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The hazard characterization analyzes the magnitude of the risk (i.e., the severity and duration of adverse effects), using reports of foodborne disease caused by unintentional contamination. Such reports are relevant to an analysis of both inadvertently and deliberately introduced hazards, because many of the pathogens that historically have been linked to unintentional food contamination, such as E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella spp., were identified by the CDC as "critical" agents for food terrorism.
As part of those activities, FDA assessed the risk to, and vulnerability of, the U.S. food supply to an act of terrorism.(2) However, most of those assessments contain classified information. To promote transparency, FDA prepared this publicly available assessment of the risks to public health of a terrorist attack on the food supply and of serious illness due to inadvertent food contamination.
Most of the foodborne biological agents identified by CDC were classified as "Category B" agents because they are moderately easy to disseminate and cause moderate morbidity and low mortality. The Category B biological agents include Salmonella spp., Shigella dysenteriae, E. coli O157:H7, and ricin.
Originally posted by worldwatcher
sofi, you'd probably know this.. but is frozen spinach and homegrown spinach also a threat of having the ecoli bacteria or just the bagged stuff?
and no I don't think this is terror related, if Muslims extremists were to target our food supply, I doubt that spinach would be high on their list, Americans much rather eat junkfood than spinach, so meat, fast food, and junk food would probably be their choice of target.
CDC Advice for Consumers
The following is advice for consumers about this outbreak:
Currently, we are advising consumers to not eat any fresh spinach or salad blends containing fresh spinach that are consumed raw.
E. coli O157:H7 in spinach can be killed by cooking at 160° Fahrenheit for 15 seconds. (Water boils at 212° Fahrenheit.) If spinach is cooked in a frying pan, and all parts do not reach 160° Fahrenheit, all bacteria may not be killed. If consumers choose to cook the spinach, they should not allow the raw spinach to contaminate other foods and food contact surfaces, and they should wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling the spinach.
Persons who develop diarrhea after consuming fresh spinach or salad blends containing fresh spinach are urged to visit their health care provider and ask that their stool specimen be tested for E. coli O157.
Persons who ate fresh spinach or salad blends and feel well do not need to see a health care provider.
Originally posted by worldwatcher
and no I don't think this is terror related, if Muslims extremists were to target our food supply, I doubt that spinach would be high on their list,
Today, the United States and the Netherlands are among the largest commercial producers of spinach.
Originally posted by snafu7700
anyone else think i'm on to something, or am i just delusional?
The agency does not consider the current contamination deliberate.
“There is always a question in the back of our mind whether it may have been a deliberate attack on the food supply,” said Dr. David Acheson of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Currently, there is nothing in the epidemiology to consider this deliberate.”
State and federal officials have traced the current outbreak to a California company’s fresh spinach, but they have not pinpointed the source of the bacteria that have killed one person and sickened at least 113.
Just 10 months before fresh spinach started sending people to the hospital, state and federal officials warned Salinas Valley growers and packers to clean up their act after a decade of deadly E. coli bacteria breakouts.
In November 2005, the FDA sent a letter to growers, packers, processors and shippers warning them to improve produce safety.
In 2004 and again in 2005, the FDA's top food safety official warned California farmers they needed to do more to increase the safety of the fresh leafy greens they grow.
"In light of continuing outbreaks, it is clear that more needs to be done," the FDA's Robert Brackett wrote in a Nov. 4, 2005, letter.
Suggested actions included discarding any produce that comes into contact with floodwaters. Rivers and creeks in the Salinas watershed are known to be periodically contaminated with E. coli, Brackett said.
This letter is intended to make you aware of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) serious concern with the continuing outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with the consumption of fresh and fresh-cut lettuce and other leafy greens. We also outline below what we plan to do and the actions that we expect your industry will take to enhance the safety of these products.
On February 5, 2004, FDA issued a letter to the lettuce and tomato industries to make them aware of our concerns regarding continuing outbreaks associated with these two commodities and to encourage these industries to review their practices in light of FDA's GAPs/GMPs guidance and other available guidance.
Originally posted by Relentless
I am more suspicious about the reports on the news regarding the organic nature of the spinach, everytime they air an update they show a bag of spinach clearly marked organic.
Originally posted by timski
Just a far-flung thought here, but have there been any scientific reports from the bio-tech industries creating GM pathogen resistant spinach/salad-leaf crops? Now would be an ideal opportunity to introduce them into the market, after a national health-scare involving 'organically grown' produce