Food Safety; Do Hippo’s eat tomatoes?

July 2nd, 2008

In the nation section of the Tuesday edition of USA TODAY is an article titled CDC widens its salmonella investigation. As you might recall

In the nation section of the Tuesday edition of USA TODAY is an article titled CDC widens its salmonella investigation. As you might recall, my blog post I say Tomato, you say Tomahto on June 10th discussed the fact that at the time there were 145 salmonella cases with 23 hospitalizations resulting from the current tomato scare. According to today’s article there are now 851 cases. That’s an astonishing 487% increase in less than a month.

In the same section of the paper under the wire reports section by Steve Marshall. There was a nice picture of a hippopotamus celebrating its 50th birthday in the Kiev Zoo. Evidently this is very old for a hippo as the normal lifespan is 40-50 years. The hippo’s present was a fruit basket. I could make out the bananas, but could not see if there were any tomatoes.

That’s unfortunate, because hippos might like tomatoes. As it turns out according to the above mentioned article, the recent salmonella outbreaks in the US may not have even been caused by tomatoes at all. And now there is news that the CDC is broadening the investigation. According to the article if in fact another food is found to be the culprit after the produce industry lost hundreds of millions with the tomato recall, the publics trust in the government’s ability to track food borne illnesses will be severely damaged.

I know I’m still not eating any tomatoes, and I love tomatoes. Is it the farmers fault, the CDC’s fault, the FDA’s fault? That’s a hard question to answer. What is true is that we have to do a better job of providing safe quality foods to retailers to sell to their consumers. There needs to be some type of central repository of safe data that allows tracking of products to their source more quickly. Our families, friends, pets and even the hippos will thank us.

I look forward to your comments

Ron

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