As I browsed my local paper on-line yesterday morning, I saw this, "Peanut recall grows as feds find problems at plant." The article goes on to say,
Managers at the Blakely, GA plant owned by Peanut Corp of America continued shipping peanut products even after they were found to contain salmonella.Peanut Corp expanded it's recall Wednesday to all peanut products produced at the plant since January 1, 2007...More than 500 people have gotten sick in the outbreak and at least 8 may have died as a result of salmonella infection. More than 400 products have been recalled. The plant has stopped all production."We feel very confident that this is one of the largest recalls we've ever had," said Stephen Sundlof, head of the FDA's food safety center. "We're still in the process of identifying products.""Here is a company that knew it had salmonella in a product and still released it," said Michael Doyle, head of the food safety center at the University of Georgia.
Of course, that's not all. Wednesday, my husband sent me a link to another food-related article, this one from the Washington Post, "Study Finds High-Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Mercury."
Almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first or second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies.
If these were isolated events, then maybe we could brush them off. But we're routinely seeing reports like these now. We've figured out in the last year that we can't trust the banks with our money. We've figured out in the last year that we can't trust the government or food manufacturers with our health. So who can we trust?
When we eat local, buying from area farmers, we have the opportunity to know EXACTLY where our food comes from. I bought those collards from Lois, and my tomatoes from Tanya, and those onions came from my backyard garden. And I know HOW they were grown because I ask.
When we know where our food comes from, when we are face-to-face with the farmers asking questions, when we visit their farms to see first hand how our food is grown... we are taking back control.
When we eat local, we eat safe.
Of course, as I write this I have 1/2 a jar of peanut butter in the fridge and some rice milk, neither of which is local. And then what about the organic rice I buy? It's local (grown here in Texas), but I buy it from a company - not a farmer. So am I sure it's safe?
There has to be a happy medium here. Most of our foods should, I think, come from local sources (because they are healthier for us and the environment that way). But I also think that we should be able to enjoy some of the foods we consider staples without worrying about mercury, salmonella, and all those other "nasties" that make their way into our food supply. What about rice, whole wheat flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt? For some of us, a few of these things might be local, but most of us can't go 100% local without giving up baking entirely. Is it possible to find a happy medium between a local diet and nutrient-dense, environmentally responsible, but manufactured food?
So, what are your thoughts on the recalls? Do you think they have a long-term effect on the buying habits of Americans? Or is it temporary? At what point will the general population say, "enough is enough." How to we regain control in the insanity we now call the food industry? Is it possible to eat entirely locally or do we need to demand better standards of manufacturers too?