Moving Forward

Tomatoes were believed to be the source of the latest foodborne illness outbreak. At press time, however, FDA had dropped its tomato advisory and was pursuing fresh jalapeño peppers as the culprit.

Just how did consumers — growers’ ultimate customers — feel about tomatoes being pulled off store shelves, salad bars, and restaurants’ salads?

“Angry,” says Christine M. Bruhn, director of the Center for Consumer Research in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California-Davis.

“Consumers, in general, don’t have a good grasp on how a foodborne illness outbreak could occur in a healthy product, such as a vegetable or a fruit,” says Bruhn. “They think the outbreak occurred because someone carelessly made a mistake. Tomatoes are a popular food item, and they are a product people look forward to eating. Consumers are really put out when they can’t
eat [tomatoes].”

The Learning Curve

The bottom line is consumers need to learn that contamination of fresh produce can and does occur. “They think that the E. coli outbreak in spinach two years ago was an isolated incident,” explains Bruhn. “Most of the time, we are not growing in a controlled environment, and contamination can occur in a controlled environment, as well,” she adds.

So how do we make fresh produce safe? In the near future, Bruhn predicts that we will begin to see irradiation on fresh produce. “The FDA has had a petition for irradiation before them in the greens and fresh-cut area for about 10 years,” she says. “I think that consumers will say ‘yes’ to buying these products when they recognize that the [irradiation] symbol is a sign of value-added.”

Bruhn also points out that in actuality, there are very few foodborne illness outbreaks, and we have access to a “mass amount of wonderful fruits and vegetables.”

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Apple Grower of the YearTerhune Orchards Celebrates 40th Anniversary This Weekend
April 24, 2015
It’s a Mount-u-mental celebration for the 2005 Apple Grower Of The Year and family. Read More
OrganicWebcast: Weed Control Options For Organic Tomato Production
April 24, 2015
As part of a series of free educational webcasts on The Plant Management Network, a presentation on weed control considerations Read More
ProductionpH Reducer Certified For Use In Organic Production
April 24, 2015
Growth Products Ltd. announced that pH Reducer has been certified as a Registered Material for Use in Organic Agriculture by Read More
FruitsEast, Midwest Braces For Cold Snap
April 24, 2015
Growers keep an eye on the thermometer as temperatures dip into the mid to low 20s. Read More
anthracnose of tomato; diseases of tomato; crop protection
Disease ControlAnthracnose Can Cause Red Alert For Tomato Growers
April 24, 2015
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this disease. Read More
UF Glow mandarin
Varieties & RootstocksFlorida Citrus Growers Vie For Chance To Plant Experimental Selections
April 23, 2015
Meetings set to support launch of rapid release program’s third suite of new varieties. Read More
Apples & PearsAPHIS Proposal To Allow Apples From China Becomes Rule
April 23, 2015
Growers in China expected to follow set standards of production to prevent possible importing of new pests. Read More
Havana, Cuba view
CitrusRenewed Relations With Cuba A Concern For Florida Growers [Opinion]
April 23, 2015
It might be said Sunshine State producers are worried if wider trade is opened as the potential for competing winter crops is real. Read More
7-6-27 mandarin hybrid
Varieties & Rootstocks4 Fresh Florida Citrus Selections To Watch For
April 22, 2015
Meet the newest group of UF/IFAS FAST TRACK release candidates. Read More
Tomato necrotic streak virus symptoms
TomatoesNew Virus Detected In South Florida Tomatoes
April 22, 2015
Infectious species said to be a distant relative of tobacco streak virus, which is the cause of bean red node. Read More
The Latest
Apple Grower of the YearTerhune Orchards Celebrates 40th Anniversary This Weeke…
April 24, 2015
It’s a Mount-u-mental celebration for the 2005 Apple Grower Of The Year and family. Read More
OrganicWebcast: Weed Control Options For Organic Tomato Produ…
April 24, 2015
As part of a series of free educational webcasts on The Plant Management Network, a presentation on weed control considerations Read More
ProductionpH Reducer Certified For Use In Organic Production
April 24, 2015
Growth Products Ltd. announced that pH Reducer has been certified as a Registered Material for Use in Organic Agriculture by Read More
FruitsEast, Midwest Braces For Cold Snap
April 24, 2015
Growers keep an eye on the thermometer as temperatures dip into the mid to low 20s. Read More
anthracnose of tomato; diseases of tomato; crop protection
Disease ControlAnthracnose Can Cause Red Alert For Tomato Growers
April 24, 2015
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this disease. Read More
UF Glow mandarin
Varieties & RootstocksFlorida Citrus Growers Vie For Chance To Plant Experime…
April 23, 2015
Meetings set to support launch of rapid release program’s third suite of new varieties. Read More
Apples & PearsAPHIS Proposal To Allow Apples From China Becomes Rule
April 23, 2015
Growers in China expected to follow set standards of production to prevent possible importing of new pests. Read More
Havana, Cuba view
CitrusRenewed Relations With Cuba A Concern For Florida Growe…
April 23, 2015
It might be said Sunshine State producers are worried if wider trade is opened as the potential for competing winter crops is real. Read More
7-6-27 mandarin hybrid
Varieties & Rootstocks4 Fresh Florida Citrus Selections To Watch For
April 22, 2015
Meet the newest group of UF/IFAS FAST TRACK release candidates. Read More
Tomato necrotic streak virus symptoms
TomatoesNew Virus Detected In South Florida Tomatoes
April 22, 2015
Infectious species said to be a distant relative of tobacco streak virus, which is the cause of bean red node. Read More
Apples & PearsFruit Processor To Expand Operations In Virginia
April 22, 2015
Andros Foods North America to invest $73 million in area and hiring 160. Read More
FruitsOverturned Truck Dumps Millions Of Bees On Highway
April 22, 2015
The truck with 448 hives was headed to a farm in Washington. Read More
Crop ProtectionBrandt Adds Zonix Biofungicide To Portfolio
April 21, 2015
Brandt, a manufacturer of agricultural specialty products, has added Zonix biofungicide to its line of organic and sustainable products. Zonix, manufactured Read More
CitrusFarm Bureau Supports Bill To Halt Controversial WOTUS R…
April 21, 2015
 Legislation would force EPA and the U.S. Army of Engineers to withdraw Waters of the United States proposal. Read More
EquipmentResearchers Seeking Agricultural Applications For Unman…
April 21, 2015
From stress detection to yield estimation, technology offers promise in farming. Read More
CitrusRecord Number Of Organic Producers In U.S.
April 21, 2015
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Services says domestic production has increased by 250% across all markets since 2002. Read More
FertilizerVerdesian Life Sciences Introduces New Phosphite-Free P…
April 21, 2015
Product designed as alternative for nut and stone fruit growers with concerns about MRLs. Read More
Disease ControlNew Fungicide For Wide Range Of Fruits, Vegetables In C…
April 21, 2015
FMC officially enters biological marketplace with first sales of Fracture fungicide. Read More