I just heard on the news that there has been a recall of romaine lettuce associated with an e coli outbreak that has 12 people hospitalized, two in critical condition. This frustrates me on so many levels. First, I am frustrated because e coli is so dangerous. It is not the "bad stomach bug" most people think it is. It is a deadly infection that, in children especially, often causes something called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome or HUS. This is scary stuff, folks. Basically, the body's systems begin to shut down, one at a time and may or may not start working again. Hospitalization lasts for MONTHS. I understand why the media does not explain how deadly e coli can be - if they did it would shut down our food growing and distribution industry. But still, it frustrates me that it is portrayed so lightly.
I am also frustrated that our congress will most likely "respond" by passing legislation that does not actually help anything, and might actually make things worse. This sort of problem is caused by large scale industrial agriculture-farmers who do not have to look their customers in the eyes; farmers who must compete on price alone, so they must cut corners elsewhere just to keep from going under. These kinds of things rarely happen in small scale farming, so why does our government try to solve the problems by tying the hands of the small farmer?
I'm also frustrated because this kind of thing makes me more scared to buy from the grocery store. My garden is small this year and the farmer's market is still not offering much in the way of produce; mostly just lettuce and strawberries, for which I am very grateful. But, thank God we are in May and last year the farmer's market had more fresh veggies and fruit than we could want by the beginning of June. Thank God!!
Stepping down off the soapbox, now.