Icelandic Spinach Is Not Spinach - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Icelandic Spinach Is Not Spinach

Published April 5, 2016

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It has come to light that the vegetable being sold as “spinach” by one company in Iceland is, in fact, another plant.

Vísir reports that greenhouse vegetables company Lambhagi has long been selling a variety of the plant Brassica rapa – known as komatsuna, or Japanese mustard spinach – as regular spinach. As such, Lambhagi’s competitors have demanded they stop labeling the product in question as “spinach”.

Hafberg Þórisson, the owner of Lambhagi, has defended their labeling choice.

“We just call it Lambhagi spinach because Brassica rapa, as it is called in Latin, is called ‘spinatlauf’ [trans. “spinach leaf”] in Icelandic,” he told reporters. “So we just call it that. We decided not to sell regular spinach because it contains high levels of oxalic acid, which can trigger allergies.”

Nutritionally speaking, there are differences between the two plants. Komatsuna is known for having high levels of calcium; something spinach only has in moderate levels. However, spinach has much higher levels of iron than komatsuna.

Consumers are advised to take this into account when food shopping.

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