Wednesday, October 7, 2009

E. Coli and Food Safety

How safe is our food supply?

As we strive to eat a more healthy diet we're finding that even our fresh fruits & vegetables are exposing us to the risks we'd come to expect from meat and fish. In the U.S. alone there have been recent major outbreaks of E. Coli contamination involving produce. In the summer of 1997 it was alfalfa sprouts in Michigan and Virginia. In 2006 tainted spinach killed 3 and sent 102 Californians to the hospital. In late 2006 E. Coli was traced to onions at Taco Bell restaurants in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and South Carolina. Robert Tauxe from the CDC says washing your fruits and vegetable may not be enough. "We recommend washing produce in general, even if you plan to peel it but it’s tough to get bacteria off of greens." "Many of the recurrent outbreaks have come from leafy greens—especially lettuce— sprouts, and unpasteurized juices and cider." The CDC urges folks to thoroughly wash their produce and cook it whenever possible.

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