Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Planting the seeds of change
The Northern California fields that produce much of the lettuce and spinach you're likely to eat this summer haven't been planted yet. The seeds go in the ground in less than 60 days - time farmers still need to determine how to best prevent a repeat of last year's deadly bacteria outbreaks linked to their crops. The problem-solving is becoming contentious.

In mid-January, farmers, hoping to control their own fate through self-regulation, met to hash out a plan for better safety standards. A state senator dissatisfied with that plan presented bills last week that would give the state control. The federal government spoke out last week, too. In a highly critical report, the Government Accountability Office described the nation's food safety measures as "inconsistent" and "ineffective." The president's 2008 budget calls for $341 million for the Food and Agriculture Defense Initiative, an increase of $19 million, or almost 6 percent more money compared with 2007 spending.

But how can that be done when farmers and even top scientists don't fully understand how bacteria such as E.coli, which can taint salad greens, operate?

"It's there one minute but it's gone the next," Dale Huss, a grower who helps manage a medium-size farm, said. "We're being asked to build metrics around something that is a phantasma."

A microscopic bio-ghost, but Huss is optimistic, kneeling into his soil to smell the dirt. It smells fresh - the kind, he says, that will grow a good crop. Huss says he knows the dirt is safe because it's routinely tested. But not all farms in California do that - just one example of a system with vulnerabilities and a new planting season looming.

What food safety issues concern you the most?
Just the fact that we have to fear a salad, fear a hamburger, fear a glass of water and for crying out loud even fear the icecubes in the soda may be tainted, doesn't speak well for our food safety. I hope it gets corrected soon. Russian Roulette, shouldn't be a choice when eating.
In a society ever more dependent on fast food and drive thru eating I am actually shocked that there are not many more cases of food poisoning and food related illnesses leading to death in the United States. As we all tend to do now and I again I walk in the local "fast & furious" burger bistro or drive thru and get the "grab & go" special. I eat it driving down the road and usually couldn't even tell you if it was what I actually ordered, was it half way cooked, or whether it used to "moo" or "cluck". I think we all tend to be that way. We are all so busy not only do we find it hard to stay healthy and fit but we find it almost impossible to worry about what might be contaminating our diet until it's too late...... People die, we all get a scare and then in a few weeks it's back to the same old dietary habits. Our fast paced society calls for fast fixed meals and the opportunity for us to become ill from the intake of all that quick cusine is tremendous.

Beware those microscopic bio ghost
May be hiding in your next beef roast!
E-Coli here, E-Coli there
Hiding in the most sumptious fare.
So be careful when you partake
Whether you broil, grill or bake.
That I have to fear pesticides, irradiation, genetically engineered & anything else they can think of to make money. I wish they'd just leave the food alone & go back to small farms all across the country. Let the government provide assistance so we can all eat organically.
I have faced blindness from a car accident almost 3 years ago, I missed that segment how can I find a write-up of it? This is a huge problem in my life. Oddly enough like the segment today (Thursday) about impostors, I see actors on TV and it seems like they are an impostor not actually who they are supposed to be. Basically no one looks exactly like I think they should even the ones I can tell apart, except for people I have known for years and years. I think the boy who is a savant, like me, might have parts of his brain that are just fine next to parts of his brain that do not work at all.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends -- info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. Please note that CNN makes reasonable efforts to review all comments prior to posting and CNN may edit comments for clarity or to keep out questionable or off-topic material. All comments should be relevant to the post and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying information via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.