Salmonella, E-coli, Potato, Potaaato...
Lordy, do we not have enough to worry about without having to deal with yet another
vegetable scare? Today in eastern MA we have had 51 cases of salmonella that may or may not come from tomatoes or lettuce. This is yet another national outbreak of food poisoning threatening to send out populace straight to the porcelain throne. Although at least salmonella isn't as deadly as e-coli. But still, can't we eat a frigging salad in this country without it resulting in the drizzlin' shits?
So much about this whole veggie problem is wrong. For those of us who are supposedly dieting (although, munch munch, yum, those Milky Ways are so yummy, aren't they?) what are we supposed to do, live on frozen veggies and prayer? We eat a lot of vegetables in our family, well more than the average American family. Thankfully, we still have an entire bowl of green tomatoes plucked from the tomato plants before we chucked them into our woods. Enough tomatoes to last us a month or so if we're judicious. But we don't grow lettuce this time of year in New England. Which leaves locally grown produce an impossibility.
Do we dare trust Whole Foods? The e-coli outbreak taught us that organic and expensive don't protect us like we want to believe they will. If the contaminants is in the soil, nothing can save us except to not eat the foods affected. Me, I haven't eaten bagged spinach since the scare. I can deal with frozen spinach since much of what I do with spinach requires cooking anyhow.
As our food sources spread worldwide, it becomes less controllable. We don't know if the Chilean fruit we import is safe, just as we don't know that American produce is safe. We all rely on a Food and Drug Administration that does not work for our food safety. New laws are almost impossible to enact due to the heavy lobbying by large farming and food corporations. Something is seriously wrong, people.
I mean, it comes right down to this. You want to eat a salad for lunch. You hesitate because you might be taking your life in your own hands by eating lettuce, spinach, or tomatoes. Is it worth it? No matter how much you wash your veggies, there is no guarantee that you won't get sick.
Here in New England, we rely heavily on importing produce from California and beyond. Our produce is expensive enough as it is, but I'm willing to bet most New Englanders would pay a bit more for a safe salad. I know I would. So how to put this into practice? Writing your congressional representative would be a start. Writing California congressional representatives might be a better start. Writing the produce conglomerates and asking them to please lobby for safer produce. Oh yeah, this is the real world. I suggest starting your own garden in the spring, and installing a cold cellar in your basement. Because relying on corporate giants to actually care...what a waste of time that would be. Stumble It! JBlog Me