Feds response to Romaine E. coli deaths is to do nothing!

Stock Image, Getty

❝ A deadly E. coli strain that contaminated romaine lettuce in early 2018, causing five deaths and more than 200 serious infections, most likely infiltrated crops through canal water used to irrigate and apply pesticides in the Yuma, Arizona, growing region, which includes farms in southeastern California.

This finding, from an environmental assessment report released Nov. 1 by the Food and Drug Administration, demands a swift response by the agency, including an accelerated timeline to implement an agricultural water standard for fruits and vegetables that protects public health.

❝ Unfortunately, FDA leaders have given no indication that they will do so. Absent a change, 2022 is the earliest that any produce farm, except those growing sprouts, will be required to meet the agency’s first food safety requirements for agricultural water. Small and midsize operations have been given even longer to comply.

This is unacceptable in the wake of last spring’s outbreak and the deaths and illnesses it caused. Food safety officials should apply in a matter of months—not years—lessons learned from the environmental assessment. Simultaneously, federal and state agencies, working together, should use their authority over canal water quality to require that water be treated to reduce foodborne pathogens before being used in produce fields.

And the time to act is NOW!

One thought on “Feds response to Romaine E. coli deaths is to do nothing!

  1. It's all good says:

    “Did lettuce kill more Americans than undocumented immigrants?” (PolitiFact 1/15/19) https://www.politifact.com/facebook-fact-checks/statements/2019/jan/15/viral-image/did-lettuce-kill-more-americans-undocumented-immig/
    If the statement had used the word “food” rather than “lettuce,” it might well have been correct. (This is also a fuller description of what the FDA inspects anyway.)
    Meanwhile: Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb announced Monday that around 700 of the agency’s roughly 5,000 furloughed employees have agreed to come back and restart inspections that stopped with the federal government shutdown, which started on Dec. 22. “Tomorrow we will restart high-risk food inspections” He said. High-risk foods include cheese, other dairy products and some fresh produce. Lower-risk foods include baked goods.
    The FDA takes care of most of the country’s food supply, but meat and some egg products are inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. These inspectors are still on the job, the USDA said, but are working without pay. It’s because the law, as written by Congress, requires continuous USDA inspection.
    The FDA is required to inspect facilities that handle high-risk foods every three years. Facilities handling foods not deemed high-risk must be inspected every five years. https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/fda-resume-food-safety-inspections-tuesday-n958631

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