Right on the heels of the nationwide E. coli outbreak stemming from tainted lettuce, the US FDA has announced a nationwide warning to consumers against consuming spinach for the same reasons.

Douglas Powell and Ben Chapman of the Food Safety Network say that despite the fact that fruits and vegetables are good for us, they are one of, if not the most, significant source of foodborne illness today in North America, with an estimated 76 million illness and 5,000 deaths in the U.S. each and every year from foodborne illness.

The U.S. lettuce/leafy greens industry took the first step in doing this, releasing a comprehensive set of food safety guidelines, from the farm through to retail, in April, 2006.

Powell and Chapman state that any grower can clean up for a once-a-year audit by inspectors. They are urging growers to maintain the standards for the rest of the year as well.