Friday, February 20, 2009

Peanuts Recall

I am thinking about peanuts. It appears that the current recall is growing day by day, to include products made with peanuts, peanut butter, and peanut paste coming from the Peanut Corporation of America. The Food and Drug Administration has issued a very long list of affected products. The number of hits in a Yahoo search is very long. Just type in Peanuts Recall.

Recalls due to food borne “bugs” like salmonella and e coli are happening often enough to cause me and others to take notice. We remember the nationwide spinach and hamburger recalls that made the news not long ago. I have read in the news sources that conventional food production by big business isn’t being inspected very often by the FDA because the FDA is underfunded and understaffed. I read that the companies that make the food products are funding the FDA at levels at least as high as or higher than the government funds it. That’s called the fox guarding the henhouse.

Where are this country’s priorities? There are now many ways to make people sick as long as people continue to eat. Once upon a time people could trust the country’s food supply and the agency that oversees it.

I know that some peanutty foods are not contaminated. I can go to the store and buy some peanut butter that is ok if I choose. Not so the nursing home residents and others in institutions. They deserve food that they can trust.

It’s not just peanuts, spinach and hamburger. I read a book some time ago, called Death by Supermarket: the Fattening, Dumbing Down, and Poisoning of America, by Nancy Deville. Part I is called How Factory Food Changed the Way We Lived…and Die. It was published in 2007. Mostly it is about factory, or manufactured, foods that are responsible for the high rate of American obesity, but it also points out causes of food contamination. In the context of factory farming of animals, she says, “According to CDC, each year food-borne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5000 deaths in the United States” (p. 140).

Enjoy your peanut butter.

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