E. coli

How E Coli Entered Our Food System

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I am a chef and food activist but admittedly not a scientist.  Still there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that e coli entered our food system via genetically modified seeds, specifically corn.

e coliTo make corn that was resistant to their “Round Up” weed killer, Monsanto Chemical Company developed a way of changing the genetic structure of corn so that “Round Up” wouldn’t hurt it.  The way they got the genetic modifications into the seed germ was to piggyback it on an obscure bacteria found in feces and soil.  That bacteria was e coli.  This is a well known and well documented story that has been mentioned in documentaries like King Corn and Food Inc. Monsanto does not deny that they use e coli in their GM products but they do deny that it is connected to the outbreaks of the past few decades.  The time line of outbreaks corresponds perfectly with the introduction of GM seed into the food system.

Cows are fed this e coli laced GM corn.  Corn is not a natural food for cattle therefore it takes their stomachs longer to digest than it would natural foods like grass or hay.  A cow’s stomachs (they have four of them) are the absolute best breeding ground for e coli reproduction.  Now the bovine scat is teeming with the deadly bacteria; this scat is then sold as fertilizer all over the world.  That is how it finds its way to produce like spinach, cilantro and sprouts.  Since these foods are commonly eaten raw there is no heat application to kill the e coli microbes.

As far as prevention of e coli dosing simply spray all of your produce with a combination of water and white vinegar.  The vinegar will kill most any bacteria including salmonella and e coli. From the The Vinegar Institute:

Add 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar to 1 pint water and use to wash fresh fruits and vegetables, then rinse thoroughly.

E coli symptoms according to WebMD:

  • Severe stomach cramps and stomach tenderness.
  • Diarrhea, watery at first, but often becoming very bloody.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

Seriously, USDA – A Food Safety Mobile?

The USDA has come up with a brilliant plan to help consumers survive the next salmonella outbreak.  It’s called the Food Safety Mobile.  The goal of this roving banana of knowledge is to bring safe food handling skills to the masses.  Because after all, these USDA Food Safety Truckconstant outbreaks aren’t the result of questionable farming practices by Big Ag companies but rather the fault of the American people for recklessly choosing to eat their lettuce raw.

This is yet another sign that USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and his cronies are completely unqualified for the job.  Vilsack is not a farmer, nutritionist, doctor, chef or scientist.  He is a lobbyist, specifically a lobbyist for Monsanto.  That’s why he and his staff continue to miss or ignore the fact that the problem is not with consumers cross contaminating their food but rather with factory-farming that is more factory than farm.  In short, Vilsack doesn’t get it.

The Food Safety Mobile is the heart of the USDA’s $1.37 billion push to teach Americans how to wash fruit.  In addition to the traveling roadshow the program also maintains a toll-free hotline for your food safety questions providing assistance in both English and Spanish and an online chat.  Both are available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.  Oh, and I would be remiss not to mention the youtube channel, food handling demos, coloring books and of course the Food Safety Mobile Discovery Game.

This is such a waste of tax payer dollars.  Hey, Mr. Vilsack, here’s a thought – instead of buying a million dollar lunch truckFood Safety Mobile how about not imposing dangerously lax regulations on genetically modified foods in exchange for campaign contributions for your boss?  That way you could save the over-taxed and ignored citizenry a nickle or two.  Not to mention how it would help clean up one of the most corrupt branches of the federal government.

You can take a virtual tour of the USDA’s Food Safety Mobile HERE but be warned – the decor has been known to trigger epileptic seizures.  You’d think a billion dollars could by an interior that doesn’t look like Walt Disney threw up.

Lettuce recall expands as FDA investigates E. coli

By MARY CLARE JALONICK Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) – A recall of romaine lettuce that has sickened students with E. coli poisoning is expanding as the government tries to find out where the contamination occurred.

The Food and Drug Administration said late Monday that a food distributor in Moore, Okla., is recalling romaine lettuce that came from the same farm in Yuma, Ariz., that grew lettuce that sickened students in Michigan, Ohio and New York. Ohio-based Freshway Foods announced a 23-state recall of romaine lettuce last week related to those outbreaks.

At least 19 people have been sickened in connection with the E. coli outbreaks, which come from a rare strain of the disease that is difficult to diagnose. Officials at the federal Centers for Disease Control say they are looking at an additional 10 probable cases of E. coli poisoning from tainted lettuce.

READ THE REST

FDA Recall of Romaine Lettuce

Thanks Monsanto for using e coli to genetically modify corn thus introducing it to the food system.  Thanks Michael Taylor (FDA) for making sure Monsanto’s GM corn made it into the food system without being tested.  Thanks Tom Vilsack (USDA) for flying around on a Monsanto jet for 30 years convincing us there was nothing wrong with GM corn when you knew it wasn’t safe.  Ooh, and a special thank you to President Barrack Obama for turning the nation’s food safety over to these guys in exchange for campaign contributions.

FDA News Release


For Immediate Release: May 6, 2010
Media Inquiries: Michael Herndon 301-796-4673, Michael.Herndon@fda.hhs.gov
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

FDA Supports Freshway Foods Voluntary Recall of Lettuce

Freshway Foods of Sidney, Ohio, announced today a voluntary recall of certain romaine lettuce products because of the possible connection between the recalled romaine lettuce and an outbreak of foodborne disease. FDA supports this action by Freshway Foods. The outbreak, which is still under investigation, involves cases in Michigan, Ohio, and New York of illnesses due to infection with E. coli O145, a harmful bacteria.

On May 5, 2010, the New York state Public Health Laboratory, Wadsworth Center, in Albany reported finding E. coli O145 in an unopened bag of Freshway Foods shredded romaine lettuce being recalled.

A Freshway Foods press release says the recalled shredded romaine lettuce was sold to wholesalers, food service outlets, and some in-store salad bars and delis in the following areas: Alabama, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Symptoms of infection with harmful E. coli may range from none to mild diarrhea to severe complications. The acute symptoms include severe abdominal cramps and diarrhea, which may be bloody. Patients may progress to serious complications, such as kidney damage. FDA and CDC encourage anyone with the symptoms listed to contact his or her health care provider immediately.

The recalled shredded romaine lettuce has a “best if used by” date of May 12 or earlier. The Freshway Foods press release advises restaurants, distributors, and retailers to throw out or refrain from using shredded romaine lettuce from Freshway Foods with these “use by” dates. Additionally, Freshway Foods is advising consumers not to eat “grab and go” salads sold in-store salad bars and delis at Kroger, Giant Eagle, Ingles Markets, and Marsh stores.

Shredded romaine lettuce from Freshway Foods with “use by” dates after May 12 are not involved in this voluntary recall. Romaine lettuce and other types of lettuce and leafy greens from other producers are also not affected by this recall.

Multiple lines of evidence have implicated shredded romaine lettuce from one processing facility as a source of infections in a multistate outbreak to which this recall may be related.

To date, 19 confirmed cases of E. coli O145 illnesses have been reported from Michigan, Ohio, and New York. These illnesses include 12 individuals who have been hospitalized, and three with a potentially life threatening complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS is a serious condition in which the body’s blood-clotting mechanisms are altered, causing blocked circulation or bleeding in the brain or kidneys.

The evidence includes preliminary results of product traceback investigations that indicate:

  • The shredded romaine lettuce consumed by ill persons in three states originated from one processing facility
  • preliminary results of a case-control study in one state that found a statistically significant association between E. coli O145 infection
  • and ingestion of lettuce from the same processing facility; and recovery of E. coli O145 from an unopened package of shredded romaine lettuce from the same processing facility that was obtained from a food service entity associated with the outbreak.

For more information on the outbreak of foodborne illness to which this recall may be related, please see http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/ . The FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state public health officials in Michigan, New York, and Ohio continue to investigate that outbreak and will provide updates as more information is available.

For more information on foodborne illness: http://www.foodsafety.gov.

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Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
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2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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