The future is now

Departments - Editor’s Letter

My mother always told us it’s never nice to bask in the shortcomings of others.

But does that same mom-ism apply to the competitive and cutthroat world of produce farming?

I ask because, just as we were headed out on holiday break back in late December, news of yet another nationwide salad mix recall started trickling out, and this was a big one.

Fresh Express, one of the nation’s top-selling salad mix brands, is owned by Chiquita Brands International. The giant food processing conglomerate announced it was clawing back 20 salad mix products produced at its Streamwood, Illinois, facility for listeria contamination.

The ensuing listeria outbreak — which is still officially under investigation by the FDA — tragically claimed three lives and led to about 26 hospitalizations, and it’s still not 100% clear whether the outbreak is contained as of the writing of this article.

Listeria poisoning is no minor health ailment, either.

Listeriosis, the infection caused by eating food contaminated with the listeria bacterium, can be particularly serious (and even fatal) for those over the age of 65. Pregnant women and young children are also vulnerable to it.

With that in mind, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that controlled environment agriculture is a great solution to this seemingly never-ending parade of contaminated field crops inexplicably infiltrating our food system; we simply need to grow more clean, safe and flavor-packed produce in controlled (i.e. protected) environments when we can.

Is the future a world free from food safety issues in produce, thanks to the awesome work all you CEA early adopters have already undertaken? We sure hope so.

Matthew Grassi, Editor | mgrassi@gie.net | 216-393-0362