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.