3 Years After E. Coli Outbreak, Is Spinach Safer?

Publication: ABC's Good Morning America

Author: Gitika Ahuja and Dr. Richard Besser

11/10/2009 - Three years after an E. coli outbreak, thought to be linked to spinach, took three lives and left 205 people sick, ABC's "Good Morning America" discovered that while the industry instituted new safety standards to prevent bacterial contamination, there are no requirements to test salad products before they get to market.

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"Because of what happened in 2006, we had to take responsibility," said Joe Pezzini, chief operating officer at Ocean Mist Farms and chairman of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement Board, which developed the new standards.

The new standards include audits, monthly water tests and a 400-foot barrier between cattle and salad fields. But critics say suggesting new standards is not enough.

"What we have now is a voluntary system, which is clearly not doing the job," said Erik Olson of the Pew Health Group's Food Safety Programs.

Watch the video and read the related story 3 Years After E. Coli Outbreak, Is Spinach Safer? on the ABC News Web site.

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