06_0024.jpgHave you seen the new graphic ads that will be placed on cigarette packages?

I get asked all the time what foods I do not eat and what recommend that others not eat.  My top two are raw milk and sprouts – not necessarily in that order.

With the German/French sprout E. coli O104:H4 outbreak going on, and yet another Salmonella sprouts outbreak here in the U.S. following close behind, I am having a hard time keeping up on the number of outbreaks.  I had some 40 on my list a few weeks ago.  That number is growing, as is the need for adequate warnings to consumers.  In September 1998, the FDA issued a warning against sprouts urging:

children, pregnant women and the elderly should not eat alfalfa sprouts until growers find a way to reduce the risk of a potentially deadly bacteria that infects some sprouts, the Food and Drug Administration said this week. The FDA, which is investigating sprout industry practices, said children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems should avoid eating sprouts. The agency’s statement, issued Monday, repeated similar but little-noticed advice the U.S. Centers for Disease Control gave to doctors and researchers a year ago.

I am also seeing growing outbreaks of bacterial contamination tied to raw milk consumption in the past two years.  The FDA issued similar warnings on raw milk:

Raw milk is milk from cows, sheep, or goats that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria. This raw, unpasteurized milk can carry dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria, which are responsible for causing numerous foodborne illnesses.  These harmful bacteria can seriously affect the health of anyone who drinks raw milk, or eats foods made from raw milk. However, the bacteria in raw milk can be especially dangerous to pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems.

Personally I think taking a page out of cigarette advertising makes sense:

Raw Milk and Sprouts are a raw agricultural product and may contain harmful bacteria (not limited to E. coli, Campylobacter, Listeria and Salmonella) and have been linked to serious injury and death. Pregnant women, infants, children, the elderly, and persons with lowered resistance to disease (immune compromised) have the highest risk of harm, which includes bloody diarrhea, vomiting, fever, dehydration, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Reactive Arthritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, miscarriage, or death.

And, we could add these pictures to the labels as well:

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Although not all pictured above were sickened by sprouts or raw milk, FDA, feel free to use the warning and the photos – no charge.  By the way, I wonder if I should ask for the $10,000 I donated to the sprout growers?