Yes, we had a severe food borne pathogen outbreak and several Minnesotans got sick, but it seemed to be the most underreported story of the summer here in the Twin Cities.
Earlier in the month, as catalogued so well on food safety attorney Bill Marler’s blog, “the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that a total of 141 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium had been reported from 20 states linked to Indiana grown cantaloupe.” Two people in Kentucky died from eating it.
“At this point with 141 sick, the public has an absolute right to know where the cantaloupe was grown and where is was sold. There is simply no excuse that this information is not made available,” said Marler. “If the goal of public health is to saves lives, protect people, and save business money through prevention, how does trying to keep the public in the dark accomplish any of these objectives? By keeping these companies’ names secret, the CDC and FDA may be trying to protect businesses, but is ultimately doing the public a disservice by quashing important data that could otherwise help consumers make informed decisions about what to eat and where to shop.”
On August 22, Chamberlain Farms Produce, Inc. of Owensville, Indiana, voluntarily recalled its cantaloupe, because it was one source identified as contributing to the outbreak. Now, this story should scare the crap out of you. If food safety isn’t something high on your list of things to become familiar with, it should be. The health and well being of all Minnesotans is at risk every time we choose to eat.