Contaminated produce from 1 field, when processed into a variety of products such as bagged lettuce can cause widespread contamination affecting 10’s of thousands or more bagged lettuce.
1 reason it has chlorine wash cycle. But guess what – it does not always work due to harvesting processes. And that is just lettuce.
CDC - Estimates of Foodborne Illness in the United StatesThe Congressional Budget Office said the F.D.A. would need a total of $580 million from 2011 to 2015 to carry out the changes required by the Food Safety Modernization Act. So far, Congress has appropriated less than half of that amount, even as the agency is moving to issue
An estimated 48 million Americans have food-borne illnesses each year, and agency officials say the funding shortfall could undermine Congress’s intent to make the most significant improvements to the food safety system in more than 70 years.
Why Lettuce Keeps Making Us Sick - Modern FarmerCDC estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. Estimating illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths for various types of diseases is a common and important public health practice.
During harvest, workers core lettuce in the field, often with a knife soiled by pathogen-laden dirt. The plant then produces a milky latex that essentially traps any present pathogens in the plant. And as Michael Doyle, director of the University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety, explained, no amount of water can kill microorganisms. The good news, though, is that the Food Safety Modernization Act, once it eventually goes into practice, will usher in a new era of food safety on the farm, requiring produce growers, just the bigger ones, really, to enact major changes to how vegetables are grown, harvested and stored.
Modern Farmer: Can you explain the interaction between lettuce and microorganisms during harvesting?
Michael Doyle: When the latex forms, if there is harmful bacteria there, the bacteria is within the plant tissue. The treatments that are typically used in the processing plant for cleaning is basically chlorine, and they’re just washing the outside of it, so the bacteria is not going to be washed away. Once they get in, the bacteria grows and the plant has nutrients to help them grow.