business news in context, analysis with attitude

Forbes reports that “experts and data suggest Americans' trust in the safety of their fruits and vegetables may be a little misplaced - just one of many misconceptions people have about food safety and food-borne disease.

According to the story, a new study by the Harvard School of Public Health says that far more Americans – about eight out of 10 - think that foods such as raw fish and insufficiently cooked hamburgers than believe that fruits and vegetables pose a food safety threat (just 36 percent).

However, the story reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “found that between 1990 and 2003, the foods most commonly linked to outbreaks with identified causes were seafood (899) followed by produce (554), then poultry (476), beef (438) and eggs (329).

And the hits keep coming. Forbes writes that “while washing off produce is a good precaution, it won't necessarily safeguard you from a food-borne illness. Nor will only buying locally grown fruits and vegetables from the farmers' market … At the farm level, produce can be contaminated in a variety of ways, including contact with untreated manure, infected or polluted water, workers with poor hygiene habits or unclean storage or transportation facilities … While local farms may use less transportation and fewer workers, the chances for contamination are still there. And since fresh produce is, of course, uncooked, anything that comes into contact with it can taint it. Once E. coli or Salmonella gets inside a leafy green, tomato or sprout, it's hard to get rid of it.”

KC's View:
Traceability. Transparency. The case for both is compelling, and I simply do not understand why some people and organizations resist.