Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Salmonella poisoned snacks. China. Of course.

We've been playing it a bit safer with food. You know, Melamine. There was something else, but really, it's too much to keep track of. Oh, yes, defective tires. Maybe defective brakes. Definitely lead in toy point and christmas light wiring. Umm ... fraudulent medications. Fake hernia repair materials.

Let's see, what do they all have in common?


So we've been shopping at "organic" places, like our local "Mississippi market". You can't get any granolier in Berkeley. Really, I feel like an alien when I shop there. That's where my wife bought some "veggie snack" thingies that are supposed to fool the kids into eating something that's not a cookie. Snack thingies from one of those friendly "organic" companies -- Robert's American Gourmet Inc.

Snackes that were just recalled. My wife had to phone the kid's day camp to get the snacks pulled from the kid's lunches. Our local paper has a wee little blurb. Emphases mine.
Salmonella found in seasoning made with Chinese ingredients used on recalled snack foods:

...A seasoning made with imported Chinese ingredients used on recalled snack foods was contaminated with salmonella, a company official said Tuesday. The snack foods sickened dozens of people.

The seasoning, used on both Super Veggie Tings Crunchy Corn Sticks and Veggie Booty snack foods, tested positive for the bacteria, said Robert Ehrlich, president and chief executive of Robert's American Gourmet Inc. The 'veggie' seasoning's ingredients came primarily from China, the company said."...

...Ehrlich said he had been unaware of where the ingredients used in the seasoning originated. The products are made under contract; Ehrlich would not identify the manufacturer.
I love the last bit. It's so sweet. The "products are made under contract". "Roberts American Gourmet" doesn't know where they come from. Sounds a bit like Thomas the Tank Engine.

At least food is somewhat, intermittently, labeled. We don't buy any food now that has "China" on the label, but we know we can't dodge this completely.

You might consider writing your representative, thought it's been over two weeks and Betty McCollum's office has been suspiciously non-responsive (see update). Something for me to remember when the next primary comes by [1]. Or you might decide to grow your own food, but you'll have to synthesize your own fertilizer too ...

[1] In our district only the primary matters.

The only good thing is that we have a president we can rely on ...

Update 9/22/07: It took a while, but McCollum wrote me a pretty good form letter, turns out she's on the Agriculture appropriations committee. As usual, Bush is the villain here. Some excerpts:
  • 2002: Farm Bill had Country-of-Origin labeling (COOL)
  • 2004: Bush delayed implementation until 9/06
  • 2005: Bush delayed implementation until 9/08
  • 2007: Farm Bill requires COOL by 9/08 for all meat
McCollum has been a strong supporter of mandatory labeling, probably because it ought to boost Minnesota based agribusiness. It only applies to meat though, we need it for all food.

No comments: