Spinach Information Available on New Website

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The spinach industry provides consumers with handling and preparation advice via a new web site as spinach returns to grocery stores.

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All spinach got a bad rap when, in reality, the cause for concern was very isolated. Consumers need to know they can trust the high-quality curly leaf spinach that is being sold at their favorite grocery store.

As the new year begins, a healthy, flavorful vegetable is making a comeback to grocery store produce departments, and a new web site is providing meal planners with everything they need to know when adding spinach to the menu.

The web site, curlyleafspinach.com, was created for consumers on the heels of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration recall of spinach in September, impacting the entire spinach industry. "Sales of all spinach have been affected. We hope the web site will reassure consumers and grocers that curly leaf spinach, when handled properly, is a nutritious, great-tasting addition to meals," said Jennifer Verdelli, spokeswoman for Verdelli Farms, Harrisburg, Penn.

Curly leaf spinach, also known as Savoy or semi-Savoy spinach, is grown in the East, Midwest, South, and Mountain States regions of the United States, and is placed in highly sophisticated, ice-packed, sanitized containers when it is harvested. The containers ensure the safety and quality of the product, and curly leaf spinach is available year-round to grocers and consumers across North America.

"It's unfortunate that the recall was so broad at first," said spinach grower Dondee Lindenborn of Pentagon Produce, Uvalde, Texas. "All spinach got a bad rap when, in reality, the cause for concern was very isolated. Consumers need to know they can trust the high-quality curly leaf spinach that is being sold at their favorite grocery store."

The curlyleafspinach.com web site advises consumers to wash all greens before storing them in the refrigerator. Curly leaf spinach should be washed, dried, packed loosely in a plastic bag, and then stored in the refrigerator crisper at a temperature of 40°F or below. Properly stored, curly leaf spinach should last 3-4 days.

Consumers who can't find curly leaf spinach in the grocery store produce department should talk to their grocer about its return, according to Verdelli. "We are partnering with growers, industry trade groups, and the government to develop new processing and handling standards to ensure even greater consumer confidence. Grocers want to sell spinach. We want grocers and their customers to be absolutely certain their curly leaf spinach is safe."

Tosca Ltd., headquartered in Green Bay, Wis., supplies the food industry with industry-specific, returnable containers, ensuring food and beverage manufacturers delivery of the right container, in the right condition, in the right quantity, to the right location, at the right time. Container functionality is standardized, and cleaning and sanitizing regimes are verifiable. For more information about Tosca Ltd., visit the company web site at toscaltd.com.

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Sheree Rogers
Tosca
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