Passed on the Romaine Salad This Year
My wife was in charge of making the salad for Thanksgiving. For her easily done as she makes her own Italian dressing. I bought enough Romaine Hearts to feed 20 people. On Wednesday, we pitched them all as CDC said not to eat any Romaine as it was contaminated with E. Coli. We moved on to Spinach and Arugula.
It is not the first-time leafy vegetables have been removed from the grocery shelf and the dinner table. Indeed, if you glance at the attached chart, it has happened frequently over the years. Since 2006, there has been at least one outbreak of E. Coli yearly caused by leafy vegetables.
The Center for Investigative Reporting on its website Reveal was one of the first to break the story of why it has become hazardous to eat vegetables in the US. “5 people died from eating lettuce, but Trump’s FDA still won’t make farms test water for bacteria.”
Congress legislated actions to be taken in 2011 after several out breaks of E. Coli and the resulting illness. The testing of the water used to irrigate the fields growing the plants was to start in 2018. Six months before people were sickened by the contaminated Romaine, in response to pressure from the farm industry, and Trump’s mandate to eliminate regulations, the FDA delayed the water-testing rules for at least four years.
This particular outbreak originated in Yuma Arizona and is believed to be from irrigation water which is typically a prime source of food contamination and foodborne illnesses. When livestock feces flow into and contaminates a creek, the tainted water can seep into wells or is sprayed onto produce which is then harvested, processed, and sold at stores and restaurants. Salad leafy greens are particularly vulnerable and they are often eaten raw and can harbor bacteria when torn. In 2006, most California and Arizona growers of leafy greens signed agreements to voluntarily test irrigated water which minimizes the risk of contamination.
Farm groups contend the testing of water is too expensive. Some farmers contend the whole thing is an overblown attempt to exert government power on them. Postponing the water-testing rules would save growers $12 million per year. It would also cost consumers $108 million per year in medical expenses, according to an FDA analysis.
Go Figure . . .
Reveal: “5 people died from eating lettuce, but Trump’s FDA still won’t make farms test water for bacteria.” The Center for Investigative Reporting.
You get what you pay for. Is it any surprise that a whole lot of people have made “organic” a lucrative sub sector of agriculture or that poor people tend not to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables? It is quickly getting to the point where large numbers of consumers will not purchase the products that are grown with untested water. There is considerable science to back up their decision and look at the strength of the anti-vaxxer movement with no science to back it up. Of course Trump is anti science, but like global warming saying you do not believe something does not make it any less real. Government regulation would level the playing field as well as promote public health to the benefit of all producers. Instead we will see some producers test but with free riders out there always threatening to destroy the industry with the next outbreak of disease. The market solution is for the big processors to insist that their suppliers test their irrigation water and then promote their products as 100% from tested suppliers. The result will be that the corporations will decide the winners and losers among suppliers and the little guys will lose their ability to market their products apart from sales to the big entities. Another example of corporations taking control of our lives in the face of government indifference.
I am baffled though that we aren’t focusing on the real problem, which is the source of contamination in the water, usually feedlots.
I believe Joel has it right. This president does not care what business does in this country and how much of what occurs due to his mandates and ignorance is irreversible. You are right though.
because regulation of feedlots is also anathema to the GOP. Be baffled no more; follow the money.
Regulation of anything is anathema to the GOP. As to follow the money, I wonder if anyone has ever analyzed the cost of increased liability flowing from the damages caused by unregulated production methods, not just of agriculture, but generally.
I’m an iceberg lettuce kind of guy. Not that iceberg is immune from this happening to it. I heard one stupid reporter telling people to wash their lettuce thoroughly like that would kill the e coli. Uh no but maybe if he deep fried out lettuce the heat would kill it. Of course fried salads would no longer be all that healthy.
Anyone can be in charge of anything.