After the most recent E. coli outbreak traced to fresh produce, consumers are going organic – but not necessarily mass-produced organic. They’re buying local, often at farmer’s markets, according to the Associated Press.
"We’ve gone from an era when a food-borne outbreak was a potato salad at a church picnic to a multistate, national or even international outbreak affecting thousands," said Edward Belongia, an epidemiologist with the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Even farmers say regulating the massive food distribution network is an evolving process for them and the government agencies overseeing it.
"Generally by the time there’s an outbreak, those fields are already plowed under, and when they go back, there’s no way to trace the problem," said Tom Nunes, president of Nunes Co.
At the same time consumers are putting more thought into produce safety, the FDA and fresh produce farmers and distributors are working to find the source of E. coli contamination in the Salinas Valley.