The recent articles on E.Coli are waaaaay scary.
I am more scared about the leafy green vegetable aspect than the risk from eating meat.
Can I minimize my risk by cooking my spinach instead of eating it raw? Does that kill the bacteria?
— Dennise O’Grady
Bay Head, NJ
The particular strain of E.coli implicated in all these foodborne illness cases (E.coli 0157:H7) can be killed by cooking.
More specifically, infected spinach is rendered safe if it is cooked for at least 15 seconds at 160 degrees Fahrenheit or more.
However, one common mistake many people make is using the same knife they used to cut up infected spinach to chop raw vegetables for a salad.
In that case, even if the infected spinach is cooked for ten minutes at 300 degrees Fahrehnheit, those raw salad vegetables could very well be contaminated.
PS: I have read some very inaccurate reports which claim that dunking spinach in ice water for 30 minutes kills E.coli. It does not! Also, “veggie washes” do NOT kill E.coli!