When I first heard the news about the spinach tainted with e.coli, I thought I was safe. I had just bought a large bin of salad greens, including spinach, from an organic grower named Earthbound Farm Organic. Then I read the names of labels affected by the epidemic, and--horrors!-- Earthbound Farm was one of the brands affected. Earthbound Farm's web site details what they intend to do to insure the integrity of their produce in the future. I feel myself greatly encouraged by the steps they will take, including the "firewall" of testing all their produce before accepting it.
Shunning spinach in the mean time, I again purchased some packaged romaine lettuce--this time the "Foxy" brand. The very next day, that brand of lettuce was recalled voluntarily as the producers seek to ensure no tainted produce is unwittingly fed to the public. Once again I find myself throwing out unopened bags of produce and feeling glad we have begun growing our own vegetables this year.
And now for a book review that you can file under the category of "EEeeewwwww!!!!" Yet this is truly a book worth reading. "Guess What Came To Dinner? Parasites and Your Health" is a slim volume packed with information we dare not ignore due to its unpleasant nature. The author is Ann Louise Gittleman, a highly respected nutritionist who has become a foremost teacher on the effects of toxicity and weight loss through cleansing the body, most especially the liver. Ms. Gittleman states that parasites are frequently undetected, undiagnosed, yet often the culprit in unexplained maladies and symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, gastro-intestinal problems, bloat, anxiety and depression. The American myth is that parasites are only an issue in third world countries or poverty stricken regions. But the increasing prevalence of travel to exotic locations, immigrants, the consumption of previously considered exotic foods, (sushi anyone?), as well as children being in day care centers, activities such as gardening and even the family pets such as dogs and cats... well, you get the picture. Parasites exist everywhere, and it behooves us to protect our clean water supply and use "common sense" when it comes to hygience.
I was a little freaked out when I read Gittleman's book. She even recommends a protocol of soaking foods in a water bath treated with Clorox bleach previous to consumption. At first I thought this was overkill. Now that I have thrown away two batches of potentially lethal produce I'm less skeptical. I haven't used the Clorox bath on the food yet... but I am considering it.
I have been planning on writing a book recommendation for "Parasites and Your Health" for some time now. Then this past week at the grocery store I saw this on the cover of "First" magazine: "Are Parasites Making You Fat? 1 in 3 Americans Are Affected." The article names Gittleman's book as well as other resources. Despite the alarmist title, I can't help but wonder if the obesity epidemic in our country is partly due to the toxic load of our water anad food supply--including parasites.
Like the old saying goes: "Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they aren't really out to get me." Well OK, maybe no one is targeting us. But my intuition tells me that Someone, Somewhere knows that dangerous agricultural practices are being utilized and the public is paying the price. Consumer beware... and whenever possible you might want to start a garden.
Kate over at Accidental Hedonist has more good reportage on the e.coli outbreak--it's worth reading.