Pundit’s Mailbag — Oversights In Food Safety
Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, January 10, 2007
We’ve received a most important letter:
This letter is important for four reasons:
First, an important organic grower and marketer is going on the record saying that all raw manure and even composted cow manure should be banned on all fresh produce fields.
Second, Tom is contributing to a mind shift in the industry. Instead of seeing E. coli 0157:H7 as a natural phenomenon that the industry is obligated to respond defensively to, we are starting to realize that cow manure as a carrier for E. coli 0157:H7 is, as Tom puts it, a “bio-hazard” and that those who are introducing the manure to the environment have a responsibility to make sure that this bio-hazard does not leave their property.
Third, in raising the issue of antibiotics in the beef industry, he is directing inquiry at why we have E. coli 0157:H7 and why it is so virulent.
Fourth, an important organic grower and marketer is saying that we better look hard at irradiation and is urging a “Right to Irradiate” law.
We would like to express our great appreciation for this letter. Tom’s willingness to step out and say these things clearly is a real contribution to the trade’s discussion of these issues.
Here at the Pundit, we’ve pioneered the idea that the industry has to stop playing defense and must hold those responsible who are polluting the environment with dangerous pathogens.
We’ve also been calling for the banning of manure, most recently right here. We’ve also been calling for the industry to stop assuming irradiation is inconceivable — in pieces such as this one, which you can read here.
But Tom’s position in the industry is such that his letter means these ideas are starting to gather force. And, as Victor Hugo reminded us, “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”