The Shit List: Food Recalls, Beach Closures and What It All Means
November 18, 2011
Yes, you read that headline right. With all the, well, excrement-laden news hitting the fan this week, giving a rundown of all things causing (or caused by) errant feces just seemed like the right thing to do.
First on this week’s list: E. coli-laced lettuce.
California-based salad company Ready Pac is recalling 5,379 cases of bagged romaine that went out to 15 states, including California. They are branded as follows: Ready Pac, Dining In, Raley’s, Trader Joe’s and Safeway lettuce.
If you picked up any of these branded bags of romaine in hopes of appeasing your Caesar salad fix this weekend, think twice before you toss one up.
E. coli, though not the worst enterovirus one could contract, is still a formidable gastrointestinal hijacker that can decimate the way you defecate.
In other fecal news, Asilomar’s beautiful beach along Sunset Drive has been posted as unsafe for human recreation due to high levels of what the Monterey County Health Department call “indicator bacteria”—a fancy term for high concentrations of shit in the water.
High bacteria levels present in seawater can be attributed to human activity as well as marine life and may cause higher risk of contracting an illness. So, steer clear of Asilomar surfers and swimmers, lest the Peninsula’s runoff bedevils your own.
On a more serious note, earlier this week we reported a recall from United Natural Foods that warned consumers about possible botulism in packages of Gentes Foods Gordita Black Bean Tortillas sold in Pak N Save and Safeway stores in Central California.
Now, you might be one of those that is predisposed to black bean bubble-guts whether the tortillas were contaminated or not, but botulism isn’t your everyday case of listeriosis or even E. coli. This is one recall you want to pay particular attention to.
The following excerpt from medicinenet.com explains how serious botulism neurotoxin actually is when ingested. It makes the occasional post-mexican meal emergency evacuation pale in comparison.
“Botulisum neurotoxin is considered one of the most potent, lethal substances known. As little as about 1 nanogram/kg can be lethal to an individual, and scientists have estimated that about 1 gram could potentially kill 1 million people. This small amount of toxin capable of killing humans has made the toxin a candidate for use in weapons for biowarfare and bioterrorism. All forms of botulism can be fatal and are considered medical emergencies. Food-borne botulism can be especially dangerous because many people can be poisoned by eating even small amounts of neurotoxin-contaminated food.”
Yeah, that’s some serious shit.
Photo by E. Dronkert