Thursday, August 11, 2011


Yesterday I blogged the deadly E.coli 0157 bacteria in ground meat (in Michigan, USA). Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced an outbreak of the same type of bacteria in strawberries (in Oregon).

Even worse for those of us who love shopping at farmers' markets - these strawberries were marketed there and at roadside stands. Reportedly, Jaquith Strawberry Farm of Newberg, Oregon, sold the contaminated strawberries to bulk buyers who then resold them to consumers. So much for that lovely, fresh, farmers' market produce handed to you personally by the farmer himself or herself!

It is not at all unusual for strawberries to be contaminated with bacteria, including pathogenic E.coli. Outbreaks occur on a fairly regular basis both in domestic and imported berries. Usually the culprit is water contaminated with animal feces. But we keep eating them, and I do too. In fact, I ate them for breakfast this morning on my yogurt.

Of course, I washed them thoroughly, as one is supposed to do (even if they grow in your own yard or field). But you can't rely on washing to get rid of all of the bacteria. Some mayt still be solidly embedded in that lovely strawberry's flesh.

All the Jaquith Farm strawberries have most likely been eaten by now as their strawberry season is over. People have been becoming ill for several weeks. One woman has died. As usual, trace-back by the authorities has not progressed very fast. It never does.

But if you live in Oregon, particularly in Washington, Clatsop, and Multnomah Counties, and put some fresh strawberries from a farmers' market or roadside stand in your freezer during the last couple of weeks in July, I would suggest you throw them out.

To your good health,


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good point. It does raise the question, though, of how long should one refridgerate fresh fruits and vegetables in general?