It’s become a tradition at Food Safety News to take a break on major holidays by hosting a virtual potluck or picnic, held entirely online for our far-flung staff.

So we’re celebrating Independence Day 2011 by once again sharing our dishes – Mary’s farmers’ market veg dip, Cookson’s garden-fresh potato salad, Suzanne’s Aunt Sandy’s spinach and strawberry salad, Helena’s apricot-rosemary halibut, Andy’s Everyman’s Gumbo, Dan’s Fried Ice Cream Cake Sticks and Gretchen’s coconut berry lime cake.

We’re often asked if writing about foodborne illness makes us reluctant eaters. Far from it. We relish good food and all the healthy choices available. To us, food freedom means the right to spend our grocery dollars with growers and producers who see safe food-handling practices not as an inconvenience or cost, but as a responsibility to protect their customers and the public health, and therefore an essential part of doing business. Independence Day is a good day to think about freedom from fear.

Have a food-safe Fourth of July.

The Food Safety News team



I first had this salad years ago at a party at my aunt’s house.  She was kind enough to write the recipe down for me that evening, but it took me years to rediscover.  It’s the perfect early summer salad since fresh strawberries are easy to come by.  Serve it at BBQs or with any meal and it’s sure to be a hit!


2 large bunches spinach, rinsed and drained (or one bag baby spinach)
2 cups strawberries, sliced
2 to 4 Tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds


1/2 cup safflower or canola oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons red onion, minced
2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Combine spinach, strawberries, and sunflower seeds in bowl.  Mix dressing in separate container and dress salad immediately before serving.