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#1 Ehren

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 03:36 AM

Personally, I think this is a load of bull. Only a few strains of E-coli is harmful; it exists everywhere and on everything (except for those super 'clean' rooms, yep)

There were only 50 cases of E-coli poisoning nationwide before they took spinach off the market. After they pulled it off there were another 50 cases in only 20 states.
http://www.washingto...6091500865.html

http://www.medicalne...hp?newsid=52002 -> FDA doesn't know if spinach is the cause, but still puts out a warning. Maybe they're right maybe not.

Great, they pulled it off the market. I'm glad they caught it before it got worse, but what's with the mass hysteria? There's over 300 million people living in the US today, but weeks (actually about a month!) after the problem is getting taken care of people are still freaking out/worried about it! It feels strange that such a small case is causing waves. Maybe I'm not understanding some major danger here, but e-coli poisoning isn't the worst thing that can happen to someone. I feel like someone has hijacked the brains of people around me and are causing them to panic, and I don't know if I'm just that apathetic or if Americans are usually that panicky. Is it the media causing hysteria? I also noticed that lettuce can have the same problem but it's never out in the open hysteria whenever bags are found to be infected.

Edit: Found a link for the e-coli in lettuce. http://www.foodnavig...-lettuce-e-coli

Is there something deeper in all this? Maybe, maybe not. I'm undecided.

What are your thoughts?

#2 rtgmath

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 01:19 PM

Years ago the fruit and vegetable supply used to be a lot more local. There was always a chance of getting food poisoning, but its effects were limited to a local population.

Today the market is much more globalized. We get food from all over. One of the demands our society has placed on its food supply is that it be safe. While we know that all food is going to contain bacteria and viruses (they're everywhere!), we want to be as free from bad food as possible.

There is a very practical motivation for this. Companies do not exist altruistically. They exist to make a profit. If they were allowed to produce and sell bad food because their procedures were sloppy and unsafe, then everyone would do it. Better to make an example of the occasional slip-up than to allow a free-for-all situation!

People in a large area got sick. Granted, only a few -- those who ate the bad food who for some reason were susceptible to the disease. Others probably ate the same infected food with little discernable effect because of stronger immune systems. Still, it is hard to see children die. And we know one thing -- if the food supply is not kept as safe as we can possibly make it, we will see more people die as a result of corporate greed and mismanagement. They have in the past. In parts of the world where there are no safeguards, people die from bad food on a fairly regular basis.

So is it hysteria? Sort of. Maybe. But probably not more than warranted. People died from a mistake. As with any crime, the culprit needed to be found and the situation set as right as possible. The company lost boatloads of money as a result. Other companies will be a bit more careful as a result.

Sure, E-coli has several strains, with only a few which are lethal. But we have ways to test the food we grow and we have best practices which allow us to grow safe food in a productive manner.
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#3 Bold

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 02:46 PM

QUOTE (Ehren @ Oct 14 2006, 11:39 PM)
Personally, I think this is a load of bull. Only a few strains of E-coli is harmful; it exists everywhere and on everything (except for those super 'clean' rooms, yep)

The most prominent source of E-Coli is the intestine (human and other animals). It is one if the many one used in the digestive process. But e-coli should not get into the stomach because it is not equipped to control it.

But esentially you are right, e-coli is not something people should be all afraid of as if it was the end of the world.

QUOTE (rtgmath @ Oct 15 2006, 09:22 AM)
Years ago the fruit and vegetable supply used to be a lot more local. There was always a chance of getting food poisoning, but its effects were limited to a local population.

[...]

So is it hysteria? Sort of. Maybe. But probably not more than warranted. People died from a mistake. As with any crime, the culprit needed to be found and the situation set as right as possible.
You are probably right that the food supplies have to be monitored carefully. Specificly because, like you said, the food is so widely consumed and it can potentially affect a large amount of people.

But hysteria is not waranted. Let's face a hard cold fact. Feeding 300 million people is not an easy task. It is nearly certain that something will eventually go wrong somewhere.

I mean, the problem should be looked upon to try to correct it. But even if the death of 2 or 3 people is a really sad thing, it is not something that is not expectable. Complete security does not exists, accidents happend and when they do, sometimes, people die. It is sad and those events should be made as rare as possible, but it is natural.
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#4 chiisai_hana

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 03:49 PM

I think it's much more dangerous to have ecoli in your drinking water. There are many types of food, so it's easier to avoid eating the one you know is contaminated.
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#5 Kit-Tsukasa

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 03:53 PM

QUOTE (chiisai_hana @ Oct 15 2006, 11:52 AM)
I think it's much more dangerous to have ecoli in your drinking water. There are many types of food, so it's easier to avoid eating the one you know is contaminated.

I agree, the US would be a dead country in like 5 minutes if Ecoli had contaminated drinking water. Oh wait, that includes me too XD. LOL soon no food will be safe to eat. First mad cow disease, the avian bird flu (affected chicken-related animals, pork, etc...) and now vegetables. The world is literally coming to an end!

#6 Ehren

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 03:56 AM

I was having a discussion with one of my friends about the 'e-coli panic' and she agreed that it was kind of bizarre but attributed it the elections. ....... what? Is there any evidence towards this? distracting the public from real issues and whatnot? Hmm

@rtgmath I agree that the companies responsible should be held accountable _especially_ since we're in a global market. I was more concerned over the fact people were making a bigger deal about it than the situation warranted. How is this any different from the lettuce crisis of last year? The place where I work uses both spinach and lettuce but they only pulled the lettuce off for a week, while we haven't served spinach in a month. sad.gif

@Bold, Yes! I knew that when you ingest harmful e-coli it can cause severe dehydration through diahrrhea. When I said 'it was a load of bull' I was talking about the 'panic'. Though personally if I hypothetically had a child who died of e-coli I would not be able to separate statistic and emotional trauma. My child would be dead, and nothing undoes that. I would want to prevent other deaths from e-coli and punish those wicked companies with bad practices involved. So what if my child had been 1 out of only 2 fatalities? :S Sad times. In the grand scheme of things, it was unfortunate, but not the end of the world. :S

@ chiisai_hana Yikes. Drinking water contamination? I've heard about that in Geology class when someone puts their septic tank near their water supply or something like that. Or it could occur naturally from runoffs from farms and whatnot. :S Never personally heard of any cases though.

@Kit-Tsukasa mad cow disease =the silent problem and the only reason why I've cut back on eating beef; avian flu = not the epidemic the govt thought, hysteria all for nothing?

#7 Bold

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 11:38 AM

QUOTE (Ehren @ Oct 15 2006, 11:59 PM)
@ chiisai_hana  Yikes. Drinking water contamination? I've heard about that in Geology class when someone puts their septic tank near their water supply or something like that. Or it could occur naturally from runoffs from farms and whatnot. :S Never personally heard of any cases though.
Walkerton in Ontario about 2 or 3 years ago. I don't exactly remember the source of the contamination but a few people died.

QUOTE (Ehren @ Oct 15 2006, 11:59 PM)
@Kit-Tsukasa mad cow disease =the silent problem and the only reason why I've cut back on eating beef; avian flu = not the epidemic the govt thought, hysteria all for nothing?
Avian flu is a lot more dangerous than mad cow. The one thing that is sometimes left out of the media is that the bird flu is not dangerous for now. The problem is the potential cross contamination. If that strain was to mutate into one that was transmissible between animals other than birds, it would infect a large protion of the world extremely fast.

All the talk around avian flu is to be able to react in case that mutation does happend.
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#8 warita200

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 11:47 AM

QUOTE (Kit-Tsukasa @ Oct 15 2006, 09:56 AM)
I agree, the US would be a dead country in like 5 minutes if Ecoli had contaminated drinking water. Oh wait, that includes me too XD. LOL soon no food will be safe to eat. First mad cow disease, the avian bird flu (affected chicken-related animals, pork, etc...) and now vegetables. The world is literally coming to an end!

humm, that would mean that every source of drinking water had to be contaminated. Something like that is not going to happen.

As for ecoli, cook your food properly folks and you have nothing to worry about!!!

There are other dangerous sources of diseases, of which you hardly ever hear....

#9 rtgmath

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 12:34 PM

QUOTE (Ehren @ Oct 15 2006, 09:59 PM)
I was having a discussion with one of my friends about the 'e-coli panic' and she agreed that it was kind of bizarre but attributed it the elections. ....... what? Is there any evidence towards this? distracting the public from real issues and whatnot? Hmm.

Hmmm. I rather doubt it. The Democrats wouldn't want to bring up anything to blunt the issues here in the US. They are an angry mob and rather focused. Hypocrisy, sex, the war, civil liberties. The plate is full of issues, and another issue would push something off the plate. The Republicans, on the other hand, would hardly want to add this to their list of troubles. After all, they are the ones involved in deregulating the food and drug industry and defunding the agencies who are supposed to inspect the food supply. Insertion of this as a political tactic would rather more aid the Dems than the Reps, since there are no positive points the Reps could place on it and there are a lot of negatives the Dems could use.

QUOTE
@rtgmath I agree that the companies responsible should be held accountable _especially_ since we're in a global market. I was more concerned over the fact people were making a bigger deal about it than the situation warranted. How is this any different from the lettuce crisis of last year? The place where I work uses both spinach and lettuce but they only pulled the lettuce off for a week, while we haven't served spinach in a month. sad.gif


Hmmm. Perhaps the lettuce crisis lent to the situation a particular sensitivity? And IIRC, packaging of greens has changed a bit over the last year or two. Now we get greens in the real pricey small-serving plastic packs. Much more money for manufacturers, grocers, etc. (although the growers probably don't reap the windfall of it). And since the plastic has some inherent disadvantages and is more costly, it may simply be easier to shun it until the price goes down.

Part of the problem may be that whatever microbes are packaged with the product stay with the product in the plastic bag -- and grow. At least outside of the bag there is competition with less harmful microbes and the produce in the grocery stores gets a periodic spraying to keep it fresher (and reduce contamination). Of course, if done in near-sterile conditions, the packaging might actually prove to be safer. But it isn't that way yet.

I will admit that people might be making a bigger deal of it than they ought to. Then again, if it wasn't a big deal, we might actually see more deaths from contamination.

Although I admit to missing a good spinach salad.

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#10 Kit-Tsukasa

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 01:10 PM

QUOTE (warita200 @ Oct 16 2006, 07:50 AM)
As for ecoli, cook your food properly folks and you have nothing to worry about!!!

There are other dangerous sources of diseases, of which you hardly ever hear....

For e-coli, yes it would work if you cook your food thorough enough it will kill off the bacteria (is it a virus or a bacteria? I think its a bacteria, right?). However, that doesn't necessarily work for all types of viruses and/or bacteria.

Anyhow there may be many other dangerous sources of diseases, but people don't worry about them since they are rare and probably something most people can't get unless they do something particularly stupid like eating a tarantula >_< (don't want to imagine that! It gives me the chills down my spine just thinking about it.) Regardless, E-coli actually doesn't seem that big of a deal except when coming to salad.

If you eat well-cooked vegetables, it shouldn't be a problem. The only epidemic at the moment is eating salad since you don't go cooking a salad with a frying pan. I actually kinda feel sorry for vegetarians at the moment since it seems to be affecting them the most at the moment. I just hope it doesn't go infecting important daily needs like water XD or grain tongue.gif

#11 warita200

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 03:08 PM

QUOTE (Kit-Tsukasa @ Oct 16 2006, 07:13 AM)
For e-coli, yes it would work if you cook your food thorough enough it will kill off the bacteria (is it a virus or a bacteria? I think its a bacteria, right?). However, that doesn't necessarily work for all types of viruses and/or bacteria.

Anyhow there may be many other dangerous sources of diseases, but people don't worry about them since they are rare and probably something most people can't get unless they do something particularly stupid like eating a tarantula >_< (don't want to imagine that! It gives me the chills down my spine just thinking about it.) Regardless, E-coli actually doesn't seem that big of a deal except when coming to salad.

If you eat well-cooked vegetables, it shouldn't be a problem. The only epidemic at the moment is eating salad since you don't go cooking a salad with a frying pan. I actually kinda feel sorry for vegetarians at the moment since it seems to be affecting them the most at the moment. I just hope it doesn't go infecting important daily needs like water XD or grain tongue.gif

e-coli is a bacteria. I once had shigella, which is closely related to ecoli and you can die if you dont get medication.... hehehe, I survived without medication. I am pretty resistent to those bacteria ever since.

As for the other dangerous deseases, I actually ment that USA citizens culture antibiotics resistent deseases. For every fart and little cough they take antibiotics, which they can purchase without prescription. Every time we take antibiotics, the bacteria become more resistant and one day antibiotics wont help anymore. Maybe the pharma industry will come up with something else.... but maybe not. I am really looking forward to that day!!! There are deseases on the rise, which we considered wiped out loong time ago, such as tuberculosis, leprosy, hepatitis.... all resistent to medication. Which in other words means that if you get it, they will lock you into a hospital and you will never see the sunlight again, isolation for the rest of your life.
I really dont understand how ppl can be this short sighted. mad.gif

#12 chiisai_hana

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 09:02 PM

QUOTE (Bold @ Oct 16 2006, 07:41 AM)
Walkerton in Ontario about 2 or 3 years ago. I don't exactly remember the source of the contamination but a few people died.

I believe it was runoff from a farmer's fields ...cattle/fertilizer or something. It ran down into one of Walkerton's wells. It's a really big issue not so much because of the ecoli (which is obviously bad) but because Walkerton's water treatment knew about the ecoli but didn't act.


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Walkerton: Canada's worst-ever E. coli contamination

"We have a terrible tragedy here."

With those words, then Ontario Premier Mike Harris waded into the Walkerton, Ont., water crisis on Friday, May 26, 2000. He addressed a crowd of reporters and residents in the normally quiet town in Ontario's rural heartland – a part of the province that normally gears up for a flood of fun seekers at this time of year.

Instead, Walkerton began the transition into the town "where those kids died from E. coli." It's not what anyone wanted, but it was the end result. Reporters from around North America descended on the area, trying to get to the bottom of Canada's worst-ever outbreak of E. coli contamination. Seven people died from drinking contaminated water. Hundreds suffered from the symptoms of the disease, not knowing if they too would die.

According to the local medical officer of health, it all could have been prevented. Dr. Murray McQuigge stunned the country with his revelation on CBC Radio on May 25, 2000 that the Walkerton Public Utilities Commission knew there was a problem with the water several days before they told the public. ...


The inquiry was called to look into how the water was contaminated with the deadly strain of E. coli bacteria.

It found that illnesses could have been prevented if Koebel had monitored chlorine levels in the drinking water. It also pointed to deregulation of water testing and cuts to the Environment Ministry by the Ontario government as contributing factors.  -Read Full Article


I can't remember what the final outcome of the inquiry were ... the reason you probably think it was 2-3 years ago is because there was a fairly big courtcase. Ontario now has pretty good drinking water regulations ... or at least since Walkerton, the water has always tasted like chlorine dry.gif
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#13 warita200

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 09:07 PM

QUOTE (chiisai_hana @ Oct 16 2006, 03:05 PM)
It's a really big issue not so much because of the ecoli (which is obviously bad) but because Walkerton's water treatment knew about the ecoli but didn't act.



this is something I dont understand. Why didnt they do anything??? Costs involved? I wonder if those guys can sleep at night.

#14 chiisai_hana

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 09:10 PM

I think there was some questioning whether they had the appropriate education for the job. From what I understand, small town, water treatment was passed down to the brothers in charge in 2000 from their dad. There has previously been cuts in the provincial government regarding water treatment as well.
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#15 Bold

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 10:15 PM

QUOTE (chiisai_hana @ Oct 16 2006, 05:13 PM)
I think there was some questioning whether they had the appropriate education for the job. From what I understand, small town, water treatment was passed down to the brothers in charge in 2000 from their dad.

I don't follow Ontario's news too closely, but I believe it was something in those line. The people in charge thougth the level was safe.

[MODERATOR's NOTE: Thread was renamed to broden the discussion for all members, not only US ones.]
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#16 MKK2004

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 11:58 PM

QUOTE (Bold @ Oct 16 2006, 07:41 AM)
Walkerton in Ontario about 2 or 3 years ago. I don't exactly remember the source of the contamination but a few people died.


My Chemistry textbook said it's because the manager of the waterplant didn't fixed the broken filter, so it's more like a man-made mistake. I still drink tap water in Toronto




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