Sure, E. coli can slither into our food system in myriad ways. But listen to the Columbus, Ohio, Public Health spokesperson in this video. Officials are spending hours tracking cases and the origin of the bacteria that people have ingested from eating Romaine lettuce.
As of today, it “has sickened at least 19 people, three of them with life-threatening symptoms,” according to the Associated Press. The FDA is focusing its investigation on lettuce grown in Arizona as a possible source for the outbreak. According to a USDA press release, the recall includes romaine lettuce products sold by Freshway Foods for food service outlets, wholesale, and in-store retail salad bars and delis in a number of states east of the Mississippi river. It seems that most of the people who have gotten sick ate the lettuce at restaurants or institutions, such as universities.
All the more reason to buy local and know your farmers. Local produce is fresher and healthier because it doesn’t sit in warehouses for days or weeks. Plus, you know who you’re buying from. You can ask questions about the way the food is grown. There’s a certain accountability that gets factored in when farmers meet consumers face-to-face, as opposed to a factory farm that grows Romaine lettuce and ships it across the country.
Why not ask your local restaurant where they source their produce the next time you go for a meal?