Sen. Florez pursues E. coli agreement

Senator Dean Florez (D-Shafter) is criticizing a new agreement between spinach processors aimed at preventing another E. coli outbreak. Florez, the Chairman of a newly-formed Senate Committee on food-borne illness, is criticizing the agreement because only 24 of 170 processors of spinach and other leafy greens signed it. Florez said even though the 24 processors supply 70 percent of the leafy greens, 30 percent non-compliance with the agreement is unacceptable. "I think there’s no other way to view it, that this is not taken seriously by those other than the 24 that said yes," Florez said. "I think they’re important players because it only takes one rogue player to put out a bad batch of spinach." A spokesperson for the health department said it believes the marketing agreement is a good first step to address food safety issues. September’s E. coli outbreak killed four people and sickened more than 200.