Thursday, May 10, 2018

Zapping lettuce

The news notes an EColi epidemic from Arizona lettuce. They aren't sure if it is from dirty hands, dirty packaging, or dirty water.

In the past, we grew organic lettuce in greenhouses and washed the individual leaves with chlorox water then rinsed them with water and let them in the open to dry before we packed them as salads.

But that doesn't always work, obviously, because the germ can hide inside.

There is a way to sterilize lettuce (and meat etc): Zap them with gamma rays.

2011 article from AP:

The Food and Drug Administration approved irradiation for raw spinach and lettuce three years ago, saying it safely killed germs and lengthened shelf life 

Zapping salad fixings with just a bit of radiation can kill dangerous E. coli and other bacteria — and food safety experts say Europe's massive outbreak shows wary consumers should give the long-approved step a chance... 
(it can be done) without harming texture, taste or nutrients. But it didn't catch on, and the grocery producers group, which wants more salad ingredients OK'd for irradiation, blames both consumer wariness and a technical issue. 

yes, even though the radiation goes right thru the food and doesn't make it radioactive, the clueless are wary. And of course I am sure the anti tech "Greens" will make a fuss and then start blaming the radiation on lettuce for causing neurotic women to have symptoms.

(an observation, not a criticism: I have all sorts of aches and pains and nervousness and allergies made worse with certain foods and preservatives, but big deal: take an anti histamine and voila no problem. But then I was trained into the stiff upper lip mindset by my German mother).

Of course, the hysteria will only come if they publicize it.

It's sort of like a town that announced they were adding Fluoride to their water, and after a month was bombarded with all sorts of complaints.... and then the town announced that the Flouride hadn't been added yet due to technical difficulties...

So if you want to get hysterical and decide all your problems are due to radiated lettuce, you are a little late:

Irradiated meat has been around for years, particularly ground beef that is a favorite hiding spot for E. coli. About 15 million to 18 million pounds of U.S. ground beef are irradiated every year, say

Speaking of food poisoning: Factoid of the day:

there was once a bioterror attack against humans in the USA: when an Oregon cult tried to poison lettuce so people would be too sick to vote against their candidate.

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