One of my summer pleasures is going to Haymarket on a weekend in Boston, MA. It is a mixture of nationalities combined with fruits and vegetables. In the middle is a pizza store and Quincy Market is a stones throw away. If you don’t go with a cart on wheels, the purchases can get quite heavy. If you often enough, you start to know the vendors and who has a better selection than others.
If I had dared to reach into my pocketbook and pull out my cell phone, I would have taken a picture of a carton of cantaloupes marked “Athena”. I wondered about their origin. Nothing was marked except the word “Athena” and it gave me the chills. Athena cantaloupes were not part of the original recall, they were incorrectly identified.
I asked one of the vendors where the cantaloupe came from and her response was, “I think from California”. I didn’t purchase any cantaloupes or romaine lettuce. but seeing cantaloupes in so many stalls worried me. Do the vendors sell recalled product? This is not a farmers market and restaurants purchase produce for their restaurants at reduced prices.
Bill Marler sent me an e-mail that had quotes from last years Jenson Farms cantaloupe victims:
Last year, as my mom lay dying of listeria from a Jensen Farms cantaloupe, she prayed that it would never happen to anyone else. She was not normally a litigious person, but joined the lawsuit against Jensen Farms to help effect change.
You can’t imagine how my heart ached when I read that there is now a salmonella outbreak from cantaloupe! Then I got the below email from the attorney representing my mom and over 40 others. My heart still aches, but now it is also filled with anger from what our government isn’t doing to protect us!
and another one:
I can’t believe that as we near the anniversary of my mother’s death from eating Listeria contaminated cantaloupe that we are looking again at illnesses and deaths from cantaloupe. And, this is coming on the heels of another widespread cantaloupe recall from Listeria that is still ongoing. Has nothing been learned? Is anyone listening? Are more deaths to be accepted as business as usual?
Congress has its head so deep in the sand of denial that they can’t hear our voices warning them. So I understand now, more than ever, the need for louder noise on the part of the informed to drag our government leaders out and make them hear what’s at stake. Americans shouldn’t have to lose a family member to foodborne illness to become aware of or understand the importance of this issue.
The loss of 37 lives last year due to Jensen Farm’s negligence, in the largest foodborne death toll in a hundred years, is the tip of the possible iceberg should a huge farm with wider distribution make similar mistakes and flood our nations markets with deadly produce on an even larger scale.
So I am wondering, is the produce at Haymarket safe? There is no way to tell. The vendors must be held accountable so that the thousands of patrons at Haymarket won’t become ill.
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