NEW YORK, New York — NBC News learned that tracking foodborne illnesses to find the source of the contamination is exceedingly difficult. Finding the source of contaminated food is a necessity. According to information published by NBC, 9 million people each year in the United States get food poisoning and 1,300 people die each year from foodborne illnesses. Many foods, but especially leafy greens like Romaine lettuce, which has been the subject of numerous recalls, are frequently contaminated by bacteria like E. coli.
NBC reviewed statistics kept by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and found that 48 percent of all E. coli infections were traced to vegetables grown in a row. That percentage is higher than any other type of food. Farmers grow leafy greens like Romaine in rows. Also, according to the CDC, 474 people got sick and six people died from E. coli infections since 2017 in the United States.
Pinpointing the source of contamination is often very difficult. In one case, a 3-year-old child ate salad greens from a pizza joint and fell ill. He is now blind after contracting E. coli. He was one of about 60 people sickened by E. Coli after eating leafy greens. But, the FDA needed five weeks to find out that Romaine lettuce caused the bacterial outbreak. Then, the FDA needed another month to determine where the contaminated food was produced and then warn the public.
The farm identified by the government as producing the Romaine lettuce responsible for the E.coli outbreak denied any wrongdoing. However, the FDA determined that E. coli was not present in any of the other 150 additional samples analyzed. Notwithstanding the FDA’s conclusion, the CDC released a statement concluding that several growers might have produced the contaminated lettuce.
The antiquated tracking system is paper-based. That means investigators must sort through piles of documents for evidence. The FDA wants to move to a computer-based system for faster research and, consequently, have the capacity to warn the public about food poisoning incidents sooner.
New York | Brooklyn | Queens | Long Island | New Jersey | Florida
Call us at: 1-800-YOURLAWYER (800-968-7529) | Schedule your free consultation
Have you or someone you love been injured by a product?Click to Get A Free Case Review