FDA chief focuses on produce safety

Dr. Margaret Hamburg, the new chief of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said a couple of weeks ago she was going to focus on preventing contamination of fresh fruit and vegetables.

That’s good, because this year has brought a new crop of unrealistic expectations about the microbial safety of fresh produce, created primarily by the largest producer of fresh produce, California.

While the industry is busy blowing itself over the steps it finally took after the 29th outbreak involving leafy greens, a cone of silence has apparently fallen over any outbreak involving fresh produce. How hard is it to traceback lettuce? Apparently that depends on who wants to know the answer.

Meanwhile, a bunch of Taco Bell franchisees won damages from their insurance company over a 2006 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak involving California bagged lettuce when the judge ruled that the lettuce should be considered an ingredient, which would be covered by the policy, instead of a product, which would not be covered.

The Onion, in this satirical-but-a-little-to-close-to-reality piece, has the perfect solution for Taco Bell.

Taco Bell’s New Green Menu Takes No Ingredients From Nature