E. Coli's Deep Impact

It’s hard to believe that the Spinach-E. coli outbreak has been in the news for over a month now. Equally hard to believe is that the news never seems to get better. Like this item from yesterday. Rachel Konrad of the Associated Press reports that some lettuce has now been recalled over contamination concerns:
"We're just reacting to a water test only. We know there's generic E. coli on it, but we're not sure what that means," Tom Nunes Jr. president of Salinas-based Nunes Co. Inc said. "We're being extra careful. This is precautionary."
In the report Nunes goes on to point out that it is unlikely that the bacteria found in the lettuce shares the same source as that of the spinach.

Now, the theory of contaminated water supply is certainly nothing new. Remember this Reuters report from a couple weeks ago: E. coli found in cattle feces near spinach fields
The bacteria could have been transmitted by irrigation water, fertilizer, farm equipment or workers, livestock and wild animals, or it could have contaminated the spinach inside processing plants, during transport or on store shelves.
Oh Spinach-E.coli, what a complicated web you weave. Complicated is certainly the word for it because according to the Associated Press E. coli contamination is exposing a lot of complications in the American food chain. Libby Quaid reports:
"When you open a bag of spinach, do you wonder how many different plants are in there, and how many different fields it came from?" said Dr. Robert Tauxe, chief of foodborne diseases at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Towards the end of the report Tauxe remarks that it took the meat industry a while to “get a grip” on their own contamination issues, so produce companies will also need time to get it right. At what cost? I wonder.

In case you’ve fallen behind on the spinach E. coli news, here are some recent DiseaseProof posts:
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