Why Do We Accept Failure in Our Food Supply Chain?

On November 20th, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a food safety alert regarding romaine lettuce due to E. coli concerns.  Several people in several states got sick.  At the time of the warning, no regulatory agency knew where the bad lettuce came from, so we were told to not eat any romaine lettuce.   On November 23rd, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the likely source of the bacteria was in California.  Even with this new information, the FDA was clear to state:  “No one distributor or source has been identified, so the FDA is warning consumers to avoid all types and brands of romaine lettuce.” https://fox6now.com/2018/11/25/fda-says-romaine-lettuce-recall-likely-california-based/

Why can a distributor or source not be identified?  It’s 2018!  Technology exists that can track our food back to its source.

I make labels for a living.  They usually do not involve getting people sick.  If we have a quality issue with a product, we can go back to our suppliers who can, in turn,  go back to their suppliers.  They can identify when the paper, film, adhesive, or silicone was made.  I half seriously say that they could tell us when the trees were cut down!  Yet we accept not knowing where our food comes from.  Does that make any sense?  Are we that cost conscious that we accept illness instead of paying a few cents more for a bag of lettuce?

If our politicians are too afraid to legislate better food traceability, maybe it is time for consumers to stand up and refuse to buy products that cannot be traced to their sources.  The “farm to table” movement needs a new chapter.

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