Popeye’s Tears

Popeye is off somewhere, cryin’ in his beer. (Does he even drink beer? Maybe not.)

OK, it’s no joking matter, it’s true. But sometimes it’s way better to laugh and leave the crying to Popeye. Here’s why: E. coli is very bad. But when we think of it -- if we think of it at all -- we mostly associate it with big, nasty pieces of meat. Like porterhouse steak. Or rare hamburger.

But... spinach? There’s no vegetable more innocent, more unassuming. Spinach is no one’s idea of a guilty pleasure. In fact, it’s what a lot of us eat when we’re compensating for guilty pleasure. Spinach is light and green and pure. Honestly, I can’t get enough of the stuff. I eat it by the bale. Except, I guess, for the next little while. There’s been no word of E. coli outbreaks in my area but, heck: that was true in a lot of areas even yesterday.

Now understand, we’re not talking about some low grade spinach sold at discount stores and on streetcorners. According to Forbes, the tainted spinach this time around has been traced to an outfit called Natural Selection Foods, which sounds pretty chipper, right? And they sold it to a lot of the kind of places where I might buy my spinach. Or you might buy yours. Forbes says Natural Selection sold the spinach “under the brand names Rave Spinach, Natural Selection Foods, Dole, Earthbound Farm, Trader Joe's, Ready Pac and Green Harvest.” I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten some of those.

It’s probably just because I’m not wise in the ways of E. coli, but I’m not sure how this could have happened. ABC News says “there's little a person can do to clean lettuce or spinach that has been contaminated with E. coli. The FDA says it's not enough to wash or even cook vegetables if they've been contaminated. The only effective preventive measure is to discard produce that fits the established profile.”

So, OK: toss the spinach. But then, how is it that, when it was E. coli-tainted beef everyone was so worried about, we were told to cook it all the way through? And, honestly? I can’t eat beef that’s well done. Not even hamburger. I just can’t stomach the stuff. So what did I do instead of cooking it all the way through? You guessed it: I ate spinach.

Popeye must be crying in his beer. While having a (well done) hamburger with Wimpy. What else can he do?


Popular Posts