The FDA Reversed Rules That Could’ve Prevented All the E. Coli Outbreaks This Year to Protect “Big Ag”

December 2, 2018 at 6:31 pm

Factory farm runoff is contaminating our lettuce and other produce with E. coli. The FDA reversed rules that would’ve made this illegal.

Runoff from factory farm manure is getting into the water used to irrigate our crops, contaminating our produce with E. coli, salmonella, listeria and other deadly pathogens.

This year it caused two major Romaine lettuce recalls. In years past it’s been green onions, cucumbers and other leafy greens, killing hundreds and sickening thousands.

In the past food poisoning was limited to meat, but the pathogens from sickly animals in factory farms are now making it all the way into our salads.

A report by the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal explains why this is happening:

It starts with overcrowding animals, giving them poor diets, limiting sunshine and fresh air, and then pumping them full of antibiotics that create resilient pathogens. These pathogens multiply in festering manure lagoons. This sludge water is either sprayed directly onto crops or seeps into groundwater and wells used for irrigation on neighboring farms. The contaminated crops are then harvested and sold around the country.

RELATED: The Real Cause of Antibiotic-Resistant “Superbugs” is Factory Farming

Under the Obama Administration, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration decided to do something about this in 2011 by creating a new rule requiring crop growers test their irrigation for pathogens.

The new rule was supposed to go into effect in January of 2018, but under pressure from the agriculture industry, the Trump administration shelved the water-testing rules for six more years.

Under the current plan, large growers do not have to start testing their water for pathogens until 2022. And they don’t have to stop using contaminated water on crops until 2024.

“Mystifying, isn’t it?” Trevor Suslow, a food safety expert at the University of California, Davis, told Reveal. “If the risk factor associated with agricultural water use is that closely tied to contamination and outbreaks, there needs to be something now. … I can’t think of a reason to justify waiting four to six to eight years to get started.”

Well, there is one reason… Delaying the new rules saves the agriculture industry $12 million per year.

Meanwhile, is expected to cost consumers $108 million per year in medical costs, according to the FDA.

“Essentially, it’s like a tax cut for growers and a tax hike for lettuce eaters,” notes