E. coli sickness--does the U.S. need more farm inspections?

@Idlewild (6094)
United States
December 9, 2006 1:01pm CST
E. coli bacteria has sickened hundreds of Americans in two recent incidents--tainted fresh spinach and, last week, tainted onions at Taco Bell. Does the U.S. need better regulations or inspections to safegaurd the food supply?
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3 responses
@sedel1027 (17854)
• United States
9 Dec 06
Even if they inspect the farm, it doesn't mean they will catch the E.Coli. It shoyld be up to the farms to test their own water and food on a regular basis and this needs to be enforced by the FDA. The spinach incident could have been avoided if the consumers would have washed their vegatables before using them. Some responsiblity needs to fall on consumers to better wash their vegetables before using them. I am not 100% familiar with the Taco Bell incident, but I have a feeling that those onions were raw or undercooked. E.Coli cannot survive in heat.
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@Idlewild (6094)
• United States
9 Dec 06
Not sure if the onions were raw or cooked. I agree that people should wash their veggies, but wonder if washing spinach with cold water would have done the trick. Hot water might have wilted the spinach. And with things like broccoli or cauliflower, it's impossible to wash between all the nooks and crannies. I think I'll cook most of my veggies for now...
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@claudia413 (4284)
• United States
10 Dec 06
I'm not sure what the answer is, probably both...better regulations and inspections. But I'm with you. I think I'll cook my veggies from now on, and I do love raw vegetables at times. I always try to wash mine in cold water when I get them home from the store, but it's probably impossible to get them totally clean. To the person who asked, the green onions were raw and chopped on top of different entrees (like the Mexican pizza I really love. It certainly won't be the same without the green onions on top). It sure makes you stop and think before even eating a fresh salad any more, doesn't it?
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@Idlewild (6094)
• United States
10 Dec 06
Fresh veggie salad is one of my favorite meals, but I think I'll be cooking them more often from now on.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Mar 07
Thanks for giving me the best response.
• United States
27 Mar 07
I didn't see this discussion before, but this concerns me too. I live in California, in fact, not far from where that tainted spinach was traced back to. They found it in the soil from the water they used to irrigate the fields with, and plus they found it in the vats of water they were using to rinse the vegies in before they were packaged. The scary thing is that in California almost all of the water used to irrigate crops comes from the Aquaduct, a canal which runs the full length of the valley. Some of that water is ocean water that comes from the Sacramento River Delta area. But the majority of it is water that has already been used up and down the state for irrigation and is just fed back into the Aquaduct and sent on. It's a complex system of canals and pumping stations that send the water where it's needed. So it would be very difficult to regulate it and test it, and be able to trace it back to the source of the pollution. E-Coli is going to be an increasing problem though, because our ground water is polluted from all the cattle and dairy farms up and down the valley too. All the years of allowing these massive dairy farms and beef cattle feedlots to operate have polluted the ground water with cow urine which is where most E-Coli comes from. It's getting where the only safe food to eat anymore is what you grow yourself. Even then we have to test our own water for deadly bacteria since it's in our ground water too. I use a filtering system on the outside faucet that I use for my garden, and I buy bottled drinking water for everything that isn't going to be cooked. I don't even rinse my vegies in tap water, because I don't trust it. My husband and I owned a cabin up in the mountains which has been in his family for about 30 years. It has it's own spring which back then tested as pure as you could get. Then the BLM, which owns the property on three sides of us, started allowing cattle ranchers to graze their cattle on that land, which for the most part was all on higher ground around us. For the last 4 years we tested our water there, it had E-Coli in it. Funny thing was, for the first time ever, the State stepped in and levied a $100 water usage fee on us for using the spring water, and that was the first year it tested positive for E-Coli and chloriform too. So we learned that we now had to pay for water that was polluted from cow piss! My suggestion would be to boycott anything that is grown in California. That is the only thing that is going to make them take measures to clean up our water and stop these destructive practices. California produces a majority of our nation's produce, I'm not sure of the exact figure, but if people refused to buy anything grown here, it would surely get our illustrious Governator's attention!!
@Idlewild (6094)
• United States
27 Mar 07
Ahhh, peoples who don't vant cow piss in der vater must be GIRLY-MEN1 Yeah, this is a growing problem, but it's not just California... I've heard stories about groundwater being polluted in the Carolinas, etc. by runoff from pig and poultry farms. Of course the states want to be 'business friendly,' so they let these companies build huge operations without requiring them to handle the waste properly so it doesn't leach into streams or the water table. I tend to eat frozen veggies a lot, which are supposedly cleaned pretty thoroughly before packaging. California and other states will need to restrict cattle, poulty, etc. operations near agriculture, but it'll cost them business from those cattle folks. But they'll do it if that's whatit takes to reassure people that food is safe.
• United States
28 Mar 07
Yah, yah...I for one don't vant cow piss in my vater...haha! I read an interesting article on this topic just the other day. I'll have to find it and give out some links. Although, maybe I shouldn't either. It might just scare people even more. But if we don't start taking it seriously, it will become very scary indeed.
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