Small children are rejoicing over the greatest excuse of all time to not finish their spinach while spinach lovers across the nation lament the lack of green in their diet.

Fresh and bagged spinach is being pulled from the shelves after it was contaminated with a deadly strain of E. coli bacteria. According to WebMD, the contaminated vegetables were grown primarily in three counties in California: Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Clara.

The spinach was linked to various illnesses and deaths in multiple states across the country, including one in Connecticut, according to WebMD.

Although the cause of the contamination is still unknown, a article confirmed that the E. coli strain which was detected is an extremely dangerous one known as E. coli 0157:H7 and has been linked to stomach and bowel problems.

Here at Fairfield, students are agitated by the lack of spinach throughout the Barone Campus Center dining areas. A warning against the bacteria is accompanied by an online news article detailing the problem immidiately after stagcards have been swiped. If that isn’t enough, another disclaimer about the removal of spinach hangs ominously over the lettuce mix in the cafeteria and in the Stag.

“Not to worry,” said Sodexho resident dining manager Chris Bosze. “As soon as the university heard of the contamination, all products which might have come in contact with the contaminated spinach were immediately removed.”

Bosze says any products which may have come in contact with the contaminated spinach, such as the mescaline salad mix were pulled along with the spinach when the recalls came out.

“About nine out of ten students eat some kind of salad at least once a day,” Bosze said.

“Its no loss to us, because we have other offerings, but the spinach producers, and obviously any spinach lovers are suffering the most because of the situation,” he said.

Despite the reassurances from the administration, not all students are secure that food they are eating is safe.

Concerned freshman Katie Mainiero questioned the safety of other food products.

“If the spinach was contaminated, there is a good chance others could be at risk,” said Mainiero.

Mike Cicirelli ’10, a pre-med major, is also concerned about the sanitary issues.

“I probably won’t eat spinach again until I’m sure that it’s clean, and not contaminated,” said Cicirelli.

Marisa Robinson ’10 frowns whenever she passes the salad bar void of any signs of spinach.

“I miss my baby spinach,” said Robinson.

So, how long it will take for safe, decontaminated spinach to return to the shelves of supermarkets and restaurants? When will we be able to chow down on our leafy goodness without having to wonder whether it’s contaminated or not?

Across campus students are not willing to take the risk.

“I like spinach, but I don’t want E-Coli,” Liz Herdter ’10 said as she mulled over the lack of spinach in her daily diet.

Fairfield has taken all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of both its staff and students. We can only hope as that someone has sent Popeye a copy of the memo.

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