201 Do new FDA standards make any sense?

Comments

Tom Garrett 1 year, 3 months ago

The FDA has come up with a massive overhaul of the nation's food-safety system. Lots of new regulations. And it made a change in which fruits and vegetables would be subject to strict new handling standards: Those usually consumed raw would be included, while those usually cooked or processed would be exempt.

Sounds okay, right?

Except that somebody, somewhere didn't think it through. They included things which should not be included.

The regulations include new rules for regular testing of irrigation water, keeping animals away from crops, and what crop handlers do when they feel an urge. That makes a lot of sense for things like lettuce, spinach, squash, cantaloupes, potatoes, pumpkins and other things that are grown on the ground. It might even make some sense for things like tomatoes and peppers which are grown fairly close to the ground and have been implicated in some large outbreaks of disease.

But apples? Oranges? Cherries? Pears?

Hey, stupid! They grow in trees!

Apple orchard owners are going "bananas," (which by the way are also included in the new rules).

Has anyone, anywhere ever gotten ill from eating an apple or orange which wasn't picked up off the ground?

Do you want to pay the prices this is going to put on fruit at the supermarket?

The FDA comments that the new rules will only cost us about half a billion each year.

Only?

One apple farmer says, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it."

Sounds good to me.

There's got to be an agenda. Anyone got a clue what it is?

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Pat Randall 1 year, 3 months ago

all raw fruit and vegetables should be washed, even if grown on trees or off the ground. Most of it has been sprayed with bug killer or fertilizer. Think about it.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 3 months ago

Pat,

Your comment makes me suspect that I didn't make the issue as clear as I should have. I thought this one sentence I included would make it clear what the tree fruit growers were angry about. "The regulations include new rules for regular testing of irrigation water, keeping animals away from crops, and what crop handlers do when they feel an urge."

See? Irrigation water, animals (cattle actually), and the crop harvesters themselves when they are in the field and feel a call of nature. Those things, and several other elements of the new rules that I didn't mention because I thought those three would be enough to make the picture clear, have nothing whatsoever to do with the fruit you buy and eat, but FDA has just lazily written blanket regulations.

Anyway, all raw fruit that you buy which is grown in the United States, which is the only place where the new rules will apply, is always washed in the factory that sorts, cleans, and boxes them. That has always been so. The new FDA rules do NOT add any additional requirements in that area. Instead, what they do is add requirements about what must be done to avoid GROUND level problems.

There isn't the slightest doubt in my mind that the regulations were prompted at least in part by the e-coli contamination in some hot peppers last year and the year before that caused so many people to become ill. But from what I read at the time that contamination did not occur in this country.

Does that help?

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Pat Randall 1 year, 3 months ago

Tom. NO. Where did you get your information that all fruit grown in US was washed? J-Johns in the orchard? I lived near citrus orchards in Mesa and Gilbert for over 40 years and most of the citrus was boxed as it was picked. Now they put something on them to make them shiny. Check the citrus next time you are in the store.

You are touching the rind and then the fruit inside when you are peeling it. So if there is something on the outside you are putting it on the fruit inside. Clever deduction, right?

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 3 months ago

Sorry, Pat; you're a bit out of date.

A long time ago the government placed regulations on orchards and packing houses. I don't know much about how lettuce or celery is processed, but I've seen apples being processed. They are actually scrubbed, dried, polished, and waxed before they are packed for shipment. It's not like the old days. None of that old box-them-in-the-field stuff.

Here are a couple of comments from an current article on fruit handling:

"A packing house is a facility where fruit is received and processed prior to distribution to market."

"Bulk fruit such as apples, oranges, pears, and the like is delivered to the plant via trucks or wagons (where the plant is close to the orchards), where it is placed in receiving bins and sorted for quality and size before being washed and dried."

"The fruit is transported via conveyor belts to the grading tables where it is visually sorted into three grades: top quality, average, and orchard run, and is then carried via belts to the packing tables."

"Obvious "culls" (fruit that is not suitable to sell for eating due to cosmetic defects) are removed and sold for juice or other uses."

"Fruit that is ready to be packed into crates or flats is run through a washer and then air-dried. A light coating of natural wax is applied to help the fruit retain moisture and enhance its appeal."

"Packed boxes are stored in a "pre-cooler" to prepare them for the trip to market by refrigerated truck or rail. Fruit was shipped across the country in ventilated or insulated boxcars before the advent of the refrigerator car, but are now shipped in refrigerated cars."

Not much like the old days, is it?

We pay a little more for that, but it's worth it.

My you, it is possible that fruit that is not shipped across a state line might be handled by the pickers and just tossed into a box the way you saw it done. It would have to be plainly marked as "locally grown" to avoid the normal processing requirements, and I doubt that any store up here would be likely to have it. You can check the labels.

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Pat Randall 1 year, 3 months ago

Like I said it should be washed if it has wax on it. Go by the old packing sheds on Broadway near Center street in Mesa. They are falling down from non use. Had a car accident in front of them about 5 yrs ago.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 3 months ago

That's probably why they quit using them. You scared them. :-)

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 3 months ago

That's probably why they quit using them. You scared them. :-)

Test.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 3 months ago

Hey folks, pay attention to this:

Just made a discovery that may help you, especially you, Pat.

Notice the post above. I wrote the first sentence, posted it, and checked to make sure it had been posted. Then, curious about what would happen, I hit the back button on my browser to go back to the screen where I had written the post. I thought for sure that it would not let me change anything.

But guess what? It did! That's why you see that work "Test."

And I'll try it again on this post. I will not post it....

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 3 months ago

Hey folks, pay attention to this:

Just made a discovery that may help you, especially you, Pat.

Notice the post above. I wrote the first sentence, posted it, and checked to make sure it had been posted. Then, curious about what would happen, I hit the back button on my browser to go back to the screen where I had written the post. I thought for sure that it would not let me change anything.

But guess what? It did! That's why you see that work "Test."

And I'll try it again on this post. I will not post it....

And now I went back and could have corrected the sentence above, which should have said "I will NOW post it...."

PS: I did not use the edit button.

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Pat Randall 1 year, 3 months ago

Tom, The sheds were closed long before our car accident.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 3 months ago

Pat,

Did you get what I said about being able to go back to a page that is gone?

Suppose you are typing and the page "disappears." The only way a page in a browser can "disappear" is if you go to a new page. So if you just press the Back button on your screen it should allow you to go back and get back what you lost, even if part of it posted and part didn't.

I lived ot worked in Mesa for 15 years but I've never seen those sheds. South or North Central?

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Pat Randall 1 year, 3 months ago

Tom, Center St. in Mesa runs N. and S. Broadway E. and W. Broadway is south of Main St. The sheds are West of Center St. on Broadway. Did you get lost often in Mesa? (:

Nothing can help me with a computer ! Thanks anyway.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 3 months ago

Never any trouble with Mesa. I read Daniel W. Jones' book, "My Forty Years Among the Indians," read about how he founded Lehi, and the layout of the town back then, and everything was as logical as it gets.

I have a new Mac that I feel the same way about as you do about computers. I hate the dumb thing and will never buy another Mac again (after using nothing else 25 years). I do not know what is wrong with programmers these days. I was taught to make everything as clear as possible to the user, to make everything intuitive. These days they put in twelve million "features" that nobody wants, and turn them all on instead of letting you decide which ones you want.

The other day i was typing a list of things. I typed the first one of two items, putting an asterisk in front of it. Then I did the same with the second item. When I pressed Enter to go down a line and type something the %$#@! program put an asterisk at the beginning of the sentence. Took me five minutes to find out where to turn the stupid thing off! The %$#@! programmers put all kinds of "features" into programs just to show how clever they are; they're not there for someone to use. If they were, someone would use them, but everyone I talk to spends time shutting them off.

They took the Save as command out of the latest (crummy) Mac word processing program. Why? It's a command everyone uses almost ever day. But knowing that everyone actually uses it, they put it in the help program. Only problem is that it takes almost two minutes to get to it. Result? I do not use their crummy program.

Another thing I've run into in Macintosh programming is the lack of a toggle switch on some menu commands. Know what I mean? There's a command that says--say--"Hide the freegrammonater." You click on it and it hides it. When you click on it again it should say "Show the freegrammonater," but it doesn't. Why? because some lunkhead of a programmer put another command somewhere that says, "Uplock all schearogrates," and a freegrammonater is a schearograte.

And the worst kind of thing is anything like a "feature" Apple has put into its latest dumb-adze operating system. They have it set so that you cannot make a window any smaller than about the size of your hand! Why? Who the hell could possibly want such a "feature?" I want to control my computer, not have it control me!

And as for help programs. They might as well write them in Norwegian.

I have been seriously thinking of buying a PC, loading LINUX into a (an operating system that you can program yourself) and being happy again. The only command I would put into it other the necessary ones is, "Press this button; kill a programmer."

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