An outbreak of E. coli has infected U.S. spinach supply

Once upon a time we could all breath easy. We could let our children and pets run free without a care in the world. Those times are over and spinach is to blame.
Spinach, once forced down our throats at the dinner table, is now being forced into the garbage because of spinach contaminated with E. coli bacteria. 171 people have been sickened by E. coli-contaminated spinach since Aug. 19. 93 people have been hospitalized. Two people have died from contaminated spinach.
Certain strains of E. coli cause food poisoning and dysentery symptoms. Kidney and intestinal problems are severe signs of E. coli infection. The bacteria are particularly deadly to small children and the elderly, generally people who have poor immune systems.
The Food and Drug Administration has identified spinach from Natural Selection Foods as one source of the outbreak. Natural Selection Foods has issued a recall of all of their fresh spinach with a “best used by” date between Aug. 17 and Oct. 1.
There is no more fresh spinach to be found in the cafeteria because Guilford reacted by “following the mandatory ban on fresh spinach,” wrote Mike Watts, Dining Services manager, in an e-mail. The ban will continue until the source of the outbreak is found and cleaned up.
Some students, such as sophomore Megan Feil had spinach as a key ingredient in their diets. “Last year, I ate a nothing but lettuce,” Feil said. “This year, I stepped up to spinach, but now I don’t want to get E. coli.”
Vital Akimana, a junior, said, “I want the spinach back.” He also feels that an alternative for spinach is needed. “You can’t just take away those nutrients spinach provided without giving a good supplement.”
Campus Life informed student’s parents about the lack of spinach by stating on the Parent Pipeline that dining services had pulled fresh spinach from the cafeteria.
Within the past month, 25 states have had spinach-related illness. North Carolina has not had any spinach-related sicknesses, but Virginia and Tennessee, North Carolina’s neighbors, have.
The FDA has identified California’s Salinas Valley as being one possible source of the outbreak. The Salinas Valley is known as America’s Salad Bowl due to intense agriculture dealing with lettuce, spinach and other ingredients found in salads.
Many students feel that Dining Services should bring out a larger variety of greens to replace the lost spinach. Jasmine Ashton, a sophomore, said, “I think they should add a bigger diversity of leafy greens besides iceberg lettuce and killer spinach.