Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Have you ever thought about the growing conditions of the vegetables and fruit that you buy? For those of us that can grow our own vegetables and fruit, we can control the growing conditions in making decisions about whether to add fertilizer and if so what kind, whether to spray, where we get our water source and so on. I read an interesting article this week and also watched a television program that made me pause and think about the bagged spinach I have in the fridge.

First the good news story. A microbiologist from the Georgia State University in the U.S. has developed a technique to keep produce and flowers fresh for longer periods of time (Science Daily October 20, 2009). Dr. Pierce found a naturally microorganism in the soil that induces enzymes in the plant that extends the ripening time of fruits and vegetables and keeps the bloom of flowers fresh. The professor compared it to using diet and exercise to improve the performance of an athlete. The impact of this discovery is that less waste would occur as the produce would not ripen as fast plus the produce could be shipped longer distances. The other interesting thing about this new process is that genetic engineering is not involved nor is adding pathogens. There does not appear to be anything negative about the growing conditions.

My second issue does deal with negative growing conditions. On Monday night I watched CSI Miami. I am regular viewer of the various CSI programs and enjoy these shows. This episode ended up focussing on poor and life threatening growing conditions that caused the death of two young adults. One died from eating spinach that had e. coli and the second died from eating corn that had been genetically modified with the organism that causes botulism. Of course the spinach was being grown on land that was irrigated by water contaminated with e. coli. The water was contaminated by the cattle feedlot situated next to the farm. While watching this show I thought about the two bags of spinach I have in the fridge. I thought how appetizing this is as I was planning to eat this spinach this week. Food safety is important and all of us should take care in knowing how our food is grown and how we should be storing it and cooking it.

I did eat the spinach tonight in my salad.

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