December 11

Regulate us some more…please!


With the recent outbreak of another more E. coli–this time in onions from Taco Bell–the hue and cry is on for more regulation. This from the New York Times:

Surely it is time to give government regulators the power and resources they need to ensure the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

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  1. Can’t E. Coli be washed off of vegetation?
    Hi Lyndsey–
    Most bacteria can be washed off of plant foods, but E. coli O157:H7 is a little different.  That particular bacterium stronly attaches itself to the vegetation making it almost impossible to get off with regular washing.  I’m not positive, but I imagine that a little tiny bit of bleach mixed in a whole lot of water might do it, but, I don’t know for sure.  (If you try the bleach, I would use a couple of drops in a gallon of water, then rinse with clear water thoroughly after.)  Cooking will do it in, however.  So, if in doubt, cook it out.

  2. I’ve heard that many migrant (illegal) farm workers will defecate right in the field. You think that could be the cause? Hm, maybe more regulation *cough* immigration reform *cough* is in order.
    Hi Rob–
    I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened, but I doubt that’s where E coli O157:H7 comes from unless the farm workers have it themselves, in which case they aren’t likely to be working.

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