Why is it always lettuce?

The US celebrated Thanksgiving last week, and many did so without including romaine lettuce, which is the source of yet another E. coli outbreak. That’s three in the last year for those keeping score at home. As of Friday, the FDA has identified that the tainted greens likely came from California… dang, can that state get a break? While the west half of the country has the objectively wrong choice for favorite Thanksgiving side dish, they should at least be able to enjoy it on that hallowed day. California also had the highest share of affected persons, totaling 10 of the 32 cases. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb noted that they’re working to get date labels on “post-purge” (so, unaffected) produce, something that could evolve into a standard practice anyway.


Ready for a dip in the pool? Might want to wait until November. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July is the peak month for sickness due to swimming in public places. Germs such as E. coli and cryptosporidium “…make people sick when they swallow water contaminated with poop,” the CDC inelegantly reported last week.  “Swimmers can be a source of fecal contamination if they have a fecal incident [a.k.a., “sh!##ing oneself”] in the water…” stated the researchers. Thanks, Captain Obvious. But fear not, if a “fecal incident” is suspected, Carl Spangler will take care of it. In the meantime, can we all just agree to not poop in the pool?

1. Now that’s a mouthful

It’s synonymous with illnesses and we all try to avoid it at Chipotle. Yep, it’s bacteria. But don’t break out the Purell just yet. It seems a startup has found another good use for E. coli, albeit genetically modified. This engineered strain of bacteria has an insatiable appetite for ammonia. When our bodies are unable to naturally process ammonia, it leads to urea cycle disorders which are estimated to cause up to 20% of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome cases and a myriad of other dangerous, fatal disorders. Luckily, treatment couldn’t be easier. Just one pill packed with 100 billion (with a B!) of the modified bacteria and your body will be eating ammonia like it’s turkey on Thanksgiving. Speaking of… for our US readers, this is how you carve a turkey. Gobble, gobble.