Posted: July 28th, 2007 - 2:48pm by Doug PowellOnce again, a public health official is blaming consumers for getting sick with E. coli O157:H7.
Dr. Judy MacDonald, the Calgary Health Region's deputy medical officer of health, told a press conference yesterday that 28 people have tested positive for Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Calgary, more than five times the number the city usually sees in a typical month, and said,
"At this point we have four to five clusters of these 28 cases. We still don't know exactly what the source may be for our cases and the investigation is ongoing."
However, despite not knowing the source, MacDonald added,
"There are simple ways to prevent this -- wash your hands before you prepare food or eat food, after you change a child's diaper, or after you've been to the bathroom."
Sure, consumers have a role to play. But not if the E. coli is linked to produce like lettuce or spinach. And everyone in the farm-to-fork food safety system has a responsibility to reduce risk -- in this case the quantity of E. coli O157:H7 on raw produce. The opportunities for cross-contamination are numerous, and it's not that easy to cook a safety burger.
Food safety is not simple. It's complex, and requires constant commitment.