Another Reason To 'Grow Your Own'

Okiedawn OK Zone 7May 31, 2011

Is it just me or does it seem like there's more and more contaminated produce in the food system every year? Of course, we've always had contaminated produce, but it seems that we're seeing more and more and I don't know why. How hard is it to wash produce? Maybe a lot of people don't bother washing it after they bring it home from the grocery store?

I've linked the "killer cucumber" story that we've seen unfolding in Europe for at least a couple of weeks now. It looks like they're now recommending people there avoid eating raw cukes, tomatoes and lettuce for a while until they get to the source of the contamination.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: European Cucumber/E. Coli Outbreak

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macmex

I've seen, first hand, workers in Mexico washing veggies in drainage water (partially treated waste water). Also, centralized distribution centers can be pretty dirty. People simply should never assume that produce is truly clean. It needs to be washed.

George

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 10:40AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

George,

I agree! This is just a horrible story. All the food is imported....originally they said from Spain and now from other places too, and you'd figure at the very least it was washed once after being picked, and surely washed again after arriving at its grocery store or market. Then, I'd assume whoever bought the food and prepared it would wash it again before cutting it and preparing it to be served. That would, one would assume, be three separate washings. Apparently, someone's not doing their job and washing that stuff as it makes its way from the grower to the consumer.

I find it hard to comprehend that people are getting such serious illnesses from what we must assume is unwashed or improperly washed produce. People are dying. It is just sad.

Dawn

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 9:15PM
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PunkinHeadJones(7)

I wash everything with Dawn anti bacterial even stuff I grow.The salad spinner is my good friend. Even things like cantelope which people don't think of because they don't eat the skin but the knive passes thru the skin and caries things into the flesh.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 10:05PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Punkinhead,

That's so true about knives carrying bacteria as they slice through the skin. I even double-wash everything I bring in from the garden. I wash it once before I put in the refrigerator, and a second time before I slice it or cook it or whatever. Sometimes, if it is something that's really dirty, I wash it outside with the garden hose, then bring it inside and wash it in the kitchen, and then wash it again at food prep time.

Well, except for bite-sized tomatoes that I pick and eat while working in the garden. Since I don't spray anything at all on my plants, I pick and eat the bite-sized tomatoes all day long without washing them....and will continue to do so until I discover it is making me ill--which it isn't. Of course, I don't eat them if they're dirty or dusty or something, which they rarely are because my garden is very well-mulched.

One of these days my DH will retire and will be home all the time, and he is going to be really shocked when he realizes how many cherry, grape, pear and currant sized tomatoes I eat endlessly while he is either at work or sleeping. I'll have to plant more plants then so he can eat his fair share while working in the garden. He's not as tomato-obsessed as I am though.

Dawn

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 10:52PM
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seedmama(7)

I never washed bananas until David Letterman commented on the sticky brown ooze sometimes found on the outside of the skin. Let's just call it waste matter. Now I wash everything, including unopened tin cans before I open them. Eewww.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 12:10AM
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greenacreslady(7)

I remember when I was little my mother telling us about a young man who became deathly ill, and although he recovered he had all kinds of awful complications and lasting effects from it. It was traced to eating contaminated lettuce. That story stuck with me and I think about it every time I wash lettuce. I know that to this day it's the reason I wash all produce carefully.

Suzie

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 12:18AM
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tracydr(9b)

I do believe in the last ten years we've had a lot more food related outbreaks. I think a lot of it has to do with practice of feeding livestock antibiotics routinely.
When I bought my chick feed, if I had not specified non-medicated, I would have been handed the kind with antibiotics.
Does that mean even people feeding just a few backyard chickens are now feeding them medicated growing rations?
Not to mention every pig and calf in the country is raised on medicated grain, milk replacer and so-forth. It's getting out of control!
No wonder all the bacterias are resistant and all our meat supplies have MRSA and resistant E.Coli and salmonella.
I once raised some bottle calves from a dairy that had 4 different bacteria that were all resistant to every antibiotic tested by OSU!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 10:23PM
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soonergrandmom

I make a special trip to buy dairy at Braums. We have a beef at the butcher right now, half for us, half for our son, and it was raised with no meds. I feel good about that. I don't know how bad it would have to get before I would spray my garden with pesticide, but I haven't yet.

I do find it interesting to listen to the farmers and growers talk though. You can tell which ones received their training long ago and just can't seem to 'unlearn' what they were taught about agriculture back then. I read an article the other day about Kerr Center and the changes they had to make in their own thinking to accomplish their mission of sustainable agriculture.

I will spray when the ants get too bad and I sometimes use mosquito spray if I am digging in flower bed on my hands and knees because they don't give up if you have disturbed their home but I don't want that stuff sprayed on, injested or injected by something I plan to eat.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 10:45PM
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scottokla(7)

Wow.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 11:23PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

I'm a germ-eating fool. I never wash anything from my own garden, unless it's coated with mud as lettuce tends to get. I never bothered washing produce from the store, either, but that's just out of habit. I was raised to not wash the stuff so it just usually doesn't occur to me. Of course, now I'm trying to pay closer attention because there's just so much crap out there, it's scary. I don't mind the normal, run-of-the-mill germs but the rest of it? Yikes. I guess I'm just a late bloomer in the produce paranoia department. LOL Good thing we don't buy much produce (or meat) from the stores.

Diane

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 1:15PM
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soonergrandmom

Diane, When we lived in Greece we were told to soak all produce in a sink full of water with a little bleach added. I guess that is where my produce paranoia started, but I can just give a quick rince to my own produce and some I just stand in the garden and snack on. Al says that during the gardening season, we can just stand in the garden and have dinner. LOL

I suspect that more produce is contaminated in the handling after the harvest that by the growing methods tho.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 1:48PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Here's a new story on what the WHO cientists are referring to as a new strain of E. coli.

Both the number of affected persons and the death rate continue to rise.

Note, too, their findings of resistant strains of E. coli, as Tracy mentioned.

Here is a link that might be useful: Update on E. coli On Vegetables

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 2:08PM
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greenacreslady(7)

The story about the new antibiotic-resistant strain of E. coli is indeed scary. Another of the significant reasons for the surge in the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is over-use of antibiotics ourselves. Although they're much better than they use to be because they're becoming aware of the problem, too often doctors still prescribe antibiotics inappropriately for their patients. And people tend to think it's okay to "save up" their unused antibiotics and then treat themselves when they feel under the weather. Using antibiotics indiscriminately or when they aren't truly called for, as well as using the wrong type of antibiotics, lead to bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics and to the growth of these super-bugs that we hear about so often these days.

Suzie

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 3:57PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I don't know if any of us "raise" our own milk, except for George and Jerreth with their goats, but this issue is one we all need to be aware of.

A new strain of MRSA has been found in milk (and people) in Great Britain.

The story is linked below.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: New Strain of MRSA

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 7:20AM
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shankins123(7aOKC)

Thankfully, that article says:
"Drinking milk or eating meat is not a health issue, as long as the milk is pasteurized," he said, adding that the process of making cheese also "generally kills most of the bacteria".

Their main concern is for the workers handling the animals &/or the milk....whew! I can't give up my milk and I certainly cannot get a cow!

Sharon

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 12:35PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

That's true that the average person won't have to worry about catching it from drinking pasteurized milk, but some people buy unpasteurized milk from local producers, including at some farmer's markets,....sort of black market in some cases depending on a munipality's or state's laws. However, once a new strain exists, it generally is a matter of time before it becomes more widespread. That's the worry---that the new strain will grow and spread in ways we cannot imagine now.

I remember when MRSA was rare and only being seen in a few hospitals here and there and mostly they were seeing it in athlete's who picked it up in locker rooms, weight rooms, etc. That was just a few years ago and now look at how common it has become. It is worrisome that these resistant strains continue to mutate and spread.

I wouldn't want to give up milk either....or ice cream! Can you imagine a summer without Blue Bell ice cream? I cannot.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 1:07PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

We're planning on getting a milk cow next year so this is not good news. Bah.

I'm still dealing with that MRSA infection in my thumb. It's nasty, nasty stuff.

Diane

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 1:42PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Diane,

You STILL have that? Hasn't it been months and months? Ugh. I don't know what the doctor gave Tim when he had MRSA in his leg, but he took every pill and the MRSA went away....but it definitely was very slow to completely go away. You could tell is was a strong infection by how long the healing process took. It wasn't one of those where you start taking the pills and see improvement in just a few days.

Now, about your milk cow plans: Since it so far is only found in cattle in Britain or Denmark, just avoid buying a cow while you're vacationing in Great Britain or Denmark! Seriously, what would be the odds that the one milk cow y'all buy here would have it? Seems like it would take a while for the infection to come across the ocean to North America, although I am sure it will eventually show up here.

Dawn

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 2:00PM
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soonergrandmom

We have some in Oklahoma also but is not the same strain as the one in Europe.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tulsa

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 7:22PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Well, that's not good news for those four children. I hope they recover completely and quickly.

Did you notice they said "at this time" it isn't identified as the same strain as the one in the European outbreak? I noticed they left themselves an "out" in case further testing proves it is the same strain (which I hope it isn't).

E. coli contamination seems to be everywhere any more.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 7:50PM
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scottokla(7)

The suspected source in germany is an organic bean sprout farm. I doubt they will ever have direct evidence.

It may seem that we have more issue recently here in the US, but it is not true. E. coli and most other pathogens have decreased in the US over the last one to two decades in our food supply. What has changed is the improvements in monitoring and publicizing the information.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 11:08AM
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sheri_ok(6)

I've been successfully taking oregano oil by North American Spice Company for any type of bacterial, viral, or fungal infection since 2005. I first heard about it on a show called Know the Cause. Then my friend started talking about it getting rid of a wart on her foot that shed been fighting forever. I had a rock hard bumP on my toe and figured it would be a corn (sorry, I know this is probably gross) it had been there for about a year and I kept forgetting to ask my dr. and I bought a generic brand of oregano oil, and Rubbed a drop on. By the the end of the day it was almost gone. It didn't vanish completely in 2 days with that brand, so I bought the more well known brand, and used it for a day and it was gone.

I had was hit with a bad case of strep throat shOrtly after on a weekend (I can diagnose myself, I've had tonsil ides, and strep throat enough to tell the difference) and rather than go to the ER I had my husband stop at the local health food store and get me a bottle of oregano oil. All our tiny store had was the pill form of North Americsn Spice Company brand. I already had the bought a book written by Dr Cass Ingram called the cure is in the cupboard so that helped me to know how much oregano oil I should take bi think I took a pill every hour for the first day. Within a day 24 hours I felt completely fine and I will tell you with synthetic anitibotics it takes me 3-5 days. It is effective on colds also that normally have to run their coarse. We can be completely over a cold in 1/2 the time as anybody stricken with a cold at the same time. My husband, kids and I have been using it successfully since then, and rarely go the Dr anymore. 3 of my friends use it, and 1 of those friends is a doctor. My sister, who is married to a pharmacist, uses it. Many of you have probably heard of it, or already use it, but for anyone who hasn't I wanted to explain the benefits thoroughly. Sorry so long.

I probably should have said it is a powerful natural antibiotic and the first time I saw it on Know The Cause, the were touting that it had been successful in killing the bird flu in laboratory testing. I believe them. Dr. Ingram and Doug kaufmann (Know The Cause) Often appear at the "Health Food Center" on Penn in Okc, to answer questions about it and other natural health products. I would follow up by saying that anytime I take a hefty dose of oil of oregano, I always take some type of probiotic from the health food store. You can now sometimes find probiotics in a pharmacy as more people are becoming aware of the importance and the body's general need for probiotics. My brother in law who graduated from pharmacy school about 3 years ago mentioned to me that I should follow up with a probiotic after using any type of antibiotic, to help your body good bacteria replenish itself from being wiped out by the antibiotic. So I was surprised that they are promoting the use of probiotics now, because I had never had a dr. or pharmacists mention such a thing to me before. I think western medicine is slowly catching on. I just hope the pharmaceutical companies really don't gain control over all of the natural health medicines we now have the right to use.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 12:12PM
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soonergrandmom

"Organic Bean Sprout Farm??" Well, I see no point in calling it organic since they sprout on mats or in jars in any operation I have ever seen. No soil at all, no fertilizer, so I guess they use organic water. LOL

I think there was an outbreak a few years back of some contaminated sprouts. Guess that's another case of "grow your own" being safer. I probably have a dozen kinds of sprouting seeds in my refrigerator. I'll use organic water. LOL

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 12:56PM
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scottokla(7)

Source of beans maybe?

I hope western medicine doen't catch on too much.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 2:47PM
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tracydr(9b)

The source is the seed, from the reading I did, which makes it pretty scary. Wonder, if you did a bleach rinse of the seeds before sprouting. If that would help?
I've been growing bean and fenugreek sprouts for my chicks lately. Very high protein and lots of good vitamins. They love their fresh sprouts!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 8:46PM
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MiaOKC

I think I heard this a.m. that the e. coli is spread through the seeds used for the sprouts. Ugh!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 9:11PM
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soonergrandmom

Now that IS scary.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 9:38PM
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