Essay on Green Gardens

Submitted By rachelvanboxtel
Words: 895
Pages: 4

In the article Greene Gardens the 2006 E. coli outbreak in the California spinach industry is described from the perspective of Seth Greene. His story lasts for 29 days with four distinct days being emphasized. Seth Greene is the owner of Greene Gardens, which grew many types of vegetables in California’s Salinas Valley, including broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, and spinach. Greene sold approximately 80% of his crop to GRT Salads and the remaining to smaller processors. Greene’s crop made up about 20% of GRT Salads production, yet GRT marketed that 80% of their vegetables were grown by Greene Gardens. Both of these companies are stakeholders in this story, with Seth Greene and his company being at the forefront. Greene’s dilemma begins with the FDA’s report on September 14, 2006, when they issued a warning to all consumers to avoid eating fresh bagged spinach. Their report stated that an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 had surfaced in eight different states, resulting in the death of one person and 49 others becoming ill. This initial report stated that the first reported case occurred several weeks earlier, but health officials were unable to determine spinach as the culprit until more cases were reported and they were able to find a common link between them. Over a week later the FDA continued to update that the outbreak had spread to 25 states and had risen to 166 people infected. At this point it was also found that the contaminated spinach had been grown in Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Clara Counties, and that spinach grown elsewhere in the U.S. had not been affected. Three companies, including GRT Salads, voluntarily recalled all of their products containing fresh spinach. Fifteen days after the FDA’s initial report it was announced that all of the contaminated spinach was tracked back to one processor, GRT Salads. By this point a total of 187 cases were reported in 26 states and Canada. Samples were collected by California officials to be tested to see where the contamination began. Twenty-nine days after the initial report Greene received a call from the FDA informing him that one of his fields had tested positive for the strain of E. coli O157:H7 which was responsible for the current outbreak. The FDA informed Greene that it was suspected that cattle feces might have been the cause of the contamination, but no cattle feces had been found in Greene’s field. This same day the FDA announced that the State of California had determined that four different fields in Monterey and San Benito counties had tested positive for the E. coli. It was also announced that samples of cattle feces found on one of the implicated ranches tested positive as the same genetic strain that caused the outbreak.
Greene had many decisions to make based on the E. coli dilemma. The first decision I believe that he should have made was to stop harvesting his spinach crop and have tests run on it to see if it had somehow become contaminated. One of the key factors in this decision is that his crop was grown in Salinas Valley, California, which is the largest producing area of fresh spinach located in the U.S. I believe that the decision to stop harvesting may have been an expensive decision to make, but ultimately this decision would have demonstrated that Greene was doing his best to help determine where the contamination began. It also would have shown that his crop was in fact contaminated. Once the outbreak had been tracked