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Sat., Sept. 6, 2008

Farmers in southwest Idaho benefited from greater enthusiasm for locally grown crops after a salmonella outbreak this summer.

“There’s a huge demand for this, and it’s just growing,” said Sharon Johnson of Dragon Fly Farms.

Federal agencies reported Thursday that the largest outbreak of food-borne illness in a decade appears to be over after sickening at least 1,440 people, but the source may never be known, partly because of shortcomings in the food safety system.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration found strong evidence to implicate jalapeno and serrano peppers, as well as a farm in Mexico, but investigators were unable to clear domestic and imported tomatoes although the evidence against tomatoes is weaker.

Sellers also tout locally grown produce as fresher and better for the environment because it doesn’t take as much energy to ship as products that are grown farther away.

“It’s right out of the field, it’s fresh and there’s no chemicals on it,” said Johnson, who specializes in growing hard-to-find Mexican peppers.

Shopping safety: A trip to the grocery store or mall can turn south if you happen to be in the sights of a thief. Heed these safety tips when you head out to shop:

•Never leave packages, bags, cell phones, purses or other valuable items inside your car where they can be seen from the outside.

•Never fight over parking spaces. It’s not worth pushing the wrong person to become violent. Your car could also be vandalized as a result.

•Always park in a well-lighted area and with other people around if possible. Look for landmarks and remember where you parked so you don’t roam the parking lot looking for your car after shopping.

•When shopping, always try to walk with someone else. Robbers seldom confront multiple victims. Carry your purse on the opposite side of traffic when walking through a parking lot. Plan to obtain cash during the day and avoid using an ATM at night.

•When loading packages or children into your car, keep an eye on purses, other bags and packages. Put your purse in the car first, then unload your bags.

•Never store a purse in the child’s seat of a shopping cart. Place it in the cart and keep it closed to protect your wallet.

From wire reports


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