As we prepare to welcome 2019, I find it important to reflect on some of the key industry issues of 2018 as they provide a prelude to the focal-points and challenges our industry is sure to experience in the New Year.
Thanksgiving this year was salad-less, thanks to a nation-wide romaine lettuce recall on November 20th. And while many Americans were probably more than happy to have more room on their plates for stuffing and gravy, the E. coli outbreak that prompted the recall was rather dire. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called on consumers to throw away all romaine lettuce following 32 confirmed cases of E. coli bacteria poisoning in 11 U.S. states and Canada.
Recall attention focused on the produce itself, but throwing the lettuce away was merely a temporary solution to our seemingly ever-present food safety issues. If we wish to prevent foodborne illnesses, the real culprit that must be dealt with is deficient agricultural water quality.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released an 852-page review of the health risks of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The study suggests that current health advisories for PFAS, established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), may not be strict enough to address serious public health risks.