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Romaine lettuce and radiation

  1. Sep 17, 2006 #1
    It's labeled "organic" :eek: so I'm thinking, what if I microwaved it? Could I sterilize it that way? How long would it take? And would it change the flavor?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2006 #2
    Are you high?
     
  4. Sep 17, 2006 #3
    Ignore the troll. It seems that hot salads aren't much good at all, so daring death itself I prepared myself a nice balsamic vinegrate over romaine lettuce.

    Although - what if one suddenly boiled, then quickly chilled, a lettuce leaf - how would that effect it? Would sterilization necessate a decrease in flavor?
     
  5. Sep 17, 2006 #4

    Evo

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    That's called blanching. I don't know if blanching would be enough to kill E.coli. I've never blanched a lettuce leaf, so I'm not sure how well it would hold up.

    Apparently zooby missed the "death by spinach" thread.

    Zooby...DON'T EAT THE SPINACH!!! :surprised
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2006
  6. Sep 17, 2006 #5

    ShawnD

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    Many foods are already cleaned in a similar way.
    http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/foodirradiation.htm#irradbyus
    Yes using a microwave would change the flavour. Things never seem to taste the same when you cook or reheat them using a microwave.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2006
  7. Sep 17, 2006 #6

    Astronuc

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    Microwaving would probably kill E. Coli and most bacteria, but whether or not it would destroy the toxins is perhaps an uncertainty.

    http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/bacteria/

    Microwaving lettuce is unusual, and might change the taste. I have cooked spinach to make a creamed spinach dish (I also add bacon).

    The current national E. coli outbreak is apparently limited to particular batch(es) bagged spinach, but it has highlighted the lack of oversight on the bagged food industry.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/09/15/health/main2012579.shtml?source=RSSattr=HOME_2012579

    On the other hand, apparently E. coli outbreaks are on the rise.
    E. Coli Outbreaks Becoming More Common in US
    http://healthlink.mcw.edu/article/1031002172.html
     
  8. Sep 17, 2006 #7

    Evo

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    Apparently last month the FDA approved adding viruses as a food additive to fight contamination in meat.

    FDA approves viruses as food additive

    Bacteriophages meant to kill harmful bacteria on lunch meats

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- A mix of bacteria-killing viruses can be safely sprayed on cold cuts, hot dogs and sausages to combat common microbes that kill hundreds of people a year, federal health officials said Friday in granting the first-ever approval of viruses as a food additive.

    The combination of six viruses is designed to be sprayed on ready-to-eat meat and poultry products, including sliced ham and turkey, said John Vazzana, president and chief executive officer of manufacturer Intralytix Inc.

    The special viruses, called bacteriophages, are meant to kill strains of the Listeria monocytogenes bacterium, the Food and Drug Administration said in declaring it safe to use on ready-to-eat meats prior to their packaging.

    The link is from google's cache http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache....com/2006/US/08/18/edible.virus.ap/index.html

    The following explanation is very interesting.

    bacteriophage - virus that infects bacteria and sometimes destroys them by lysis, or dissolution of the cell. Bacteriophages, or phages, have a head composed of protein, an inner core of nucleic acid–either deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or ribonucleic acid (RNA)–and a hollow protein tail. A particular phage can usually infect only one or a few related species of bacteria; for example, coliphages are DNA-containing viruses that infect only the bacterium Escherichia coli.

    http://education.yahoo.com/reference/encyclopedia/entry/bacterio
     
  9. Sep 17, 2006 #8

    turbo

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    According to the Monterey County Herald, Natural Selection Foods processes about 70% of the pre-packaged salads sold in this country. That would make me wonder where in their processing stream the coliforms got into the spinach. If it was in the field (contaminated irrigation water, perhaps) that's one thing, but if they are recycling their wash water in the processing plant, that could be a bigger problem, and it might not be confined to just the spinach. I am SO glad we have our own garden and grow our own greens.

    http://www.montereyherald.com/mld/montereyherald/15541706.htm
     
  10. Sep 17, 2006 #9

    Astronuc

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    I think its time to raise my own meat in addition to vegetables. :rolleyes:

    FDA (under the Bush Administration) doesn't exactly have my confidence at the moment.
     
  11. Sep 17, 2006 #10

    Evo

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    This part really gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling

    "As long as it used in accordance with the regulations, we have concluded it's safe," Zajac said. People normally come into contact with phages through food, water and the environment, and they are found in our digestive tracts, the FDA said.

    Consumers won't be aware that meat and poultry products have been treated with the spray, Zajac added. The Department of Agriculture will regulate the actual use of the product.

    The viruses are grown in a preparation of the very bacteria they kill, and then purified. The FDA had concerns that the virus preparation potentially could contain toxic residues associated with the bacteria. However, testing did not reveal the presence of such residues, which in small quantities likely wouldn't cause health problems anyway, the FDA said."


    Ok, well I'm convinced now. :surprised I'll definitely be buying that tiller attachment for my brushcutter now. How could they have approved this so quickly, it says this company only petitioned the FDA in 2002.

    They're going to use this worldwide.
     
  12. Sep 17, 2006 #11

    turbo

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    We're pretty lucky. There's a family farm a few miles from here that is working toward their organic certification. They raise Black Angus cattle in fields with real pasturage and fresh water - lean tender beef. Their chickens are free-ranging, and they are also very tasty. You cannot get that kind of quality in a supermarket, though without the middle-men entailed in large-scale distribution, their prices are comparable to and often lower than the stores. We just call and say "can I pick up 20 chickens next weekend?" and they're ready for us when we swing by. Their hamburg can be hard to grill sometimes, because the fat content is so low that the patties don't bind real well - a couple of eggs mixed in the burger (along with the mandatory garlic, onion, and pepper) usually fixes that, though.
     
  13. Sep 17, 2006 #12

    Moonbear

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    Correction for that statement:
    Though, from that article, they do also package non-organic brands as well. Their organic spinach is what's known to be contaminated, but now it makes more sense why they're pulling so much from shelves if they don't know where the contamination originated or if it's possible cross-contamination occurred between the organic and traditional spinach. They don't indicate in the article what percentage of the total market they process.
     
  14. Sep 17, 2006 #13

    turbo

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    Thank you for the correction. My first thought was that washing bagged greens would be very water-intensive, so they likely have some kind of water-reclamation and reuse program. Unless they have a really foolproof system of sanitizing the water before reuse, coliforms could spread through the plant's washing system, regardless of how they got there. I hope they will be very up-front about what they find out about the source of the contamination.
     
  15. Sep 18, 2006 #14
    It is the non-organic brands that are contaminated.

    From Earthbound Farms web page.
    The source of contamination is believed to be in the irrigation system.

    [edit] I had fresh organic spinach in my salad this evening. However it comes from the local farmers market. The model of the mass production, mass distribution, should never have been applied to our food. Local production and consumption would keep contamination like this from spreading all over the country.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2006
  16. Sep 18, 2006 #15
    I think Earthbound will be open about the problem. I don't agree with their industrial organic model, but I believe them to be ethical capitalists.

    Hmmm is that an oxymoron?
     
  17. Sep 18, 2006 #16

    Mk

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    Beware of the organic-industrial-capitalist complex.
     
  18. Sep 18, 2006 #17
    Yeah, who wants to eat junk like wheat, corn, and bananas? Local production all the way! From now on I won't eat anything except local-grown soy, tobacco, and cotton. Meanwhile, Hawaiians will subsist on a 100%-pineapple diet.

    Another case of dramatic overreaction to media fearmongering. One vegetable-related death, and people like Skyhunter think we should stop eating food altogether. Anyone feel like putting things in perspective? Perhaps compare the food safety of the 21st century and the pre-pasteurization, pre-refrigaration, unregulated, antibiotic-free, totally organic 19th century? Hmm?
     
  19. Sep 19, 2006 #18

    Moonbear

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    Makes me feel bad for the folks in AZ! :rofl: But, sure, yeah, if we all ate locally grown produce, we wouldn't have this spread all over the country, instead, you could have had over 100 people all in one small town get infected. :uhh: The distance the food is shipped isn't the problem.
     
  20. Sep 19, 2006 #19

    Moonbear

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    Up until yesterday, they were saying it was their organic brands, so which source do we trust today? This is sounding more bumbled by the moment! Why do they need product codes to determine if people have organic spinach? Shouldn't it say it right on the package? Do they have mislabeled packages too?
     
  21. Sep 19, 2006 #20
    Who are they?

    I think you must have misunderstood. The contaminated spinach was the Natural Selections brand, which is non-organic. Every article or news report that I have heard or read has been consistent on this point.

    If you have a link that says otherwise please source it.

    Mono-crop industrial agriculture, including what has become known as industrial organic is not sustainable. Rach3, there is no need for hyperbole. I was not advocating that we only eat local food, I was advocating eating more local food.

    Why ship it across the country, if a local farm can produce it?

    I shop at farmers markets twice a week. When I was visiting family in the mid-west this summer I was surprised at how meager the produce was in some of the most fertile agricultural land in the country. The fields are all dedicated to growing commodity corn and soybeans for ADM and Monsanto.

    A good book on the subject is "The Omnivores Dilemma" by Michael Pollan
     
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