Trivial spinach question

Sean Edwards mzfses at MAIL1.MCC.AC.UK
Fri May 22 11:36:12 CDT 1998

Well, whilst we're on rumours, I'll add mine (which I am surprised
hasn't turned up already as a response, but maybe it will overlap). I
have heard this story from several sources, all anecdotal. Anybody
know the truth in it?

I was told that the whole thing originated from a typographic error
in a scientific(?) paper comparing various sources of minerals, in
which the decimal point was printed one place to the right in the
column for iron content for spinach, thus increasing its efficacy by
an order of magnitude. This was picked up by the press, and
subsequent correction of this error was totally submerged by the
public perception of spinach as being an astonishing source of iron,
to be fed to children etc. at all costs. The fact that tinned spinach
tastes awful would only bolster its reputation as being good for you.
It is high in iron, but not that high.


sean.edwards at
Sean R. Edwards, Keeper of Botany, The Manchester Museum,
Manchester University, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK

'phone: +44 (0)161-275-2671/2;         fax: +44 (0)161-275-2676

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