Asheville Homes and LAND!- The Keep In Touch Blog

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Local Green Veggies

While we are on the subject of Greens...

Read on October 1st, 2006  

The Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday that the E. coli outbreak that involved 187 cases of illnessincluding one death, 29 cases of Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) and 97 hospitalizations was caused by tainted spinach produced by Natural Selection Foods LLC of San Juan Bautista, California. Natural Selection and other four companies that distribute spinach from Natural Selection have recalled the spinach tainted with E. coli. The FDA said spinach in stores is now safe to eat, news media reported.” 

The nine bags of baby spinach now linked by DNA testing to the national E. coli outbreak all held conventional rather than organic produce and all were sold under the Dole label, state health officials said Thursday.”

 Since I am a big fan of spinach salad (AKA raw spinach with some dressing and maybe almond slivers) this news sent up red-flags for me. ..especially since I have been writing about plants that can be toxic this week. I decided to do some investigating..always good to do your "due diligence", eh? SO this is what I discovered:

Factory farms generate some 500 million tons of manure annually!! and routinely apply the liquid manure waste on land where crops grow. Waste then runs off fields into nearby streams or seeps into underground water supplies. Pollution of the water with viruses, bacteria, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and excessive nutrients results.

Right about now I am about ready to give up spinach salad on a semi-permanent basis.

A Word from the EPA.

I checked in with the EPA and found that this organization estimates that pathogens, such as E. coli,are responsible for 35 percent of the nation's impaired river and stream miles, and factory farms are common pathogen sources….a fact to be considered in relationship to the case of the 2006 E. coli contamination of spinach…

This discovery leads me to  wonder what REALTORS who are Land Specialists in rural/agricultural areas need to know when it comes to Material Facts...I decide to check in with the Center for Disease Control to see what they have to say...

A Word from the CDC:

Eating meat, especially ground beef, that has not been cooked sufficiently to kill E. coli can cause infection. Contaminated meat looks and smells normal. The number of organisms required to cause disease is VERY (caps are mine) small. Among other known sources of infection are consumption of sprouts, lettuce, spinach, salami, unpasteurized milk and juice, and by swimming in or drinking sewage-contaminated water.

What's a mother to do? Live on love alone? Better figure out how to de-contaminate what we put on our tables.Back to the CDC and a few other sources for remedies:

 Eliminate the Meanies!

1. E. coli in spinach can be killed by cooking at 160° Fahrenheit for 15 seconds.
(Water boils at 212° Fahrenheit.)

2. If spinach is cooked in a frying pan, and all parts do not reach 160° Fahrenheit, all bacteria may not be killed.AND BE CAREFUL.... do NOT allow raw spinach to contaminate other foods
and food contact surfaces.. WASH YOUR HANDS, utensils, and surfaces with
hot, soapy water before and after handling the spinach.

 Enough, Already!  I made a serious visit to my old pal, "Granny Ferguson" at her farm out be Leicester
to find out more...and get some good advice

A Word from Granny Fergie:

"Honey, " she told me, " when you come on out here to get your greens [ local food ] just keep your eggs in one basket ,and your poultry in another, and your greens in another  that way they will stay who they are.

" And scrub your sink and counters down with a dash of bleach in a jug of water. And wash your dish rags and sponges in hot water, too ...every single week...and every single week  toss out stuff from your ice box that looks "iffy"...And when you get home with this SPINACH..remember those little bugs [bacteria] are sticky..so just wash the spinach under running water...and the lettuce,too...take off the outer layer of leaves..."

OK..I'm going over to the new little French Restaurant that just opened in downtown Asheville. I could use some candlelight and pastries...and a little poetry...

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