Monday, December 11, 2006

Dear Green Onions... Get Well Soon

Sad day, green onions from Salinas, California have been traced with strands of E. coli (Escherichia coli). Several people have fallen ill in the Northeast from eating green onions. Taco Bell has removed green onions from all of their 5,800 restaurants. Taco Bell is also investigating the facility that provides other produce for their food. Ready Pac Produce supplies Taco Bell with lettuce, tomatoes and onions. I'm sure most of you have heard of Ready Pac salads. They are the ones that sell the 'triple-washed' packages. I've never trusted that. Always wash vegetables efore eating.

E. coli along with other diseases such as Hepatitis C come from food handlers that DO NOT wash their hands after going to the bathroom. Not #1... #2! Nasty.

Yesterday, I was at 99 Ranch and walked by the green onions in the produce section. I stared at them and shook my head in pity. I cannot survive without green onions. I was planning on making Chinese beef noodle soup this week but MUST have green onions. I'm sure they are safe to buy, but I'm not going to risk getting ill until its clear. Just wanted to make sure everyone was aware of this issue. Green onions... please come back soon haha.


Renée said...

Oh my gosh, at hot pot this weekend I had boatloads of slice green onions (and bushes of cilantro) in my mixing sauce. I'd probably turn green from the amounts I used. Now that you've posted this notice, I'm all paranoid. I could have gotten really sick! Look at what you've done. :P

H. C. said...

Actually E. coli has many different origins and methods of transmission asides from unhygienic food handlers, though all of them are equally nasty (involving poop of some form or another, since E. coli is primarily a gut bacteria.)

And unfortunately, washing doesn't do much good against E. coli ~ since only small amounts are needed to disrupt the GI:

(I'm not much a fan of water washing vegetables anyways since it leaches out some water-soluble vitamins and tends to bland out the flavors, I do "dry wipe" them with paper towels and occasional scrub ~ particularly recommended for mushrooms.)

I'm not sure if leeks are on the watch list as well, but they could be an alternative to green onions.

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Renee, I think you should be ok since you're in Canada. You know how to eat hot pot the right way with boatloads of scallions/cilantro.

HC, thanks for the background on E. coli. The point is, there are some NASTY people out there. I do the same with mushrooms unless there's a lot of dirt on them. I will have to settle for leeks for now... but really, any vegetable that is multi-layered like cabbage, lettuce, and of course green onions can hide/trap impurities. Best way to rid of this problem is to cook everything thoroughly.

2nd-favorite said...

I really hope that this scare will not cause the same overreaction that occured after the spinach incident. We couldn't get spinach for weeks. Where is your sense of adventure? Not going to let this keep you from green onions I hope.
It is true that washing does remove some of the flavor and nutrients but I don't think I would skip that step. Not just because of the questionable habits of food packers but also all of the people at the stores. How many people have you seen smelling produce by inserting directly and forcefully into the nostril?

Jeni said...

I can do without green onions, just as don't hurt my carne asadas.

Chubbypanda said...

Huh. I wonder if that's the same manufacturer that packages green onions for Trader Joe's. It's equally likely that E. coli came from fertilizer (cow poop).

- Chubbypanda

eatdrinknbmerry said...

2nd-fave, I was bummed about spinach too. Another ingredient i like to use in chinese beef noodle soup. Sense of adventure... to the hospital? I don't mind the wait. Cilantro and leeks will suffice. Thanks for stopping by.

J, you are obviously not affected by this tragedy.

CP, i've seen those green onion packs at TJ's. I'm not sure if those are the Ready-pac brand. Even if it's triple-washed, wash it another three times.

Passionate Eater said...

I feel you EDNBM, but I think I will continue to eat green onions as necessary. A little diarrhea and internal bleeding is a necessary compromise for good food with the requisite flavors.

elmomonster said...

Sometimes I wonder what made me ill eating at street vendors in Indonesia the last time I went back there. I was actually hospitalized with GI problems. But man, if it wasn't the best bowl of food I had there!

I use scallions profusely in cooking. So I'm also kind of bummed. But isn't true that if you cook it above a certain temp, you can be assured a safe product?

My favorite way to have green onion is wilted, like they put on top of Com Tam dishes.

2nd-favorite said...

Thank you Passionate Eater, that is the spirit. Good food sometimes requires sacrifice.
As for the green onions from Trader Joe's, since I have a package handy I can tell you that, well that I can't really tell you anything. It doesn't list the actual supplier except that it is a product of Mexico, and thus probably OK, right?

eatdrinknbmerry said...

PE, haha you're a commando.

Elmo, i'm getting ready for my trip to Hong Kong/Taiwan... and i'll be eating tons of street food. I've loaded up on some Po Chai Pills (chinese herbal medicine for GI problems) haha. Oh man, wilted green onions and fried shallots go well on ANYTHING.

2nd-fave, this debate is putting me on the verge of running into the store and buying the whole bushel of scallions. I guess cooking/boiling them should make it sanitary. Maybe if I used MSG, the e. coli will surrender haha.

Yuzu said...

Green onions are kind to me too. But I think it's a good idea to lay off them for a while. Just cook stuff that doesn't use green onions...and say no to Taco Bell! Except for their bean burritos, which I do get a craving for once in a while. But they're safe, because there's nothing natural in those burritos anyway. =D

Daily Gluttony said...

like J, I am pretty much unaffected by this whole green onion thing. i like the flava' but i don't like to actually eat them. in fact, when things like this happen, it makes it easier for me 'cause restaurants automatically leave them out and i don't have to ask.

now if only there'd be a cilantro e-coli outbreak...(yeah, i know all you guys think i'm a freak!)

Deb said...

I knew about it and just finished cutting a beautiful little bundle into chicken salad! What was I thinking???!

chicopants said...

everybody can be cool...I thought the scuzzy green onions were all on trucks to the tristate area.

Christine D. said...

i think we're ok in southern california. I've been eating green onions every day for the past week at least. I didn't even remember the E. coli thing!

Get well soon green onions! (lol i almost typed "get well soon E. coli!")

The Guilty Carnivore said...

looks like it's lettuce, and green onions have been vindicated!

moral of the story: iceberg lettuce makes baby jesus weep.

furry_feline said...

You mean Taco Bell actually used fresh green onions in their "cuisine"? If you think you like green onions, we need to talk.

Don't worry, the spinach scare was only a little while ago and now their back.

Green onions are a necessity, like water. Nice blog.

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