Disease Proof

The E. Coli Outbreak: Still a Mystery

Evidently the exact cause of last year’s E. coli outbreak can join the ranks of the loch ness monster, the gunman on the grassy knoll, and leprechauns—all a mystery. As Stephanie Smith of CNN reports, its many months later and there is still no definite answers as to why the E. coli outbreak happened. Read on:
California produce, it seems, has a problem with E. coli 0157:H7, which is most commonly found in cattle feces. Since 1995 there have been more than 20 outbreaks of E. coli in lettuce and leafy greens traced back to farms in that state.

"You'd think that after so many outbreaks, the government and the leafy green industry would do something about this," said Bill Marler, a Seattle, Washington, attorney specializing in food-poisoning cases.

Marler has been at the helm of several lawsuits against the leafy green industry. He says investigations are traditionally slow, and he still does not have a report from a 2005 outbreak in Dole lettuce.

The FDA told CNN that the investigation into lettuce is on hold. It was derailed in part by recent investigations into melamine contamination in pet food, fish, swine and other foods.

"The FDA has to do what it can with the resources that it has," said David Acheson, assistant commissioner at the FDA Office of Food Defense, Communication and Emergency Response. "When there is an outbreak, investigators drop what they're doing and respond."
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Suzanne - May 19, 2007 9:39 AM

Does anyone know what the best way to clean produce in order to remove e. coli (and other yucky stuff) is? My mother told me to fill the sink full with water, then and a capful of bleach and dip everything in. This just seems harsh to me. I don't use bleach around the house. Anything else? The spinach outbreak really freaked me out. I blend it into smoothies constantly. Thanks!

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