Saturday, September 16, 2006

Anyone interested in a E. coli spinach salad?

I was invigorated and excited to begin a fall lifestyle change, after seeing The Oprah Winfrey Show on Friday, September 15th. It focused on Dr. Oz's "90-Day Live Longer, Feel Younger Plan". Something that I am certainly interested in. The plan mentioned certain superfoods, foods that can reverse the aging process and keep you healthy. One of the superfoods mentioned was spinach, packed with essential nutrients. The program followed a woman, who during the course of the 90 day plan, lost over 40 pounds and gained energy and self-esteem. This plan certainly sounded like a win-win to me, who doesn't want to look and feel better and younger.

You can imagine my disappointment then, when I watched the evening news that same day, and heard about the recall on E. coli-contaminated spinach. It appears that E. coli has been reported in 94 cases, in 19 states, and has killed one person. Washing won't get rid of the E. coli bacteria, so the spinach must simply be thrown away. Grocery stores across the nation are pulling all bagged spinach products off of their shelves, and throwing them away. So, there goes one superfood, down the trash!

Although, I was a bit bummed about our garden this summer, the more I thought about the news event, the more I was stirred to action. I must admit that in the busy society that we live in today, it is very convenient to be able to go to the local grocery store and pick up a bag of salad greens already washed and ready to eat. Yet, this does put us at the mercy of others for our food supply. I'm not saying that everyone go back to being farmers and grow everything that we eat, but in even small ways we can exercise some control over what we eat. I could easily grow a few of my own salad greens in a potted container, it doesn't take very much room to grow a few greens or herbs, ready to use at your convenience.

One of the issues that has come to the fore from this latest E. coli incident, is that manure should never be used as a fertilizer for produce consumed raw, like spinach, since E. coli can be spread through contamination by fecal material. I know people right in this area, who would not dream of planting without using manure as a fertilizer. So, this issue emphasizes the need to exercise care not only in what you are planting, but also what methods and products you use to fertilize and care for your garden.

Now that summer is over, and fall is here, I have some spinach to plant, along with other delicious vegetables to be enjoyed!


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