This is a public service announcement, because the impact of proper food safety practices is so vast.
We are greatly concerned by the information being given by thought leaders in the produce and food safety world regarding the efficacy of water alone in cleaning produce. Based on data from FDA.gov and journals such as the Journal of Science and Sustainable Development, it is clear that water and even chlorinated water show much lower than a 1 log reduction of bacteria. This has been corroborated by our own third party studies with Earthbound Farms, the Institute for Food Safety and Micro Quality labs. Erroneous information was given on a conference call that I participated on recently with a well-known food safety organization stating that leafy greens are not a produce item that requires special handling with regards to people with cancer and other autoimmune deficiencies. However, according to published reports from the FDA of outbreaks, leafy green are the number one riskiest foods.
With the growth of fruit and vegetable juicing, raw foods and vegan/vegetarian diets gaining popularity, people are consuming more and more fresh produce with more chances of getting food borne illness if produce isn’t washed properly. It was also stated that the FDA recommends washing with water alone, even though the log reduction is minimal.
This leads us to our point. We need to start advising the general public in a way that protects their health. We don’t wash our hands with water alone. We don’t wash our clothes with water alone. Why would the tap water that we don’t even drink most of the time be a sufficient cleanser on its own? There are a lot of ‘home made’ recipes for produce washes on line but have these been validated? There is clearly a concern regarding produce safety but as a company, we have the responsibility of helping to educate consumers and food handlers and the information available to the general public is extremely conflicted.
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest based on FDA data collected from 1996-2006, these are the top 10 riskiest foods and note, 50% are produce items:
#10:BERRIES: 25 outbreaks involving 3397 reported cases of illness
#9: SPROUTS: 31 outbreaks involving 2022 reported cases of illness
#8: TOMATOES: 31 outbreaks involving 3292 reported cases of illness
#7: ICE CREAM: 74 outbreaks involving 2594 reported cases of illness
#6: CHEESE: 83 outbreaks involving 2761 reported cases of illness
#5: POTATOES: 108 outbreaks involving 3659 reported cases of illness
#4: OYSTERS: 132 outbreaks involving 3409 reported cases of illness
#3: TUNA: 268 outbreaks involving 2341 reported cases of illness
#2: EGGS: 352 outbreaks involving 11,163 reported cases of illness
#1: LEAFY GREENS: 363 outbreaks involving 13,568 reported cases of illness
Food safety is a real concern.
In the last two years…
- 50 deaths, over 3,000 reported illness from E.coli outbreak associated with fresh Sprouts (Germany), the deadliest recorded outbreak in world history
- 29 deaths in 28 states and a reported miscarriage from Listeria in Cantaloupes. The second deadliest recorded U.S. outbreak in terms of the number of deaths on record
- Contaminated papaya was the cause of Salmonella food poisoning in 23 states; 10 people were hospitalized
- Salmonella cantaloupe affected 20 states, killed two people and hospitalized over 140 people
- Over 317 persons infected with antibiotic-resistant strains of Salmonella from contaminated chicken. 42% of ill persons were hospitalized.
DATA SUPPORTS WATER ISN’T ENOUGH. So WHY is that the recommended mode of washing produce?
Even the writer at barfblog.com is scratching his head wondering what to tell people. You can read his post HERE.
Based on our third party data, we are able to reduce bacteria load by washing away up to 99.99%, while removing pesticide residue and wax too. Rinsing is not enough. Let’s Eat Cleaner, everyday.