Wondering about wild grapes

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wondering about Food Poisonings

We are, or should be, very careful when handling raw meats when preparing a meal. This has been taught to us since we were kids. But what about raw vegetables? We eat a lot of raw vegetables at my house. I love salads and like to have a huge variety of stuff in them. Maybe I am playing Russian roulette.

Just in the last few years there have been recalls on packaged lettuce and salad mixes, not just meat like this recent ground turkey recall. So it doesn’t seem to matter if it is animal or vegetable, we have to be careful.

Let us look at one of my favorite salad ingredients, bean sprouts. Just this spring, Europe had a serious outbreak of food poisoning that was traced to bean sprouts. Almost 4000 people were infected and 752 suffered kidney failure.

Do you think that is an isolated incident? Since 1996 there have been 30 food borne illness outbreaks associated with bean sprouts. That doesn’t sound that bad, does it? Well yes, that means in the last 15 years the average has been two outbreaks a year and that is a considerable amount.

Another one of my favorite things is salsa and guacamole. Last year, 1 in 25 was the proportion of food-poisoning outbreaks in restaurants that could be traced to these two things. So maybe we should skip the veggies and go with the meat. . .

Some of the above information came out of the Sept. 2011 issue of Discover magazine.

You all have a good day now and don’t forget to eat your veggies.


  1. Make your own bean sprouts and the worry is minimized.
    My meat is not prepackaged and is cut while I watch. It has never been frozen.
    Vegis I get from my own garden I eat dirt and all but anything that comes from a market is scrubbed throughly. that is about all you can do. We get a lot of local produce in season and I scrub it too.
    I try not to buy any pre-packaged food. If I can't pick over the potatoes, tomatoes and other produce I don't buy.
    I am fortunate in that I live where food grows.

  2. Hi Dizzy. Old Fool said it all. But knowing it doesn't keep me from eating anything in town except Chinese food where they throw in Monosodium Glutimate causes my blood pressure to skyrocket.

    Tracing foodborne outbreaks has become a lot more efficient during the past 25 years. Likely the number of outbreaks involving all manner of food products hasn't increased percentage-wise, so much as the ability to isolate what it was people became ill from. It came as a huge surprise to the entire community of people concerned with such things with a series botulism deaths across the country were eventually traced to a midwest eating place selling individual jalapeno peppers pickled in a gallon jar.

    Similarly, the first time anyone ever heard of anyone getting sick from macaroni and cheese involved 135 kids eating it prepared in a school lunchroom in Round Rock, Texas early in the 1980s. Immaculate place, concientious food workers. But it was mixed in a huge vat, two of the women [identified by nasal swabs and lab tests] had staph infections, one of which was the same as the staph identified in stool specimens from some hospitalized kids.

    Slow cooling time at the center of the mass of macaroni was the culprit, changed all manner of ways of handling large quantities of potentially innocuolated food items.

    Before that event there's no estimating how many got sick across the country without it ever being identified as a source.

    Life's a dangerous place. Always has been.

  3. Oldfool, When I want spouts I usually grow them myself, but that doesn't eliminate the danger. The moisture and the temperature required to grow them can grow bad stuff, too. Now that the pig is gone, and if we get rain before next year, I may try to plant a garden.

    Sofar, Living is hazardous to your health.

  4. Yeah, Dizzy, but a man wouldn't get much prospecting done worrying about it. I always figured I'd slip and break a leg in some canyon nobody knew I was in and spend my last hours or days thinking about all the food poisoning I might have died of if I'd spent my time not going into canyons.

    Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, I reckons, only Tweedle Dee gets the prize in my life.

  5. Back when I used to cook a LOT and make my own sauza, I kept a small spray bottle of food grade antiseptic. Just spray it lightly wipe it off with paper towel and you good to do. You can also do the same thing with plain ole Alcohol.
    I got the tip from the Hospice care nurses when Ann was down and on Chemo

  6. Well wild animals get into gardens and do their business so just wash your veggies good and don't waste time worrying about what if.

  7. Sofar, how did you know I love to prospect. I am even a member of the GPAA (Gold Prospectors Association of Americs)

    Ben, the salsa problams were in reteraunts were the chance of cross contamination is higher.

    Frann, manure makes the best fertalizer but I used to only use it in my compost pile.

  8. Hi Dizzy: Saw it on your profile and blogroll [thanks for tipping me to some interesting sites]. The old guy in Deming had a drywasher on one of his older posts I might try to build something like. I used to be a GPAA member. Even wrote something for their mag back in the 1990s.