Robert E. Brackett, director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, sent a worried letter to California vegetable growers over bacterial outbreaks involving products from their farms, including salad vegetables, sprouts, and strawberries.
The California Department of Health Services, Food and Drug Branch, itself presented a report, revealing that sites susceptible to localized flooding could be contaminated periodically with E. coli.
Even if the water used in irrigation is pure, manure used for fertilizer might be contaminated. In addition, if the supply used after harvesting to clean and chill a crop is not high-enough quality to sanitize a crop, a consumer using it after purchase without further washing could be at risk of infection.