Debates on edibility of spinach reignited as season comes
Since a dozen people were hospitalized this week with symptoms of food poisoning after consuming spinach, questions arose as to whether the vegetable was safe to consume for Turkish people, especially after a similar incident two years ago during the same season.
Experts say the problem is not with spinach, but a type of wild plant that probably got mixed with spinach, urging the public to check and clean vegetables carefully before consuming. They also say that pesticide residues could also be a reason.
Baki Remzi Suiçmez, chair of the Chamber of Agricultural Engineers (ZMO), said the two plants look very similar to each other, noting that wild weeds may sometimes be overlooked in packaged foods.
Hüseyin Demirtaş, chair of the Agriculturalists' Association, said that sometimes agricultural workers cannot distinguish weeds and that they collect them all at once which may cause problems such as food poisoning.
Underlining the need for inspection controls in the field, Demirtaş said the inspection mechanism should work for public health.
According to authorities, wild plants from the Solanaceae family which look like spinach but include atropine and scopolamine can threaten human health.
Two years ago, more than 100 people were hospitalized after consuming wild plants mixed with spinach when its season came around November.