Will Stancil, who’s been arguing over every kind of racial difference and stereotype on the Internet for what seems like weeks, is a big fan of, among other things, foreign cuisine, attacking American cheddar cheese, American-made tacos, and even iceberg lettuce:
Iceberg lettuce is both a marvel of human agricultural engineering, and a gorgeously light and crunchy counterpart to heavier savory fare. Reflexive sneers are the unfortunate legacy of 1970s writers who were trying too hard to repudiate suburban pasts and become real New Yorkers https://t.co/Egv1gxijIt— Megan McArdle (@asymmetricinfo) January 31, 2024
When one commenter says, “Wouldn’t you rather have a greasy, floppy mystery meat taco from a dirty food truck topped with stale onions and cilantro than these fresh homemade tacos made in your own kitchen and topped with healthy salad vegetables?” Stancil accuses him of “quivering in fear of food truck onions,” which is frankly typical Stancil rhetoric.
But you actually should be afraid of taco truck onions, and the people who handle them. I mean, you see headlines like Seattle: 34 People Contract Stomach Illness After Eating From Kirkland Taco Truck At Private Event. Here’s the report from King County Public Health:
Public Health investigated an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness associated with a private event catered by a Tacos El Guero food truck on September 14, 2023. Symptoms and timing of illness onsets were suggestive of a bacterial toxin, such as Clostridium perfringens or Bacillus cereus.
The exact food or drink that caused the illnesses was not identified, though this is not uncommon for outbreaks associated with a bacterial toxin.
Public Health identified 34 sick people that developed one or more symptoms consistent with bacterial toxin, including diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and nausea. Illness onset dates ranged from September 14, 2023, to September 15, 2023.
Public Health actions
On September 15, 2023, a group reported the outbreak to Public Health after eating together on September 14, 2023. Public Health gathered information about symptoms and when people became ill.
Environmental Health investigators visited the mobile food trucks and restaurant on September 18, 2023. Investigators identified potential risk factors for bacterial toxin growth including inadequate refrigeration and improper cooling of food. They also observed inadequate equipment, improper reheating, and lack of managerial oversight. Additionally, food at this event was served out of an unpermitted food truck. Corrective actions were discussed at the time of the visit. Based on unsafe food handling practices identified during the investigation, Environmental Health Investigators closed the restaurant on September 18, 2023.
That’s just one incident, but it’s typical. The problem is that many immigrants from South America don’t know about the Germ Theory of Disease—and might refuse to believe it if you told them.
I first wrote this up in 2006, in a post called Immigration And E. Coli
A Baltimore Sun piece asks Who’s accountable for E. coli?, and suggests ”a modern, integrated food safety system for the United States” needs to be put in place by Congress.
How is that you yourself know about the Germ Theory of disease? Because you learned about it in health class in school, or your parents told you. Mexican immigrants didn’t have those classes, or those parents. How would they know?
According to the Monterey County Herald [E. coli DNA matches cow manure, October 13, 2009] and other news sources, one of the possible mechanisms for the latest E. Coli transmission is ”worker hygiene.”
Bad worker hygiene in agriculture is caused by mass immigration’s effect on the labor force. N.B. Nothing about this situation would be improved by legalization or guest worker programs.
And this is the kind of negative externality of immigration that Stancil refuses to admit exists.
See also, on this subject: