Used to be, spinach was for sissies like Popeye. Now that it's off-limits, though, everyone wants it. It's a perfect storm of politics and nature.
Steak houses like to serve creamed spinach with their sirloin. The steaks come from cattle raised on grain (specifically, genetically engineered corn). But cows aren't intelligently designed to digest the corn properly; the acidity in their ruminant stomachs changes, allowing excessive amounts of (naturally occuring) E.coli bacteria to remain. As a result, feed lots are awash in cowpies with dangerous concentrations of E.coli leaching into groundwater. It would be more expensive, but the cows could be fed, gulp, grass or silage; within a week, the E.coli would be essentially neutralized. Still, that wouldn't cleanse the contaminated groundwater.
Meantime, in that Third World country known as the Salinas Valley, a migrant worker, poor Pedro the produce-picker, is under pressure from his foreman to pick more, faster. As RobertinSeattle has been pointing out in comments on this blog and elsewhere, Pedro's probably not going to walk all the way to the porta-potty (quarter-mile, usually, for "sanitation reasons") to answer calls of nature.
Gummint scientists are trying to blame birds drinking contaminated water, because the all-too-human explanation is political dynamite.
Just how explosive? The growers and packers, among the most stalwart of Republicans, have finally figured it out: not enough illegal immigrants to pick the crops. And they're pissed! (Hard to get good help, ain't it?)
So here's what we're faced with, Georgie-Boy: your pandering ag policies and your jingoistic immigration reform have spawned a monster: a toxic industrial food chain. You've succeeded beyond the wildest terrorist dreams; you're literally poisoning your own people.
One piece of good news: a study that finds cabernet sauvignon protects against Alzheimer's. (Remember when nobody would say a good word about the health benefits of drinking?) Legit study, too. Mount Sinai Medical School, no less.