fresh, bagged spinach. If you have any at home, throw it away! Naturally, I ate some last night.

Article below.


Fri. Sep 15, 7:27am

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I was going to start a thread on this today. My fiance and I are being tested for E. coli, because we've been sick with stomach pain and severe diarrhoea for about two weeks now. It's not fun! We eat lots of spinach. Will be tossing the rest of our bagged spinach tonight!

Friday, September 15, 2006, 8:41 AM

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maybe wash it when you're using it fresh? Still more convenient...

Friday, September 15, 2006, 11:01 AM

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you cannot wash off e-coli. you can opt to cook the spinach, but...

Friday, September 15, 2006, 11:03 AM

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okay sorry, this sounds more serious than I thought, and apparently they are saying you can't wash off the E. coli (why? does it get into the cut ends?) -- so we should toss it.
But what am I going to do from now on? Bagged spinach and bagged salads are the backbone of my healthy eating strategy!
Anyone know how much cooking makes it safe? I can't imagine it would live through stir-frying, but I also like to microwave spinach melts...

Friday, September 15, 2006, 12:08 PM

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may i suggest that you substitute your spinach with kale or arugula or turnip/beet greens for a few days? and you could buy heads of lettuces and tear them and mix them and put the torn lettuce mix into your own baggie for a few days? i did not hear, however, that bagged lettuce was also posing a problem...

Friday, September 15, 2006, 12:12 PM

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actually, the word out now is that even cooking may not rid the tainted spinach of ecoli. see link to cnn report on subject below.


Friday, September 15, 2006, 12:19 PM

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I try to avoid pre-packaged veggies whenever I can.

Now is the time of year when you can get spinach, collards, kale, and other dark leafy greens from farmers markets. Less handled, fresher, supportive of locally grown agriculture, and totally nutritious. PLUS, no E. Coli warnings!

Friday, September 15, 2006, 12:29 PM

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But collard greens aren't good raw, are they?

Friday, September 15, 2006, 1:09 PM

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very good site with lots of info on dark, leafy greens and how to best prepare them...


Friday, September 15, 2006, 1:11 PM

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son of a b*#&%!

I JUST finished eating a huge salad made with packaged fresh spinach! And I have a bunch left in my fridge.
Now, if what I just ate doesn't make me sick, can I assume that the rest won't make me sick either? I had already eaten the first half of the package earlier this week, and I've been feeling fine.
Dammit. Healthy food (like spinach!) should not cause people to be scared!

(I'm not freaking out as much as it sounds, but I am a bit annoyed.) : )

Friday, September 15, 2006, 3:11 PM

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I wouldn't assume anything....throw out the rest of the you really want to take a chance of getting really sick for a half bag of spinach?

Remember...when you assume you make an ass of u and me.......j/k

Friday, September 15, 2006, 4:06 PM

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love felix unger...

Friday, September 15, 2006, 4:15 PM

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So, I ate bagged spinach earlier in the week. At least I cooked it! But how long does it take to get sick if you are going to get sick? If I ate it 3 days ago and am fine, am I in the clear?

Friday, September 15, 2006, 5:16 PM

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You would typically get sick within 3-4 days (1-8 days is possible) - symptoms sooner than 24 hours would be unusual. The symptoms are abdominal cramps followed by diarreah (which can become bloody in severe cases - go to an emergency room). Sometimes symptoms include vomitting but most people don't run a fever. Anti-biotics do not help and can actually make things worse so the best course is to avoid contact with e coli altogether especially since there can be long term health issues if the initial symptoms are severe enough. If you do show symptoms start drinking lots of water.

If you ate some bagged spinach and you're fine it doesn't follow that you can eat the rest with no effect because e coli isn't evenly distributed which is why you could test a pound of meat in one area and come out clean and within a few inches the meat is swarming with it. Cooking to an internal temperature of 155 degrees is the ONLY way to be sure. E coli is VERY contagious and is easily trasferred from surface to surface. This is why you wash you hands after using the lavatory and why you use seperate sutting boards for meats and veggies and why you wash veggies, etc.

It's easy to see how this can happen and what's more strange is why it doesn't happen more. Lots of fruits and veggies are imported straight from coutries like Mexico or Chile where water treatment is rudimentary or lacking and the water used in irrigation contains raw sewage (and likely E coli). Some produce goes straight from the fields into flats for shipping and some goes through processing plants where it is ostensibly washed before packaging but again the water quality is questionable is the processing plant is not in the US. Ironically it is outbreaks like this in our country which may be the biggest motivator for improved sanitary conditions in countries that produce veggies for US markets.

I usually rinse bagged spinach anyway but I will not be buying bagged anytime soon. Thanks for the warning.

Friday, September 15, 2006, 6:13 PM

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link says 7 days. I guess a lot of people are going to be waiting to see if they get ill!


Friday, September 15, 2006, 6:21 PM

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OK.... hubby has been ill for like 2 weeks now with diarrhea. He has had fresh spinach salad at least 2 times in the last few weeks. All I can find on the internet about it is that you get bloody stools - he hasn't had that. He's feeling a little better but still not 100% and still abdominal issues. Do you guys think he needs to get tested? What do they do for testing? Would it still be in his system days after he ate it?

Friday, September 15, 2006, 7:50 PM

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to those who say they "never"buy bagged vegetables, or to buy substitutes for spinach, or to buy from local farmers, blah, blah, blah, guess what, it's ALL picked by laborers, whether it's organic, or not, spinach or not. Anyone can pass this along, and it doesn't have to "just" come from mexican/latin american farms. you should always wash whatever you eat, and don't be naive about it. Contamination can come in anywhere along the chain before it gets to you. My favorite is babies in shopping carts, there's their germy butt all over the cart, and you put your vegetables in it next - think they won't get contaminated?

Friday, September 15, 2006, 9:13 PM

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6:13pm poster

thanks for the extra info! i appreciate it.

Friday, September 15, 2006, 10:10 PM

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This is a bummer! I eat fresh spinach with everything. Fact is, I've had it at least 3-4 days this week. YIKES!!! Guess I'll be keeping an eye out for scary symptoms. Thanks to everyone for the warning and all the extra info about e coli.

Saturday, September 16, 2006, 1:10 AM

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9:13pm poster

thanks for the extra info! i appreciate it.

Saturday, September 16, 2006, 9:42 AM

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To the poster with the sick boyfriend,
I would absolutely have him go to the doctor! E. coli is nothng to fool around with and can kill people. Not only has he been in contact with a known contamnate but is also showing symptoms.
And everyone else,
A few days or weeks with out bagged spinach isn't the end of the world. My guess is that it will be less than a week before they sound the ok and the stores will be restocked with fresh, clean bags of the veggies! :)

Saturday, September 16, 2006, 11:12 AM

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FYI - "bloody stool"

When people hear that they imagine -- well, let's just say lots of "red". But actually it can just look darker brown. Nice to know if you're ever asked about that by a doctor (it can affect your diagnosis and treatment -- really screwed up a friend of mine bc they wrongly eliminated the idea of bacterial infection when he said no)

Saturday, September 16, 2006, 6:10 PM

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