Bonnie Taub-Dix with the American Dietetic Association says, "It might slow down the consumption of raw vegetables. You expect your vegetables to be clean. You certainly don't expect a dangerous animal-borne pathogen in them." Ms. Dix even said that some of her clients in New York City -- where she is a registered dietician -- have stopped buying prepackaged salads, and others are even skipping over salads more often.
With the shortage of nutrition intake that is vegetable-based in the American diet, Dix thinks this recent bagged spinach e coli outbreak may be hurtful. Already, Americans are deficient in their daily vegetable intake -- American adults eat an average of 3.6 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, while the recommendation of five or more servings of fruits and vegetables is more appropriate according to the Produce for Better Health Foundation.
Although spinach is at the bottom of the top-20 vegetable list in the U.S., more popular vegetables like potatoes, head lettuce, tomatoes and onions are still not consumed in enough daily quantities for most Americans according to the Product for Better Health Foundation. Professor Nestle -- in response to concerns about possible contamination in bagged produce -- added that those who are concerned about food safety should make sure they cook their vegetables and wash salad greens thoroughly -- even those found in bagged salads.
But, not everyone was convinced of the real-world detriments to eating fresh vegetables based on the recent spinach scare. "The FDA's scare tactics on spinach were blown way out of proportion," said Mike Adams, a nutritionist and frequent critic of the FDA. "But it was a boon for makers of processed foods and junk foods, all of which are essentially 'dead foods' that harbor no life and offer virtually no nutrition," Adams said.
Adams added that "the long-term harm caused by scaring people away from spinach and salad greens will be enormous," Adams added. "Spinach is as excellent source of lutein, beta carotene and vitamin K, among other important nutrients."
Adams is the author of the "Healing Food Reference" guide, which can be found at HealingFoodReference.com.