Disease Proof

More Veggie E. Coli Fallout

Given the severity of the recent E. coli outbreak, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that it’s still in the news. I’m sure people still want to know what’s being done to ensure something like it never happens again. Or why it happened in the first the first. Denise Grady of The New York Times investigates the aftermath of E. coli:
Last August, the F.D.A. announced a “lettuce safety initiative” in response to recurring E. coli outbreaks. It began with last fall’s lettuce harvest and included visits by inspectors to farms and cooling and packing facilities. But the spinach and Taco Bell outbreaks happened anyway…

… Scientists think most contamination lies on the surface of crops, but studies have shown that it is possible for bacteria to be taken up through root systems and actually wind up inside the plants, where no amount of washing could get rid of it. In any case, E. coli 0157:H7 tends to be sticky and is difficult or impossible to wash off, even when it’s only on the surface of produce.
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