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Old 06-27-2020, 08:55 PM
 
1,747 posts, read 888,458 times
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I'm honestly not sure if this should be here or in Health/Wellness, but I figure foodies would be more up on this sort of thing (and since I now can't bring myself to eat a strawberry because of you all!!) :

https://www.fda.gov/food/outbreaks-f...lads-june-2020

Another recall of lettuce. Seems to happen so often, and I don't recall it happening so much in the past (do correct me if I'm wrong - have I just missed decades and decades of this?). But in the last 10 years there seems to be lots of illnesses from lettuce. I never had a problem myself until the past 2 (or less) years when I got sick twice from lettuce from a grocery store. (During the same time, I also got sick from takeout Chinese twice, as did a friend who shared one of those meals with me - that restaurant is off my list!)

I can only recall one or two stories of such food problems in my life....one was in the early 90s, from a restaurant in my area and it made for big news in the papers (many customers got sick). Then there was the whole taco bell fiasco in the mid-2000s too.

Just recently I started getting bagged salads again (I don't trust the loose stuff either!) after being so turned off by lettuces because I got sick twice. I used to LOVE a big tossed salad. And happily so, as the list of veggies I like is slim. (Like maybe a dozen or so). I want to eat my veggies....and I want to eat them raw...but I'm really being turned off by the whole thing lately...and beginning to think I'll just have to cook everything.

Is it just that I'm noticing things more now, or has there really been an uptick in this problem?
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Old 06-28-2020, 05:13 AM
 
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a lot of factors play into this

there's a huge tracking system now. Where before cases in disparate regions wouldn't be tied together, now the distribution systems can track the lettuces back to the field they were grown

Because of the mono-culture and huge growing fields, any contamination in the water supply used to irrigate the fields affects the whole field

lettuces cannot be machine harvested, so human workers paid by the pound (not by the hour) don't leave the fields for bathroom breaks, which gets into that water supply

It's very easy to grow your own lettuce, though. Get a bag of potting soil and some seeds, punch a few drainage holes on on side of the potting soil bag, flip it over and cut a large rectangle out of the top (not all the way to the sides, it will act like a big lasagna pan of dirt) and plant your seeds. After about 3 weeks, you can cut the lettuce and it will come back a couple of times before it has to be completely pulled and replanted. Get 3-4 bags and stagger your plantings and you can have salads every night
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Old 06-28-2020, 06:26 AM
 
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I imagine the tightened border and deportations play a part. The farm owners can’t be as selective about who they hire since the labor supply is so limited.
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Old 06-28-2020, 08:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weezycom View Post
a lot of factors play into this

there's a huge tracking system now. Where before cases in disparate regions wouldn't be tied together, now the distribution systems can track the lettuces back to the field they were grown

Because of the mono-culture and huge growing fields, any contamination in the water supply used to irrigate the fields affects the whole field

lettuces cannot be machine harvested, so human workers paid by the pound (not by the hour) don't leave the fields for bathroom breaks, which gets into that water supply

It's very easy to grow your own lettuce, though. Get a bag of potting soil and some seeds, punch a few drainage holes on on side of the potting soil bag, flip it over and cut a large rectangle out of the top (not all the way to the sides, it will act like a big lasagna pan of dirt) and plant your seeds. After about 3 weeks, you can cut the lettuce and it will come back a couple of times before it has to be completely pulled and replanted. Get 3-4 bags and stagger your plantings and you can have salads every night

Well, tracking causing the knowledge to be disbursed makes sense, but the other two (huge growing fields and no machine harvesting) have been true all my life (there was the salad bowl strike in 1970).


So we just "know" now where we didn't before?



Re: growing my own....I don't have enough sun in my yard to do so...I suppose I could get an aero-garden, if it would produce enough for one person to eat almost daily? But I don't want to invest in some indoor system larger than that. But your instructions are very cool...never would have thought of it. I guess you meant for the bag to be outside? I suppose with grow lights it could be done inside? Although the aero-garden appeals to me more...just put it on the counter. I could see the bag idea becoming a mess indoors.
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Old 06-28-2020, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Eureka CA
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WE've never been sick from lettuce. You need to find another source.
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Old 06-28-2020, 02:50 PM
 
Location: North Idaho
25,215 posts, read 33,132,889 times
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Because the people who harvest and process are not sanitary and because buyers don't wash adequately before eating it.
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Old 06-28-2020, 03:53 PM
 
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Well, that's clear....but is it a new thing, or has it always been happening and I just didn't know.
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Old 06-28-2020, 03:59 PM
 
9,396 posts, read 5,643,041 times
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Bagged lettuce/salads are more risky because 1) they are handled more during processing than lettuce which is simply cut and sold as a whole, untouched head. More processing = more opportunities to become contaminated. Also, 2) people tend to assume that since it's been "washed" and bagged, it's clean and doesn't need more washing.

So more outbreaks happen as more people move from fresh unbagged produce to bagged produce.

You're better off buying a whole head of lettuce and washing it. It's more trouble and may result in more waste, if you have been buying tiny bagged salads, but it's safer.
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Old 06-28-2020, 05:16 PM
 
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That all makes sense also. But there was bagged lettuce long ago too.

Why is it more prevalent today? Or is it? (Is it just tracing ability?)

I guess the boiled down question is:

Are we failing hygiene TODAY and not so much yesterday......or, do we just have more information today?

Grosser today or more news availability?

I get the reasons for WHY lettuce can be sickening. I know why. And that's not what I'm asking.

So far, weeze is the only responder who offered something that would seem to answer the NOW vs. THEN question: the ability to trace.

I'm thinking too, that tracing, as well as much greater access to news, may be the reason we hear so much more about recalls than in the past.

I guess as I write that I realize we can't know the answer....because we would only have heard of local recalls via local papers/news. Might have been just as bad in the past.

Well, stream of consciousness now tells me that there is no way to know.

I'm going to look into growing my own indoors.
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Old 06-28-2020, 05:20 PM
 
Location: Middle Tennessee
206,807 posts, read 79,984,636 times
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I never buy bagged. Only good whole heads that can have outer leaves stripped away and then washed. Never ever had a problem with lettuce or any other vegetable. Washing is the key and buying fresh.
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