Sunday, October 08, 2006

Living dangerously during the spinach scare

Friday's moon hit the eye like a big pizza pie, inspiring our spinach-and-garlic-topped feast.

I was satisfied with dipping tortilla chips in garlic hummus, but it was dinnertime and he wanted something more substantial. Earlier, we'd discussed getting pizza.

"How about spinach and garlic?" he asked. "Or maybe not. Do you think it's safe to eat spinach pizza?"

His selection should not have surprised me. He'd just downloaded Popeye's picture from my recent spinach postings, and the TV news report we watched together about the third tainted spinach victim noted those most vulnerable were young children and the elderly. We are neither, and what's more, we're robustly healthy. Fools we aren't, but neither are we paralyzed by fears of living dangerously.

Although I thought FDA's lifting of its consumer warning for spinach last week was premature, I trusted spinach pizza would be safe. It's baked at 400 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter than the temperature recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

E. coli O157:H7 in spinach can be killed by cooking at 160° Fahrenheit for 15 seconds. (Water boils at 212° Fahrenheit.) If spinach is cooked in a frying pan, and all parts do not reach 160° Fahrenheit, all bacteria may not be killed.

SOURCE: CDC E. coli Outbreak From Spinach - Update: Oct. 6, 2006 CDC Foodborne and Diarrheal Diseases Branch (10/06/2006)
Our spinach pie was fragrant, tasty, and loaded with garlic. (Perfect for repelling vampires.) Best of all, we lived to tell the tale. ###