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Reader Question: What about Organic Spinach?

Tim asks: I bought some spinach a few days ago. Some from a local organic farmer and the rest from a national organic manufacturer. What are your thoughts? Are they safe to eat?

WLIR Responds: Well Tim, early reports highlighted that both organic and commercial spinach supplied by Natural Selection Foods was contaminated.  But more recent studies have found that only commercial / non-organic spinach is at the source of the e.coli outbreak.

One of the major labels that receives organic spinach from Natural Selection Foods is Earthbound Farms. A recent posting on Earthbound Farm's website confirms that their spinach is not linked to the outbreak, however the FDA is still recommending that consumers avoid eating spinach:

Based on our work with the US Food & Drug Administration and the California Department of Health Services, we have confirmed that no organic products of any kind, including Earthbound Farm spinach or other products, have been linked to this outbreak at this time.

So far organic spinach looks like its in the clear. We'd probably get sued if we told you to eat it, so we won't. Rather, use your judgment and stay safe. Our editors hate spinach anyway, so we'd probably use this as an excuse to throw it out! ; )

We would recommend, however, staying away from all spinach (both organic and commercial) from national groceries such as Acme, Safeway, Super Fresh, Shoprite, Walmart and so on. Getting organic produce from your local co-op vs getting organic produce at a national grocery, (minus Whole Foods) is not the same thing.

Good luck Tim and keep eating those greens, but maybe a nice kale salad instead.




WAIT A MINUTE!!!! The "WLIR" Editors hate spinach??? What kind of raw foodies *are* you? Isn't there a law against that? That would be like a carnivore not liking chicken.

It's not the liverwurst of veggies...that's zucchini.

I don't understand why spinach would be at any more risk of getting contaminated then any other greens. Any food can get contaminated. Other lettuces have been contaminated in the past. As have tomatoes, cabbage, melons and other produce. It's not limited to spinach, so really there is no reason that it is a bigger risk then anything else and should be avoided forever. However, for now on I will avoid the bagged lettuces. That is the perfect environment for that stuff to grow. And or course always buy organic from local farmers if possible, and make sure they do not use manure to grow their produce to be on the safe side.


I hope organic is OK. My local natural grocer told me it was fine.....feeling faint. LOL



Interesting points from the Garden Diet (www.thegardendiet.com) daily raw inspiration:

1. 73,000 people a year, roughly 200 people a day are affected by e. coli contamination from Beef.
2. Only 20 people have been affected by e. coli contamination from produce in the last 10 years.
3. Some news sources especially the AP are trying to make it sound like there have been 20 e. coli outbreaks from produce in the last five years. Their wording is very clever. You have to read carefully to see that it is only 20 individual cases. This is hardly worth mentioning when you consider that around 200 people a day are affected by e. coli from Beef.
4. However this is not all bad, as now farmers will be more careful to not wash produce with water that could be contaminated by cattle feces.
5. Don't buy produce from big farms that pre-package produce if you can buy from a farmer's market instead.
6. Don't buy from farms that have livestock. Small produce farmers at farmer's markets often just grow vegetables and fruits, and don't have animals.


I don't know, Emily. I try to eat a least a pound of beef a day, and in my 40 years, I've never gotten sick. You'd think the "200 people a day" thing would've caught up to me by now.

Truth is, most food produced in America is safe. There's always going to be an opportunity for contamination somewhere. Get off your high horses and have a cheeseburger. They're really good (eat it raw, if you must).

Frank J

I believe all raw foodists are intelligent... fact is your more likely to get hurt crossing the street, out in a lightning storm, near a bee hive, than from contamination of soil. Don't let the media hype up a bad story. Your food is safe and your immune system is strong! And remember who controls the media too.

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