Tuesday, September 25, 2012


In 2003 a local restaurant chain found itself in the midst of a Hepatitis A outbreak that caused the restaurant to become a "former" restaurant chain. The CDC, FDA, and PaDOH were all involved on some investigatory level. The outbreak was traced to contaminated onions which were soon traced to Mexico.  However the actual supplier was never specifically pinpointed.  There also was no specific route of contamination.

Last summer I was somewhat pleasantly surprised and pleased while also a bit unnerved to receive a phone call from a grocery store saying that some item of produce I had purchased had been recalled.  Thank goodness for my supermarket scan card that allows the store to know exactly what I purchase, when, and where.

Efforts for consumers to buy local produce have increased in recent years. Some chefs desire to base their menus in part on what they can grow themselves.  These things allow for a shorter and in some instances no supply chain.

When buying prepared food at your favorite local food truck or a variety of vegetables and fruit at the weekly farmers market, how can we be certain if an issue arises, that we can trace it to where we ate or where we bought?  Should we only buy local, particularly if fresh? (If we only eat fresh fruit as opposed to canned and frozen then we are out of luck regarding variety.)  


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