What is alarming is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has known for some time the potential dangers of sprouts as a food source. On their website on they detail the specific dangers of sprouts compared to most other fresh produce. "Like any fresh produce that is consumed raw or lightly cooked, sprouts carry a risk of foodborne illness. Unlike other fresh produce, seeds and beans need warm and humid conditions to sprout and grow. However, these conditions are also ideal for the growth of bacteria, including Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli." (source)
On April 26, 2009 an article was posted on the FDA's website advising consumers against eating raw alfalfa sprouts and other alfalfa sprout blends saying that, "the product has been linked to Salmonella serotype Saintpaul contamination.
And again in late December 2010, in the US, the FDA issued a recall of specific brands of Alfalfa being sold in sandwich chains across multiple states due to contamination by Salmonella. Some samples being grown by the company responsible for that outbreak were tested in Februrary of this year and found to be still carrying the salmonella strain involved in the December outbreak. (source)
It was surprising to learn that the risk of contamination of sprouts by multiple different pathogens is well known by the authorities for some time now. According to the FDA:
"Since 1995, raw sprouts have been increasingly implicated in foodborne outbreaks. Between January 1995 and May 1999, there were 11 reported outbreaks in the United States associated with sprouts from commercial growers, 9 of which were due to various Salmonella serotypes and 2 to Escherichia coli O157. The number of culture-confirmed cases in each of these outbreaks ranged from 8 to more than 500, and more than 1,300 cases have been reported overall. And in total, since 1990, sprouts have been associated with at least 37 outbreaks, causing over 2,000 confirmed cases of foodpoisoning."
We know that they are vulnerable to contamination and we even know why, and yet they are still sold. The FDA 'advises against their consumption' but only after an outbreak.
Obviously the system in place to ensure the safety of the food that we eat is ineffective. It only manages consequence.
In an Equal Money System, though, we will focus on prevention of these types of problems by eliminating the cause of the problems at their source.
The role that money has played in the sprout issue is one that plagues many industries and will be solved by an Equal Money System quite easily. Having worked in a large company, paid minimum wage, with very little training, I have direct experience of the role that these factors play in safety and prevention of accidents. When profit is the bottom line, many times companies will deliberately pay their hourly employees as little as legally possible and train them as little as legally possible. So not only does this result in a workforce of poorly trained workers, but also in a workforce comprised of people who do not feel valued for their work and who in return do not value the service that they provide. In my year of working at Walmart as a stockroom associate, I witnessed countless examples of employees cutting corners and doing the very least that they could to fall within the 'guidelines' set by the company in terms of safety. We received very little training for a day on a computer. The training used vocabulary that unless one had been working at the company for some time already, would be for the most part meaningless.
The following are examples of employees not following proper procedures taken from an article at Food Safety News which also show directly how sprouts can easily become contaminated through not following proper safety protocols:
-- Run-off water from the compost pile pooled into a drain along the walkway, 11 feet from the entrance to the greenhouse. The subsample that yielded the Salmonella outbreak strain was taken from this site.
-- An employee was observed dumping production waste onto the compost pile.
-- After walking through the compost pile and pooled water along the walkway, the employee returned to the production area wearing the same clothing and boots that he had worn outside.
-- In addition, two employees pushed a cart containing trays of alfalfa sprouts from the sprouting area out through the greenhouse exit.
-- After walking and wheeling the cart through the compost pile, the employees returned to the production area with the cart, wearing the same clothing and boots that they had worn outside.
--The employees did not clean or disinfect their boots or the cart at any time between these two activities.
-- The sink employees used to wash their hands in the lunch room before entering the production area had a hose with a valve on its end that was leaking water onto a floor where there was a substantial amount of foot traffic. FDA noted that organic matter, in conjunction with wet conditions, such as those observed in the facility, foster the growth of Salmonella and other pathogens.
In an Equal Money System a business such as this would simply be shut down and its workers retrained, because there would be no fear of the workers not having income while being retrained. However, in an Equal Money System it would be highly unlikely that products that come with a high risk factor for disease would even be manufactured and sold. Again, when profit is not the motive, but rather what is Best for All - then radically different decisions would be made compared to the ones being made on a daily basis currently. Decisions which only benefit very few who are on the receiving end of the profits.
When we fundamentally change our relationship towards money, collectively as humanity, our relationships towards ourselves, each other, our work, everything will change.
Vote for Equal Money and ensure that profit is never placed before safety.