The recent spinach-borne E. coli outbreak that sickened nearly 200 Americans does not mean that the United States has been lax in trying to improve food safety, reports the Southern Illinoisian. Rather, it means that there is more work to be done.
Sickness caused by spinach grown in essentially one California location spread to nearly half of all states within just a few days of the first case being reported. Such are the risks when large agricultural operations are efficient, in part, because of their ability to quickly distribute food – be it produce, meat or seafood – to all corners of the country.
The solution is not to slow down the delivery of food or restrict distribution patterns, says the Southern Illinoisian. The answer is, in part, to do more mandatory inspection and record keeping of all foods, similar to changes the U.S. Department of Agriculture already has made in the handling of beef and poultry, adjustments that have contributed to the declining rates of E. coli and salmonella in the past decade.