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

FruitsClassic Turkey Day Dinner Costing Consumers More This Year
November 20, 2014
Despite increase, a family of 10 can still get stuffed for less than $50. Read More
Insect ControlFlorida Vegetable Growers Gain Access To New Nematicide
November 20, 2014
Methyl bromide alternative Nimitz approved for use on tomatoes, peppers, okra, eggplant, cucumber, watermelon, cantaloupe, and squash. Read More
EquipmentHighlights From EIMA International In Italy [Slideshow]
November 19, 2014
The 2014 edition of the International Agricultural and Gardening Machinery Exhibition (EIMA) boasted a record number of attendees from 124 countries. Read More
Farm ManagementVegetableGrowerConnect Delivers Results For Growers And Suppliers [slideshow]
November 19, 2014
Suppliers and growers got down to business in San Diego discussing current needs, solutions, and ways to increase efficiencies on the farm. Browse this slideshow for VegetableGrowerConnect highlights. Read More
FruitsFixing Farm Labor Woes Worth The Extra Effort [Opinion]
November 19, 2014
40th annual Ag Labor Relations Forum encourages outreach and action. Read More
BerriesPackaging Company’s Campaign To Benefit Future Organic Farmers
November 19, 2014
Sambrailo Packaging of Watsonville, CA, has partnered with California Certified Organic Farmers and will donate a portion of the sales of clamshells made from plastic bottles. Read More
Apples & PearsOn The Road With The International Fruit Tree Association Study Tour To Italy Part 1 [Slideshow]
November 19, 2014
Win Cowgill of Rutgers University details a trip through the one of the most concentrated fruit growing areas in the world, the South Tyrol region of Italy. Read More
IrrigationAlmond Grower Honored For Water Efficiency
November 18, 2014
Ongoing drought highlights the efforts of third-generation Madera County grower Tom Rogers. Read More
CitrusWomen’s Impact On Agriculture Impressive [Opinion]
November 18, 2014
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says the long-term sustainability of farming depends on our youth. Read More
Apples & PearsFall Sprays For BMSB Can Cause San Jose Scale Flare Up
November 18, 2014
Penn State University research entomologist says prevention is best control option for devastating pest. Read More

The Latest

FruitsClassic Turkey Day Dinner Costing Consumers More This Y…
November 20, 2014
Despite increase, a family of 10 can still get stuffed for less than $50. Read More
Insect ControlFlorida Vegetable Growers Gain Access To New Nematicide
November 20, 2014
Methyl bromide alternative Nimitz approved for use on tomatoes, peppers, okra, eggplant, cucumber, watermelon, cantaloupe, and squash. Read More
EquipmentHighlights From EIMA International In Italy [Slideshow]
November 19, 2014
The 2014 edition of the International Agricultural and Gardening Machinery Exhibition (EIMA) boasted a record number of attendees from 124 countries. Read More
Farm ManagementVegetableGrowerConnect Delivers Results For Growers And…
November 19, 2014
Suppliers and growers got down to business in San Diego discussing current needs, solutions, and ways to increase efficiencies on the farm. Browse this slideshow for VegetableGrowerConnect highlights. Read More
FruitsFixing Farm Labor Woes Worth The Extra Effort [Opinion]
November 19, 2014
40th annual Ag Labor Relations Forum encourages outreach and action. Read More
BerriesPackaging Company’s Campaign To Benefit Future Organi…
November 19, 2014
Sambrailo Packaging of Watsonville, CA, has partnered with California Certified Organic Farmers and will donate a portion of the sales of clamshells made from plastic bottles. Read More
Apples & PearsOn The Road With The International Fruit Tree Associati…
November 19, 2014
Win Cowgill of Rutgers University details a trip through the one of the most concentrated fruit growing areas in the world, the South Tyrol region of Italy. Read More
IrrigationAlmond Grower Honored For Water Efficiency
November 18, 2014
Ongoing drought highlights the efforts of third-generation Madera County grower Tom Rogers. Read More
CitrusWomen’s Impact On Agriculture Impressive [Opinion…
November 18, 2014
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says the long-term sustainability of farming depends on our youth. Read More
Apples & PearsFall Sprays For BMSB Can Cause San Jose Scale Flare Up
November 18, 2014
Penn State University research entomologist says prevention is best control option for devastating pest. Read More
CitrusPrograms Burgeon To Promote Citrus Plantings
November 17, 2014
Processors and USDA step up to support growers who are putting new trees in the ground. Read More
Business PlanningFarm Executive Workshop To Build Management, Leadership…
November 17, 2014
Penn State Extension offering unique learning event for those looking to bolster business. Read More
BerriesGeorgia Is The Top Blueberry State In The Nation
November 17, 2014
The Peach State experiences extreme growth in production of blueberries in the last 20 years. Read More
GrapesSenator Launches Campaign To Open Foreign Markets To Mo…
November 17, 2014
If tariff is reduced, exporters could buy more; would help alleviate surplus grape supply. Read More
Apples & PearsPromising Technology To Expand Hard Cider Industry
November 14, 2014
Demand growing as researchers explore the possibilities of mechanical harvesting. Read More
Grapefruit & SpecialtyFlorida Grapefruit Growers Feeling Good About Early Cro…
November 14, 2014
Producers, packers, and suppliers view initial USDA outlooks as positive predictor for future. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateScientists Track Scent To Successful Citrus Psyllid Con…
November 14, 2014
New research identifies odors that could help in the fight against HLB. Read More
GrapesReport Card Measures Juice Grape Growers’ Sustainabil…
November 14, 2014
Washington growers will be able to self-assess their production systems. Read More