Wednesday, August 25, 2010

As I recall ...

I don't remember a single time in my childhood when there was a FOOD recall. The one time I got sick was after a meal at McDonald's, when the backdoor word-of-mouth mom network figured out that everyone who'd eaten at there one day had gotten sick, too. (Without the internet, they talked directly to each other, playing a variation of the telephone game until everyone around the block knew the news.)

Now I look at our food with great suspicion. We buy primarily organic vegetables, fruit, and meat, and from providers as close by as possible, so I'm somewhat more comfortable with the safety of what we're eating. Nonetheless, the latest ground beef, egg and deli meat recalls had me opening the refrigerator and checking "just in case." (No problem - all's well.)

Since we have Crohn's in the house, we are vigilant about food quality. There's no way to tell the difference between food poisoning and the beginnings of a perforated digestive tract, so we must treat both with the same urgency. Yet we don't want to be paranoid. We eat out in restaurants, our oldest teen is very fond of bake sales and pizza sold by the slice for fundraisers at school, and our peanut butter comes from the plant in Georgia that had its own recall fairly recently. (At this point, it's likely the safest peanut butter place around.)

I know food quality concerns isn't a new thing. Ever since more of us began living in cities rather than on the farm, food has gone through many hands before landing on our dinner tables. In the early 1900's, particularly in the Lower East Side tenement neighborhoods, not only was milk not pasturized and likely to spoil very quickly, some dairy farmers watered it down, added a white powder to make the resulting liquid look normal, and ended up causing many, many deaths.

Food recalls. It's always something.

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