Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Eat at your own risk

In the wake of the peanut-related salmonella outbreak, a new Associated Press investigation finds that the federal government has been cutting back on food-safety inspections and leaving that work to the states. Just a few problems with that. The AP found that the state inspectors are overburdened, lacking in training and do shoddier work than the feds. This means you and I have a greater chance of getting sick from what we eat. In the case of the Peanut Corp. of America plant in Georgia, the AP found that a state inspection last fall turned up only a couple of minor violations. However, when the feds became concerned about a link between the plant and the recent salmonella outbreak, their own, more stringent examination found roaches, mold, a leaky roof and other sanitation failures. Just in recent memory, we’ve had major outbreaks of food-borne illnesses linked to tomatoes, bad beef, green onions and now peanuts. I’m sure there are more. Those are just the ones that come to mind. My guess is that no matter how much money we throw at the problem, these things are going to occur from time to time. Our food chain is just too unwieldy. Even if we could get a handle on the food-safety issues within our own borders, we get fruit from Chile, beef from Uruguay, fish from Vietnam, etc. It makes you want to go pick some berries off a bush in the backyard.



Blogger PRIguy said...

That's why I don't bother spending the extra money on organic food. Sure, it might never have seen a pesticide or chemical fertilizer, but it still has to be processed and shipped.

And peanut butter...what house is without it? How many kids had a PBJ every day for lunch? It's a shame.

February 11, 2009 at 4:23 PM  

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