Are America's Vegetables as Safe as They Should Be?

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The latest count in the E.coli outbreak is one dead and 146 suffering from cramps, diarrhea and kidney trouble. The "smoking gun" is a bag of contaminated spinach found in the refrigerator of a sick patient in New Mexico. It came from somewhere in California's Salinas Valley, where three-quarters of America's spinach and lettuce are grown. But officials may never know from which farm or how the contamination occurred. They do know that this is the ninth time in 11 years that a dangerous strain of E. coli has been traced to Salinas Valley spinach or lettuce. Who's in charge of protecting consumers from poisoned food? How stringently are standards enforced?  Is it time to change the way food is grown and distributed?




Warren Olney