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Are You Concerned About The Safety of Your Food?

Posted Oct 17 2012 5:30am

One day last year while surfing the Internet I came across an article about a recall of food on the Food & Drug Administration’s website.  I signed up for email alerts, which you can do here , and rarely a day goes by when I don’t get emails about recalls of a variety of foods from cantaloupes to peanut butter.

The most recent peanut butter recall concerned me because it was not just for one particular brand of peanut butter, such as Jif or Skippy, but rather it was peanut butter that was sold in specialty and health food stores, raw peanuts, and peanut butter that other food manufacturing companies used in ice cream, bars, and other products. The last update I got from the FDA had more than 240 products that were recalled all from peanuts and peanut butter from a single plant.

Frankly, the safety of the food I serve my family really concerns me. So much in fact that one of the many reasons we rarely go out to eat has to do with food safety. When I was in college I worked for a Chick-Fil-A restaurant in our local mall. There were rats that walked over the bread when the store was closed and they chewed holes in the plastic coverings to get at the buns. Our manager told us to just get rid of the buns that had been chewed. There were bugs in the ice and he never changed the oil that we used for frying the chicken. I quit that job as soon as I could.

In a recent study conducted by Bloomberg and reported on in the Huffington Post, it was found that consumers aren’t all that concerned with the safety of their food and about one-quarter of those surveyed were very or extremely concerned.

Perhaps some of my concern comes from the fact that I was hospitalized for four days years ago because of eating a hamburger contaminated with the E. coli bacteria. I’m ultra cautious and was wondering if you are too?

When our food manufacturing processes get so centralized, there is a danger that unsafe conditions in one location can affect thousands of people across the country. When we don’t know where our food comes from or how the plants that process the foods are regulated, there is the potential for harm. That’s why I like to buy food from local farmers, including vegetables and meats. We are considering getting some chickens next year so we can have fresh eggs right from our own chickens. (I’ll let you know how that goes. . .)

I was thrilled to buy local honey from a local beekeeper and non-GMO cornmeal from a local farmer when I visited an agricultural festival this past weekend. I continually look for opportunities to not only support local vendors but also to keep my family as safe from contaminated foods as possible. To that end, I am also a very careful cook and follow food safety procedures in my kitchen. (Don’t you love the picture of the farmer in his overalls next to his sign?)

Do these recalls of peanut butter, cantaloupes, dog food, and romaine lettuce bother you? Do you take any steps to stay safe?  Diane

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