Keeping Healthy Veggies from Turning Deadly – IPS

Keeping Healthy Veggies from Turning Deadly
By Emilio Godoy*

MEXICO CITY, Jul 13, 2011 (Tierramérica) – Fatal outbreaks of food poisoning in the United States, Mexico and Europe expose the failure of regional and global initiatives to ensure that fruits and vegetables are safe and healthy.

Food safety encompasses “how food is produced, distributed, sold and consumed,” said Dolores Rojas, the advocacy and campaigns coordinator at the Mexican branch of Oxfam, an international non-governmental development organisation.

“The priority has been placed on a type of production system that leads to the exhaustion of resources, aimed at making the biggest profits in the shortest time possible,” Rojas told Tierramérica.

Jalapeño and serrano peppers grown on a Mexican farm were implicated in a major outbreak of salmonella poisoning in the United States in 2008, in which 1,500 people became ill and two died.

The outbreak was the subject of the research study “2008 Outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul Infections Associated with Raw Produce”, conducted by a group of scientists from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published in March of this year by The New England Journal of Medicine.

The study is based on the results of environmental and traceback investigations and laboratory tests.

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