The Associated Press reported today that FDA and California Department of Health investigators believe they have found three potential sources of the spinach E. coli outbreak: Wild pigs, cattle, and contaminated water.
Samples taken from a wild pig, as well as from stream water and cattle on the ranch, have tested positive for the same strain of E. coli implicated in the outbreak. Investigators are looking at three other ranches in the areas in seeking the source of the contaminated fresh spinach.
California State Senator Dean Florez, who held a hearing on the spinach outbreak, said he plans to introduce bills in December to add a half-dozen new state regulations related to growing and packaging food, including how fields can be irrigated safely.
“We’re going to focus in on the water,” said Florez. “We’ll also work on better worker conditions, in terms of the equipment they use in the fields.”
Florez’s proposal, among other actions, would allow farmers following organic practices to use more chlorine to disinfect their vegetables than is currently permitted under labeling standards for so-called organic foods.