Victims of the 2006 E. coli outbreak linked to fresh spinach tell their stories in a new food safety training video co-produced by the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement and the non-profit group STOP Foodborne Illness.
Lauren Bush tells her story in the video, describing how as a 20-year-old college student she contracted an infection from a spinach salad that ultimately sent her to the hospital with hemorrhaging and other severe symptoms.
“I’m so pleased with the video,” Bush said during a Nov. 19 Internet press conference. “I hope it reminds everyone who sees it of the importance of what they are doing. I know it must be a lot of extra work, but it does save lives.”
Dan Sutton, LGMA member and general manager of Pismo Oceano Vegetable Exchange, said he attended a training session a week before the press conference and watched the reactions of people seeing it for the first time.
“There was absolute silence when it was over,” Sutton said. “It had an impact.”
The video is bilingual with segments presented in Spanish and English.
Arturo Sanchez, LGMA member and general manager of Faurot Ranch, is featured in the video discussing how he encourages workers to keep individual consumers in mind when discussing food safety protocols with them.
Chairman of the LGMA, Ryan Talley of Talley Farms, said during the press conference that rank-and-file workers on the frontlines of food safety everyday will better understand their importance is they see the video. He said it will be used in the LGMA Tech training courses.
“This video goes beyond explaining food safety practices,” Talley said. “It shows the consequences.”
Mike Taylor, deputy commissioner for food at the Food and Drug Administration, participated in the press conference via phone. He said the subject matter was too important for him to miss the opportunity to comment.
“The coming together of (food) producers and victims is a wonderful demonstration of the common interests we all have in food safety,” Taylor said.
Deirdre Schlunegger, CEO of Chicago-based STOP Foodborne Illness (formerly Safe Tables Our Priority), said the organization is working with the LGMA and other produce industry groups to encourage Congress to fully fund the Food Safety Modernization Act. She said the video will be used in the organization’s ongoing efforts to achieve that goal.