Maybe bagged lettuce and spinach aren’t worth the convenience. The CDC and FDA have now confirmed 146 people from 23 states as becoming ill with E. coli O157:H7 infections after eating bagged spinach. 76 of those people have been hospitalized; 23 with HUS. This may be just one more example of a systemic problem that’s been plaguing the fresh produce industry.

In past outbreaks, there has never been a smoking gun. They’ve never found the farm or the cow that caused the E. coli contamination. They’ve never been able to do that, and that’s been frustrating for both the FDA and the industry.

When you’re eating a bag, you may be eating parts of ten, twenty, thirty, forty bunches of spinach or lettuce. You have a couple of pieces of bad heads of lettuce or bad bunches of spinach and it gets massively processed in a big facility that gets spread out among hundreds if not thousands of bags.

Perhaps we’ve reached a point where all of us need to strike a new balance between what is convenient and what is risk.