5 Things You Need to Know About Spinach

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1. To be safe, it's best not to eat any fresh spinach at all. On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration announced that consumers can eat fresh spinach as long as it's not from the three California counties — Monterey, San Benito and Santa Clara — implicated in the current E. coli outbreak. The problem is, there's no good way to tell where the spinach was grown since distributors get their produce from all over the country. Growers are currently working on a way to label or somehow indicate where spinach was grown to help consumers once the product returns to grocery store shelves.

2. Brands to avoid are Natural Selection Foods (San Juan Bautista, Cal.), River Ranch (Salinas, Cal.) and RLB Food Distributors (West Caldwell, N.J.), all of which have recalled their bagged spinach and spinach-containing salad mixes.

3. If you still can't do without your spinach, cook it. E. coli 0157 on fresh produce can be killed by heating at 160 F for at least 15 seconds.

4. So far, frozen spinach appears to be safe. It's been cooked, and is often cooked again after thawing, so should be unaffected by the current E. coli 0157 outbreak.

5. When fresh spinach returns to the shelves, wash it thoroughly before eating. It's not as good as cooking when it comes to killing bacteria, but a good dousing with water will remove a lot of bugs clinging to the leaves.