WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM PRE-SLICED CANTALOUPE

By now everyone knows about the large recall on sliced cantaloupe from half a dozen supermarket brands--Whole Foods, Kroger, etc.  Here are some lessons from yet another pathogenic industrial food.

1.  All the stores get their stuff from the same place.  It doesn't really matter where you shop among the big name stores; it's all the same stuff.  That's why if you want different, you have to shop different.

2.  Produce accounts for more than 90 percent of all bacterial food borne illness.  For some strange reason, meat, poultry and dairy create the most fear in this arena, but the statistically overwhelming risk is produce.

3.  Vulnerability is higher when you break open raw product.  My biggest question upon reading the new story was:  "Why would anyone buy pre-sliced cantaloupe?"  If we want cantaloupe, we buy the whole melon and slice it at home.  Are we really so convenience-oriented that we can't slice cantaloupe?

4.  Convenience has a cost.  Not just the real cost of doubling the price of the product, but the existential cost of increasing vulnerability to either pathogen exposure or nutrient depletion (losing freshness).

What you won't see or hear about after this are the extra toxic solutions implemented as a result of this debacle.  Chlorine wash water and other procedures creep in insidiously as insurance policies against future outbreaks.  The more perishable and watery (lettuce leaves) the food, the more vulnerable it is to food borne bacteria.  That is why long distance transportation is riskier on these foods than more stable less watery foods.  Finally, the distribution carbon footprint per nutrition punch is prejudicial against these fragile, watery foods, making them prime candidates for localization priority. Nuts, for example, travel well.  All foods are not created equal.

If you have micro-greens in your frig, how far did they travel?