The Listeria monocytogenes strain found on cantaloupes is being blamed for the death of at least 18 people as well as sickening at least 100.

The tainted cantaloupes were sold by Jensen Farms located in Colorado & distributed all over the country. The Center for Disease Control has reported Listeria related illness in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, North Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin & Wyoming. Jensen Farms recalled the cantaloupes in mid-September.

At the same time this was happening, listeria also popped up on romaine lettuce that was being sold by True Leaf Farms of Salinas, California. Currently there have been no reports of illness from this lettuce as not much of it was distributed & what did get distributed was recalled quickly. Continue reading “Listeria Outbreak Still Having Repercussions” »

Well the giant egg recall is big news right now as it just keeps getting bigger and bigger and unfortunately more and more people are getting ill from it. The day before this recall was issued I had made some french toast which used quite a bit of eggs in it. Luckily the carton of eggs I had in the fridge were not part of the recall since I got them about two weeks before the recall happened(I don’t use a lot of eggs). Needless to say, I will not be making french toast for awhile.

One thing I am wondering is why so many people are getting sick. Salmonella is a bacteria that does die when heated to 165F or above. I have a feeling that many people who are getting sick are possibly mishandling the eggs or not cooking their eggs thoroughly. There are also possibilities of accidental gross contamination say within a grocery bag or in the fridge. I always keep my eggs separate from all my other groceries in the bag and in the fridge. I just don’t have much luck what with developing IBS from swimming in a river and later feeling nauseated with diarrhea that night, then later in life getting a three month bout of Gastroparesis from a norrovirus or food poisoning. So I take food handling very seriously.

It seems like ever summer we have a big name food recall related to salmonella. Last year it was peanuts, the year before it was tomatoes(which is a recurring theme), now it’s eggs. Eggs are actually less shocking as salmonella has always been a risk with eggs. Things like peanuts or tomatoes are scary as you don’t assume those would be a risk and in many cases they’re eaten raw. Even on a local level we’re seeing salmonella recalls. Umpqua dairy had to recall milk, cream, half-n-half & even orange juice because the processing plant was contaminated with salmonella and many people have become ill.

It makes you wonder about where our food is coming from and the people or businesses that produce it. Because our food system is becoming more consolidated all the time, a small outbreak can quickly spread across the nation & while it would seem this consolidation would make it easier to track down where the outbreak started from, that’s rarely the case. For example the tomato recall last year, took a long time to track down and in the end some were even doubting if it was the tomatoes and not a batch of bad jalapeno peppers that were actually causing the illnesses.

Inspections of our food supply & enforcement should be a top priority, but time and time again businesses fly under the radar until people start getting sick or even dying. For example the company Cadbury Chocolates in 2006 was finally fined almost $2 million US dollars because it knowingly put tainted candy bars on store shelves in the UK and lowered it’s hygiene standards to save money. The Peanut Corporation of America had a sloppy history of health violations and when it finally caught up with them causing a major salmonella outbreak, sickening many people, they just closed up shop and filed bankruptcy.

Ultimately I think the public & the government should take a firmer stance to ensure the purity of our food. The FDA may need to be expanded and we also need to “beef-up” the USDA inspection power as well. There are also powerful food industry lobbyists corrupting Washington, would be nice to kick them out too.

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