The House has held nearly two dozen food safety hearings over the last year, focusing on contamination in jalapeño peppers, peanut butter, pet food, seafood, spinach and tomatoes manufactured both in the United States and abroad.And Evelyn responded to my earlier post about shopping at Von's not Whole Foods. She reminded me that in the 1970s, I was totally annoyed by the local health food store (health food: an early term for something like organic food). The bread on their shelves was moldy. I pointed this out and the clerk (who pretended to be some kind of medical expert to boot) said that of course it molded, it didn't have any preservative in it. But they still kept it on the shelf for a week. I went back to shopping at the A&P (which used to be the big grocery chain), saying that preservatives were only bad in the long run, spoiled food had immediate and drastic consequences.
A panel of experts from consumer groups and the industry largely agreed that broad changes were needed. For industry, the growing number of food-poisoning incidents have become enormously expensive. Thomas E. Stenzel, chief executive of the United Fresh Produce Association, said an entire crop of spinach was discarded in 2006 during a salmonella outbreak.
“In fact,” Mr. Stenzel said, “we now know that the only contaminated product came from one 50-acre farm, packaged in one processing plant and only on one production shift.” Yet spinach sales continue to suffer, he added. [I'm thinking: I can't bring myself to buy peanut butter.]
Yes, mold and salmonella are both natural. And my life is getting repetitious. Or maybe I'm suffering from failure to learn from experience. Or we are all suffering from that.