How’s Your Lettuce?

romaine_lettuce
Romaine Lettuce (public domain, ARS USDA)

The Centers for Disease Control has urged consumers to avoid eating Romaine lettuce because of a particularly nasty outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections. The warning involves multiple states. An opinion piece from the editor of Food Safety News reminds us:

Once not so long ago, we had a little unit called the Microbiological Data Program (MDP). Run by USDA, the MDP contracted with a dozen state agricultural labs to go out and test fresh produce.

In other words, the MDP sent the state ag labs out during the various harvest seasons to sample and test what’s coming out of the fields. The MDP existed from 2002-2012. It reached a point where it was responsible for 80 percent of the fresh produce testing in the U.S.

The MDP only cost taxpayers about $5 million. The New York Times called it “a tiny program that matters.” But the produce industry hated the MDP, and it apparently had a significant hand in killing it.

Letter From The Editor: Romaine, Reform and Revive
Food Safety News, April 28, 2018 by Dan Flynn

This is a very interesting editorial, well worth your time.

Bears Ears

Bears Ears Cedar-mesa_Monument
Cedar Mesa Monument, Public Domain (BLM)

Bears Ears is a place of power. Anyone who has walked this erosional landscape of buttes and mesas and experienced the embrace of red rock canyons animated by the handprints of the ancient ones carefully placed on sandstone walls rising upward to a starlit sky cannot stand by and be witness to its demise by those who care only for what the land can produce, the real estate that can be sold, or the commodity it can become.
From Utah’s Red Rock Desert, A Call for Protecting Our Public Lands, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (Yale Environment 360), February 26, 2018 by Terry Tempest Williams

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Hot

The red color indicates warm temperature anomalies, the blue color indicates cold temperature anomalies.

The Arctic and Greenland are experiencing extremely warm temperatures while Europe, Russia, and areas further east have extremely cold temperatures.

Food Safety: It’s for the Dogs (too)

Bluetick
Bluetick Coonhound, Public Domain

The Food and Drug Administration and the Washington State Department of Agriculture are investigating what FDA describes as a ‘pattern of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes contamination in raw pet foods manufactured by Arrow Reliance Inc.’

FDA has received a total of six complaints of illness in animals who were fed the raw pet foods, including the death of one kitten. Salmonella recovered from the kitten was indistinguishable from the Salmonella found in a closed package of Darwin’s food from the same lot that was fed to the animal, according to the agency.

People who handle contaminated pet food and anything it touches, including counter tops, utensils and pet bowls, are at risk of contracting infections from pathogens such as Salmonella. Infected pets, which don’t always show symptoms, can transfer Salmonella infection to people.
FDA, State Investigate Darwin’s Pet Food after Illnesses, Death, Food Safety News, February 14, 2018 by Phyllis Entis