The Great Hall
E Coli Outbreak! The Great Hall: E Coli Outbreak!
By Kinglear (Kinglear) on Saturday, September 16, 2006 - 03:47 pm: Edit

What adjustments are all of you making to deal with the recall of bagged spinach due to e coli contamination?
Do you think this will spread to affect other prewashed bagged fresh greens?
Personally, I'm going back to buying bulk and washing it mayself.

By Chefgibz0 (Chefgibz0) on Saturday, September 16, 2006 - 08:54 pm: Edit

Here at the Resort we have suspended all use of spinach and wild greens use. We have kept the salads in place but have replaced with Boston Bibb and red leaf and such. Customers do not seem to mind so much right now.

By Mr_Cook (Mr_Cook) on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - 05:37 am: Edit

Common sense seems to indicate to not serve any spinach for the next month or so. Locating the source will be very difficult. It seems that as a culture and as professionals we have made the trade-off for variety over locally seasonal and the result is that the typical item in a supermarket (& wholesaler) has traveled 1600 miles (on average) to get there.
Here is a link to a couple of very informative and interesting online videos (from the Association of Food and Drug Officals (AFDO) that deal with the basics of food insprection and investigation: Inside a Food Laboratory and also Mock Investigation

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Wednesday, September 20, 2006 - 02:32 am: Edit

I don't understand how it can still be eaten, cooked.
Like in soup and quiche'
that would still freak me out.
where does this e coli come from and how does it get started.
I assumed, stupid of me I'll admit, that it comes from humans.
Just seems that there is more crap out there, like this stuff lately.
In fact, this is the first time I have ever seen it with food.

By Mr_Cook (Mr_Cook) on Wednesday, September 20, 2006 - 06:47 am: Edit

Mr. Chef Spike -
I agree with you about the dubiouness of eating it even if cooked.
The strain of e coli involved with this outbreak is the same potent strain that made Jack-In-The-Box infamous years ago.With the spinach it seems the food chain is so long and complex that locating the "injection point" of the bacteria will be imposssible, but the public will probably be given some type of answer, 100% true or not.

Right now water somehow seems to be indicated as the point of entry or gateway for the bacteria.

If you are interested in the subject an excellent way to keep up, informed and educated is to join the Foodsafe Discussion Group ListServ

Below iin green is one of the messages posted on the Listserv and emailed to all subscribers:
At the last IAFP conference, there were a few presentations looking at
the E. coli/lettuce outbreak in the US last Oct. That outbreak also
originated from Salinas, California. According to the presentations,
part of the problem may be contributed by the mostly immigrant farm
workers in the area, and the lack of toilet and handwashing facilities
in the field while harvesting. There need to be better food safety
training in their language. There were also a few flooding that may have
contributed to the problem.

The second part of the story would be the internalization of pathogens.
The bagged lettuce was triple washed, twice with chlorine solution.
However, if the E. coli have been internalized, external washing is not
going to help. Internalization can occur with bruises, cuts or through
the calyx in fruits. Studies have also demonstrated that pathogens
(Salmonella and E. coli) can be internalized through root uptake or when
the fruit/veg are submerged in cold water for rinsing. One study found
when (warm) tomato from the field was submerged in dye water or water
with Salmonella that was 15C colder than the plant. 6% of the tomatoes
showed internal uptake of the dye or the pathogen.

If internalization occurred through handling, irrigation water etc,
nothing afterwards will help.

Nelson Fok
Associate Director
Environmental Public Health
Capital Health
Edmonton, Alberta

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Wednesday, September 20, 2006 - 08:20 pm: Edit

Thank You. That does help.

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