Michelle Obama promotes fresh produce; how about microbiologically safe produce?

The New York Times continues the fascination with all things Obama this morning as it reports on First Lady Michelle’s focus on fresh produce.

“You know, we want to make sure our guests here and across the nation are eating nutritious items. Collect some fruits and vegetables; bring by some good healthy food. We can provide this kind of healthy food for communities across the country, and we can do it by each of us lending a hand.”

In a speech at the Department of Agriculture last month, Mrs. Obama described herself as “a big believer” in community gardens that provide “fresh fruits and vegetables for so many communities across this nation and world.”

I am too. Brought the seedlings in yesterday as a temporary cold snap hit Kansas, but the greens and asparagus will soon be sprouting from the family garden. I also know fresh produce is also the biggest source of foodborne illness today in the U.S. That’s because it’s fresh, and anything that comes into contact has the potential to contaminate.

So, yeah Michelle, promote the produce, but organic and local do not mean safe. Play up those producers who responsibly manage microbial risks. And if you’re going to put your kids dining habits front and center, you really don’t want them barfing.

Kristen Schaal, otherwise known as Mel from Flight of the Conchords, offered her take on First Lady Michelle last night on the Daily Show.