Know The Grow (www.knowthegrow.org) is an organization established to help consumers identify food products that are certified to be free of disease and contaminants.
The recent outbreak of E.coli in lettuce is causing panic in consumers.
On November 20, The Food and Drug Administration announced an investigation of a multistate outbreak of E. coli P157 H7 illnesses, likely linked to romaine lettuce. In the announcement, the FDA recommended that people not eat romaine lettuce until more was known about the source of contamination and the status of the outbreak.
As of last week, the contamination source had been traced to the central coast growing regions of northern and central California where the romaine had been harvested.
An earlier E.coli outbreak sickened 210 people in 36 states between March 13 and June 6. The age of victims ranged from 1 to 88 years of age. Ninety-six of those folks were sick enough to be hospitalized; 27 of those developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. Five people from four states died. It was the worst outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 since a 2006 outbreak linked to spinach.
During that investigation, the FDA discovered that the outbreak couldn’t be traced back to a single grower, harvester, processor or distributor. It was across multiple supply chains. That led to suspicions that the outbreak might be from a common water source.
Later, the CDC said that indeed, samples taken from canal water that irrigated the growing fields were laced with the same deadly bacteria.
Interestingly, not all of the people who became sick had actually eaten romaine lettuce. Some had close contact with people who had eaten the infected greens.
In response to this latest outbreak, the CDC issued a new label regulation that requires that Romaine lettuce products be labeled with a harvest location by region. However, as noted on the CDC website, “It may take some time before these labels are available.”
This label regulation is completely ineffective. It assumes that consumers will know which regions are safe and which are not. Additionally, it does not cover any other type of vegetable, herb, or produce.
Know the Grow does the research and identifies growers that adhere to the highest standards of food and agricultural safety, and provides a certification to growers upon a rigorous inspection and survey process.
The first company certified by Know the Grow is Grow Pod Solutions (www.growpodsolutions.com), a California-based developer of automated “GrowPods” that can be placed anywhere to provide fresh, clean food in virtually any location.
The GrowPod system features the world’s first medical grade cultivation environment. It uses advanced micro-filtration to assure that its plants are disease and contaminant free.
The GrowPod hydroponic growing system utilizes sterile water and purified air in a sealed and filtered environment, thus eliminating the sources of contamination.
The company’s patented bipolar air ionization reduces airborne pollutants and creates a medical-grade growing environment. The process delivers ionized oxygen molecules – neutralizing chemical compounds and VOCs, and sterilizing mold and bacteria, to create the optimum environment for safe, clean cultivation.
“We provide farm-to-table freshness with 100% traceability,” said George Natzic, president of Grow Pod Solutions. “And through our proprietary water and air delivery systems, we can guarantee that our plants are free of harmful pathogens,” he added.
Know the Grow certified Grow Pod Solutions as a Clean Grower, and offers consumers confidence that any produce grown in the company’s patented “GrowPods” are safe and free from disease.
Know the Grow is in the process of certified additional growers throughout the nation. Consumers are asked to visit the organization’s website for updates and to find a Certified Grower near them.