A Classic Fox Watching the Hen House
By Consumers Union on Monday, September 21st, 2009
This weekend, Ippolito International, a signatory of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, announced a new recall of loose spinach, due to Salmonella contamination, that was distributed in 12 states and Canada. The recall comes just before a U.S. Department of Agriculture hearing on whether to take the California LGMA national as a model for assuring the safety of leafy greens. Consumers Union thinks this model is not the way to go, and will oppose a national USDA-sponsored LGMA in testimony this week in Monterrey, California.
These days, most people agree we have a food safety problem. An earlier case of contaminated spinach, which broke into the national media three years ago this month, was the first in a series of major national food safety crises, now including peanut butter, pistachios and cookie dough. In the 2006 spinach recall, 200 people were sickened across 26 states, 100 of those were hospitalized and three died. One of the three was two-year-old Kyle Algood of Chubbuck, Idaho. Tragically, his mother made him the smoothie that contained the raw spinach, wanting to give him some healthy food.
So far there have been no illnesses or deaths associated with this latest spinach recall. But the recall underlines the fact that we still have a ways to go before the nation’s food supply is as safe as it can and should be.
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