In response to a nationwide E. coli O157:H7 outbreak traced to contaminated spinach, produce industry leaders held a recent meeting to address industry concerns and to discuss what is likely impending legislation if the industry does not find a solution to produce contamination soon.

According to the Capital Press, Dr. Robert Brackett, director of Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said the recent E. coli outbreak linked to fresh spinach from a Salinas Valley processor demonstrates the need for the produce industry to take food safety seriously.

He said the outbreak, which sickened nearly 200 and killed three, has cost $17 million in public health costs. He advised the industry to work together to strengthen food safety standards as a way to rebuild consumer confidence in fresh produce.