Earthbound, the nation's largest producer of gourmet salad greens, and Natural Selection Foods, have gone through great lengths to improve the safety of bagged salad greens since last year's E. coli outbreak killed two and sickened at least 200.
Despite improved processing, repeated inspections and a variety of other measures, the head of the company's food safety operations, Will Daniels, told the Los Angeles Times that there's no way to be 100% certain foods are free of disease-causing pathogens.
"The question you have to answer is, will the processing eliminate the hazard? The answer for this industry is no. You can reduce; you cannot eliminate."
It brings up a part of life that is not often talked about: acceptance of risk. There is risk in most daily activities that we don't consider. We expect good laws to reduce that risk -- from driving, from flying, from eating -- but there's virtually no activity that can have risk eliminated.
When it comes to foods, recent events have showed that government and industry need to do more to ensure safety -- that there are reasonable steps that should be taken. But the elimination of risk is an impossible goal.
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