With the black licorice recall closely followed by the recent peanut butter recall, one has to think twice about how safe our food supply is- an how much faith the consumer has in our food manufacturers. In the United States, we have a strongly enforced set of standards and regulations set in place and enforced by the federal Food and Drug Administration. But still, every year people get sick and die often before tainted food is discovered and recalled.
Recently, black licorice was found to have dangerous amounts of lead in it. Does any one else wonder how much lead is dangerous, or better yet, why licorice is allowed to have any lead in it at all? And the salmonella outbreak found in peanut, cashew and almond butters produced by Sunland Inc. and sold primarily at what are supposed to be health, natural grocery outlets like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods? The scariest part of all is the market for peanut butter includes a high percentage of young children.
Although for the most part, grocers and manufacturers act swiftly and responsibly at the first sign of unsafe food (Trader Joe’s voluntarily recalled all similar products upon learning of the outbreak), we can never know for sure whats in our food supply. And I doubt most of us have the time or resources to grow our own gardens and raise our own livestock, so we can really do little else than hope we aren’t one of the unlucky one to “help discover” tainted foods.
There are a few things we can do to safeguard ourselves from avoidable food poisoning; make sure your meat is cooked thoroughly, take care when selecting meats, fish and eggs for maximum freshness and always wash your produce! Also, take care in your own homes and kitchens to avoid cross-contamination of fresh foods, keeping your meats, dairy, and produce sealed and separated.