By: Staff Writer
One year after a widespread E. Coli scare caused by bagged spinach, officials are recalling E. Coli tainted lettuce after some inspectors in Canada found a bag of Dole’s Hearts Delight lettuce contaminated with the bacteria. According to an article posted on NBC’s Web site, so far, no one has reported being sickened by the product. Most of the 5,000 bags with the production code “A24924A” or “A24924B” were sold in the United States and some in Canada. According to official reports, the romaine, green leaf and butter lettuce hearts that went into the bagged blends were grown in California, Colorado and Ohio and then processed in Springfield, Ohio, on Sept. 6.
All the recalled bags have a “best if used by” date of Sept. 19, 2007. Officials are still trying to track down the source and method by which this contamination occurred.
Last year, the spinach scare, also caused by the Dole brand, was said to have caused three deaths. The tainted spinach also reportedly sickened hundreds of people across the country. That contamination, investigators determined, occurred in a Central California cattle ranch neighboring spinach fields owned by Dole’s suppliers. Food safety standards were also strengthened in California after that scare and authorities say they are stumped by the recent scare, saying they don’t know how it may have happened again.
Food-borne illnesses have been a reality in our communities for many years now. How often do we see our favorite restaurants shut down or cited for safety violations? How often do reputed restaurants slip from an “A” to a “B” or even “C” grade? It happens all the time. Ask a personal injury attorney and he or she will tell you they tend to get hundreds of inquiries about possible food-poisoning cases. But the spinach scare got a lot of publicity and served an important part in creating more public awareness about food-borne illnesses.
What we saw after that was a series of salmonella-tainted peanut butter, contaminated pet food, tainted toothpaste and a slew of defective products from China, imported fruit that our government does not inspect. This is only the start of what could reach epidemic proportions. If our government does not allocate some serious money to enforce existing food safety standards and impose much-needed new standards, food-borne illnesses could become a way of life in America and that’s not good news.
For more information about food-borne illnesses, visit the following Web sites:
U.S. Center For Disease Control
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
For latest information about the Dole lettuce recall, click here.