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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5719/do-greedy-spinach-merchants-want-to-kill-you/

Do Greedy Spinach Merchants Want To Kill You?

October 6, 2006 by

The story of the poison spinach might have ended, as the groceries isolated the source of the problem and the baggers turned their attention to the farmers and the farmers looked more carefully into the irrigation and fertilizer sources and otherwise sought to fix the problem. And why wouldn’t they? They are all in business to make money. You can only make money by selling things that people want, and this much is absolutely certain: people don’t want spinach that makes them sick.

But then, and inevitably, the government got involved. FULL ARTICLE


Bill October 6, 2006 at 12:48 pm

Does seem interesting the FBI cares about spinach.
Could it have something to do with the fact that the
company is called “Natural Selections”. Would they be in the clear if they were called “Intelligent Designs?”

David Spellman October 6, 2006 at 1:15 pm

Very witty comment, Bill :).

Totalitarian governments like to pass so many laws that everyone is a criminal. Then they can pick and choose what laws to enforce knowing that they can get you for something if you step out of line.

For example, the men arrested in Texas for buying cell phones. Their crime? Buying anything that could be used in an act of terrorism, in this case a cell phone battery that could be used to detonate a bomb. I own a cell phone, so I could be prosecuted as a terrorist, too.

The moral of the story is that we should stop using cell phones and any other battery operated devices.

David K. Meller October 6, 2006 at 2:19 pm

Were there any regulations which REQUIRED that farmer, transporters, or merchants of the infected spinach be grown, fertilized, harvested, stored, or shipped in a way that increased the threat of bacterial contamination?

It is always characteristic of the government and its agents that they always seek POWER, and avoid RESPONSIBILITY.

Every accident on the government-owned roads is attributed to the allegedly faulty automobile construction–”Greedy auto companies”–or to driver error or malice (e.g. DWI) and NEVER attributed to faults in road construction, maintainance, or inspection, where there is a primary role and responsibility of the government, and the vastly safer alternatives of private, profit-oriented ownership are forbidden. We also see that every health-care mishap is always attributed by the government and its apologists to the alleged “malpractice” on the part of “greedy” insurance companies, health-care providers, or caregivers, and almost NEVER to the arbitrariness, irrationality and corruption of the FDA and AMA, whose regulations and restrictive, legally protected monopoly of medical services make such deaths or injuries almost inevitable; one is therefore inclined to wonder which regulations, of some government agency,e.g. the USDA or the EPA, made this very unpleasant spinach incident a disaster waiting to happen?

Far from this being an incidence of “market failure”, could this be a case of unintended consequnences of some foolish and shortsighted government regulations (although probably well-intentioned) that later cost OTHER PEOPLE millions of dollars in damages, and endangered or injured hundreds of innocent people? Political failure might be a much sounder description!!

Such questions should at least be asked by those who are concerned with food safety or wholesomeness, especially since the government has been so noisily assuming authority in these areas on both the Federal and the State level.

David K. Meller

Cruiser October 6, 2006 at 11:46 pm


Just an FYI, but here’s a situation that occurred in Monterey County (site of the most recent contamination) back in 2003. It affected spinach and lettuce.


M E Hoffer October 7, 2006 at 3:18 am

High concentration Animal Farming, i.e. Dairy, Beef Feed Lots, Pork production, Chicken “raising”, has a serious drawback. Namely, what to do with the wastes from the Animals(?). One half-solution, currently in wide practice, is to “de-water” the wastes to allow the “solids” to more effectively compost. The “water”, and there’s lots of it, is oft-used to supplement Irrigation needs(considered less expensive than having to expand waste-water treatment facilities). Anyway, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, that “water” can be carrier of many different types of potentially nasty organisms, including various and sundry strains of E. coli.. All that to lead to: Has anyone seen this practice mentioned as a potential vector, in connection to this Spinach tale?

Vanmind October 8, 2006 at 9:29 pm

How do they keep things like E Coli out of organic fertilizer?

M E Hoffer October 9, 2006 at 6:34 pm

Interestingly enough, today’s WSJ, 9 October, page B6, reported, as per “company executives”, that the recent “Green Leaf” lettuce recall, affecting the FOXY brand in Western States, was attributible to: “water used to irrigated lettuce fields “may” have been contaminated with E. coli.”

Vanmind, which “fertilizers” are you referring to?

Kevin Carson October 10, 2006 at 1:47 pm

M.E. Hoffer and Vanmind:

E. coli is a naturally occurring bacteria in animal digestive tracts (including human). The much more virulent strain in the manure that contaminated that spinach grows in the acid stomachs of grain-fed beef. Simply switching from grain to grass or straw, when tried, has almost completely eliminated the bad strain.

And in real organic farming (as opposed to the “organic” factory farming that government labelling restrictions, adopted at industry behest, prohibit distinguishing from the real thing) manure is either carefully composted or at least not used to fertilize leafy green stuff that’s grown at ground level and eaten raw.

francis Puertos October 11, 2006 at 9:52 am

Could this be montezuma’s revenge? When a whole agri-farm industry lobbies for guest workers and then makes record profits after firing Americans my concern is that the FBI was brought in to protect the Industry. You can’t drink the water in Mexico and now you can’t eat the spinach at home becuase of an illegal underground workforce. They are here illegaly becuase these businesses want to pay them low wages and the our paid-for cozy government does nothing to enforce the laws against hiring illegal alliens. We make the poor victims out to be the criminals! Then we lower the standards and pay for americans when we allow this to happen.

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