pen rainbow

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday—Have a Fresh Week

Take charge of your food


New leaves on our white pom tree


On January 4, 2011, the president signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) into law enabling the FDA to strengthen the minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing and holding of food products on farms.  Let's take a look at the effectiveness of these changes...




2006


2007




2008





2009






2010



Since the FSMA was signed into law...

2011



2012





2013



Salmonella with a side of E. coli

I don't know about you, but I can eliminate small turtles, hedgehogs, African Dwarf frogs, water frogs in general, chicks & ducklings, frozen rodents, and whatever veggie booty is, from my diet altogether.  Sucks if you're eating at Restaurant Chain A or traveling to Germany.  And, if you work in a microbiology lab, don't put anything in your mouth.  

This is why I enjoy reading government reports.  The definitions are often so broad that weird things make it onto the lists.  African Dwarf frogs, for instance.  According to the CDC website, the definition of a foodborne outbreak is when "two or more people get the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink," and then barf and spew their butts off (I added that last part).  When it comes to frog-related outbreaks, people weren't eating frogs, they were handling them.  I have a hunch that a few of the 241 individuals who got sick were kissing these frogs.  The rest weren't washing their hands.

So, why are hedgehogs on the list?  Because 26 pet owners from 12 states were playing with their adorable pet hedgehogs, not eating them.  Kids put their hands in at least fifty disgusting things every day, so playing with a pet hedgehog is a perfectly undertandable way to contract Salmonella.

"Restaurant Chain A" is an intriguing one.  The CDC report states that it was a "Mexican-style fast food restaurant."  The map shows that the outbreaks occurred mainly in the Southern Central & Midwestern states.  90 percent of the people who got sick ate something with lettuce in it, 77 percent reported eating cheese, and 35 percent consumed tomatoes.  Ground beef was ruled out because of effective food handling and cooking methods used at the restaurant.  So, it was probably the lettuce.      

Fast-food chains aren't the only places that get hit with foodborne illnesses.  In Copenhagen last February, 63 people who dined at NOMA (arguably the best restaurant in the world) did not anticipate massive vomiting and diarrhea, despite the fact that this 2-star Michelin restaurant is known for serving delicacies made from moldy fruit and fermented sea grass.  Fine cheddars and cured meats are proof that old food can be delicious, but I am telling you right now that I will never eat something that has been mummified.


Just last month (September 2013), 162 people contracted Hepatitis A after they ate organic pomegranate seeds imported from Turkey, all purchased at Costco.  The 10 states affected were Arizona (23), California (79), Colorado (28), Hawaii (8), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (1), New Mexico (11), Nevada (6), Utah (3), and Wisconsin (2).  Hepatitis A, btw, is transmitted through exposure to fecal matter.  I'm not sure how they managed to get crap on pomegranates in Turkey, but the CDC might want to recommend that people simply grow their own poms.     



How to Grow Your Own


Pomegranates from Tricia_GrowOrganic Peaceful Valley




Lettuce




Have a fresh & healthy week!