The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has narrowed down the source of the recent romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak to lettuce to the Central Coast of California, leaving us free to seek out and eat romaine from Arizona, Mexico, and other parts of California. Yay … but. But this is the second romaine E. coli outbreak in 2018—the earlier one came out of Arizona—and:
This outbreak is tied to a series of E. coli infections in 2017. That outbreak was tied to leafy greens but the specific source was never identified.
And this isn’t purely bad luck. The lettuce is being contaminated by dirty water, and stronger regulations could fix that. “Regulations,” however, is a dirty word to the Trump administration, and, in a familiar story, the Obama Food and Drug Administration had put in place a rule requiring water-testing by growers, only to have the Trump FDA roll it back for at least the next four years. What’s at stake?
While postponing the water-testing rules would save growers $12 million per year, it also would cost consumers $108 million per year in medical expenses, according to an FDA analysis.
Seriously, to save businesses $12 million a year, Trump is costing regular people $108 million a year—and to those dollar costs, add the suffering of people who’ve been gruesomely ill. Add the five deaths from the Arizona romaine contamination last spring. The dollar amounts are disproportionate enough—$12 million to $108 million, FFS—but this is also about people’s lives. And the Trump administration does not care.
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