The latest E. coli scare last month prompted Bee readers to express disbelief that state public health officials had not received any reports that anyone had gotten sick from potentially tainted bags of pre-packaged salad mix.
One Sacramento woman said she and her son were hospitalized after eating the salad, which was the subject of a recall. Several other callers also said that, without a doubt, they had eaten from a bag of bad product.
But none of those who contacted The Bee said they had taken the time to call local health officials.
If consumers suspect that tainted food has made them ill, they should contact their doctor, said state Public Health Department spokesman Ralph Montaño. A doctor can help determine whether tainted food was potentially the cause and if necessary contact the county public health department.
"The county is the first line of defense in these cases," Montaño said.
Robert Schlag, chief of the state agency's Food, Drug and Radiation Safety Division, said local departments need the reports "so that officials are alerted to a potential problem that may exist in the food supply or with practices at a retail food facility."
--Bobby Caina Calvan