USA Today reporters Elizabeth Weise and Julie Schmit say the E. coliO157:H7 bug responsible for the recent spinach outbreak has been positively matched to a farm in the Salinas Valley. Although the farm has not been identified, the story provides enough information to suggest that, at a minimum, federal Good Agricultural Practices are too vaguely defined to be useful. Making them mandatory, which Earthbound Farms implies government should have done to prevent the outbreak, is unlikely to help.
Category Archives: Food
More problems for Earthbound Farms and its parent company Natural Selection Foods. Now its organic carrot juice has been identified as the culprit in an outbreak of botulism.
Investigators are getting closer to the source of the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak and recently lifted the ban on produce from from counties other that the three in California. Washington Post reporter Annys Shin says all bagged spinach that has tested positive was conventionally grown, processed by Natural Selection Foods, and sold under the Dole brand. We cannot find confirmation from the FDA spinach website.
An important element of Monday’s post on E. coli and irradiation was the recognition that years of federal regulations had failed to significantly reduce foodborne illness risks. Conducting research for the post brought back memories of having reviewed the Food and Drug Administration’s and Food Safety Inspection Service’s initial regulations implementing the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) inspection regime.
Those reviews led to a presentation and a food safety conference, and the presentation led to a paper that was published as a chapter in a book on the economics of HACCP. (Amazon ranks the book #2,020,211, but hurry: as of Monday night they had one copy left.)
Last fall’s E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in spinach has now been followed by an outbreak in lettuce used by certain fast food enterprises. Today’s Wall Street Journal includes an editorial criticizing “E. Coli’s Enablers,” by which they mean activists who oppose irradiation.
Would irradiation of produce intended to be consumed raw have prevented these outbreaks?
Massachusetts State Senator Jarrett Barrios had threatened to enact legislation banning (or at least “severely limiting”) the serving of Fluffernutter sandwiches in school cafeteria. This story has been all over the news, reported first locally by the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald, and more recently almost everywhere. (A Google News search today yields 436 hits.)
To non-New Englanders the Fluffernutter sandwich may seem to be an unpalatable oddity. But is it, nutritionally speaking, “out of the mainstream”?