4 California Food Producer EDITION 1, 2018 By now, you’ve most certainly heard about the recent nation-wide E-Coli related recall of romaine lettuce. The reports indicate that, as of May1 as many as 121 people have become ill across 25 states, with a 40% hospitalization rate. Recent develop- ments have shown that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has traced the source of the outbreak to chopped lettuce. To put things into perspective, a 2014 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) study revealed that 48 million people (one in six Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die every year as a direct result of foodborne illnesses1 . To make matters worse, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated the approximate costs associated with foodborne illnesses was $15.6 billion 1 Foodborne illnesses and Germs, CDC, 2014 https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/ foodborne-germs.html that same year. According to data accumulated by the CDC in a 2015 study2 , almost half of all foodborne illnesses are related to the produce industry with the balance coming dairy and eggs at around 20%, meat and poultry at 22% and shellfish at 6%. And finally, in 2013 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that leafy vegetables were responsible for one quarter of all food poisoning cases3 . Though not all cases can be traced back to pre-cut produce, a significant portion could have certainly come into contact with industrial equipment, especially in the bagged retail produce space. With the final stages of the Food Safety Modernization Act looming, tremendous pressure has been placed on the produce industry to re-evaluate not just their sanitation procedures, but their equipment. An efficient, well-designed sanitary piece of equipment however, along with proper sanitation protocols, can significantly reduce the risk of foodborne illness and the negative after effects. So, when it comes to choosing equipment, any food manufacturer’s best bet is consideration for the 10 Principles of Sanitary Design. 2 CDC research, Foodborne illness source attribution, Feb 2015: https://www.cdc. gov/foodsafety/pdfs/ifsac-project-report-508c.pdf 3 CDC research, foodborne illnesses, 1998-2008, March 2013: https://wwwnc.cdc. gov/eid/article/19/3/pdfs/11-1866.pdf Keeping It Clean “If you can't see it and you can't touch it, then you can't clean it." Put simply, if you're working with a non-CIP environment, you need to be able to clean everything.