The USDA’s Economic Research Service magazine, Amber Waves, featured an article written by Linda Calvin titled, "Outbreak linked to spinach forces reassessment of food safety practices." Ms. Calvin’s article offered a synopsis of last year’s E. coli outbreak traced to fresh, bagged, baby spinach, and went on to focus on the
spinach E. coli outbreak
This is a Power Point (in pdf) about how the spinach E. coli outbreak is only part of a larger problem of safe produce.
The Problems of Raising Produce Free From Illness-Causing Bacteria
As investigators actively seek to identify sources and vehicles responsible for the introduction of E. coli O157:H7 onto California spinach that made its way into the food supply this fall, the Journal of Food Science this month provides up-to-date research on the various ways bacteria can survive on fresh produce.
The study, Interactions Affecting the…
Purdue team makes progress on food-borne illness
The Indy Star reports that the recent spinach E. coli outbreak struck a chord with Purdue University professors whose research may help avert future food-borne illnesses.
Two emerging technologies are designed to find and kill food-borne pathogens more quickly and less expensively than existing processes. Researchers hope the technologies ultimately will keep food safer and…
US: foodborne pathogens hard to remove from produce, research is ongoing
Will you ever feel comfortable eating fresh spinach again? All raw agricultural products carry a minimal risk of contamination, said a University of Illinois scientist whose research focuses on keeping foodborne pathogens, including the strain of E. coli found recently on spinach, out of the food supply.
That won’t keep Scott Martin, a U of I food science and human nutrition professor, from eating bagged greens or other produce although he can see why it gives consumers pause. "I definitely wouldn’t eat spinach from the three California counties implicated in this latest outbreak of E. coli H0157:H7, but there have been no problems with spinach grown in other parts of the country," Martin said.
Martin said that food companies have recalled the particular products implicated in the outbreak, and that the contaminated spinach had a sell-by date of September 20, so none should remain on the shelves at this time. If his reassuring tone makes the scientist sound less than aggressive toward E. coli 0157:H7 and other foodborne pathogens, you’re mistaken. Martin and fellow U of I professor Hao Feng are dedicated to discovering ways to keep these microorganisms out of the food supply.
Martin’s research is focused on finding ways to eliminate the biofilms that attach to produce and cause illness. "Once the pathogenic organism gets on the product, no amount of washing will remove it. The microbes attach to the surface of produce in a sticky biofilm, and washing just isn’t very effective," he said.…
Continue Reading US: foodborne pathogens hard to remove from produce, research is ongoing
E. coli outbreak shakes nation
In the wake of one death and many cases of foodborne illness related to contaminated spinach, University of Georgia microbiologist Michael Doyle recommends avoiding commercially bagged greens and vegetables.
An internationally known expert on foodborne pathogens like E. coli 0157:H7, Doyle spent most of the week following the outbreak, fielding reporter calls from across the nation.
E. coli O157:H7 causes diarrhea, often with bloody stools. Most healthy adults can recover completely within a week, but some people develop a form of kidney failure called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome. This condition usually occurs in young children, elderly people and others with low immune systems.
"Although this outbreak involves bagged spinach, previous E. coli and salmonella outbreaks have been traced to bagged lettuce, melons and tomatoes," said Doyle, director of the UGA Center for Food Safety in Griffin.…
Calif.: Farms need better food safety
The Associated Press reports that California health officials said Thursday they still hope to find the source of the contaminated spinach that’s sickened at least 189 people, but called on farmers to be more diligent about applying food safety measures to prevent future E. coli outbreaks.
The recent nationwide outbreak, at least the 10th traced to produce from California’s Salinas Valley during the last decade, shows that growers have not done all they could to safeguard their crops and the public’s health, said Dr. Kevin Reilly, deputy director of the prevention services branch of the California health department.
Meanwhile, the produce processing company at the center of the current E. coli outbreak announced Thursday that it would test a sample from each lot of greens its packages for illness-causing bacteria.
Natural Selection Foods CEO Charles Sweat said the new system is modeled after sampling procedures that helped reduce the number of human E. coli infections caused by beef. Natural Selection Foods LLC is a privately held company.…
Tainted spinach search zeroes in on one batch
The Associated Press reports that a second tainted bag of spinach, found in Utah over the weekend, has helped health officials pinpoint E. coli contamination in one specific batch of fresh spinach in a California processing plant.
California health officials said the Utah bag of Dole baby spinach and another of the same brand found…
Can I eat this?
Joseph Ryan of The Daily Herald reports that as the tables rapidly filled for lunch at Yanni’s Greek Restaurant in Arlington Heights, TV reports were warning consumers not to eat the veggie — if it was bought in bags.
Yet, no one was telling Liakouras that his spinach, purchased from a distributor, wasn’t safe. He didn’t know what to do. The manager called his spinach providers to see what they thought, but eventually he figured, “Why even take the risk?”
By late afternoon, he pulled spinach from eight classic dishes. A week later, the manager remains in the dark. “No one has actually told us not to serve spinach,” he says.…
Bad spinach sign of wider problem?
The Chicago Tribune reports that sunny Salinas Valley holds a dark mystery: Why, in the past decade, have nine E. coli outbreaks been linked to produce grown here?
It’s still unknown why this fertile land has been hit by what an FDA official calls "significant" crop contamination. On Sunday, officials announced that the number of people sickened by an E. coli outbreak linked to Salinas Valley spinach has risen to 109 in 19 states.
A Wisconsin woman has died. Natural Selection Foods, which grows spinach in the Salinas Valley, has recalled the leafy green under 34 brands. On Sunday, federal authorities identified a second producer linked to the contamination, River Ranch of California, because it had bought spinach from the first grower. River Ranch on Sunday recalled spring mixes containing spinach with the labels Hy Vee, Fresh and Easy, and Farmers Market.…