One of the clear and present dangers in having such a highly industrialized, highly centralized food system in this country (a system where a whopping 96% of everyone relies on the other 4% for their food) is contamination. Our food is so centralized now that 10 megacorporations essentially own and produce all the brands you see on your grocery store shelf.
In short, it ain’t like your mom’s mom’s mom used to make.
So in a typical week, several products are found contaminated with everything from undeclared major allergens to potentially fatal food-borne pathogens to “particulate matter”. You never know what you’re gonna get.
June 12, 2015 – Larry’s Custom Meats Inc., a Hartwick, N.Y. establishment, is recalling approximately 529 pounds of beef tongue products that may have been shipped with lingual tonsils still attached, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.
June 10, 2015 – Walgreen Co. of Deerfield, IL is recalling Nice! Powdered Sugar Mini Donuts, because it has received consumer complaints alleging that mold was observed on some products.
June 10, 2015 – Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Markets Inc., a Lakewood, Colo., based natural grocery chain, is recalling additional lots of Natural Grocers brand Macadamia Nuts as the product has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
June 10, 2015 – A Wisconsin firm is voluntarily recalling its potato salad, due to the possibility of Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The product was distributed to Jewel stores in the Chicago area and may have been sold at delicatessen counters between May 30 and June 9 under the brand name Garden Fresh Steakhouse Potato Salad.
June 9, 2015 – Big Easy Foods Louisiana Cuisine, Inc., a Lake Charles, La. establishment, is recalling approximately 93,006 pounds of both raw and cooked stuffed chicken product due to misbranding and an undeclared allergen, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. The product contains wheat, a known allergen which is not declared on the product label.
Too bad for all those Celiacs and gluten intolerant people. Or, if you ate what’s listed below, you wouldn’t even now what you actually ate.
June 6, 2015 – Benedetti Farms, Inc., a Sonoma, Calif. establishment, is recalling approximately 11,670 pounds of chicken and turkey sausage products due to misbranding, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. The chicken and turkey sausages were wrapped in hog and sheep casings that were not listed on the labels. Hog and sheep casings may elicit allergic reactions in the rare cases of individuals known to be allergic to pork or sheep proteins.
This one below was just updated June 5, 2015 to a total of nearly 600,000 pounds of recalled meat that was processed without any inspection using another facility’s mark of inspection to make consumers think the meat was inspected when it wasn’t:
May 20, 2015 – LQNN, Inc., a Garden Grove, Calif. firm, added additional poundage to the recalled products list, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. The added products should have been part of the original 213,192 pounds of chicken, beef and pork products that were recalled on May 20, 2015. The new total recalled poundage is 598,374 pounds. The products which were moved and sold in commerce included the unapproved use of another facility’s mark of inspection, which has been identified as Establishment number 18995. LQNN, Inc., operating as Lee’s Sandwiches, has been processing products from federally-inspected establishments and re-packaging them without the benefit of inspection. Products produced without inspection present potential of increased human health risk.
June 4, 2015 – Santa Barbara Smokehouse of Santa Barbara, CA is voluntarily recalling all smoked salmon EXCLUDING HOT SMOKED SALMON from March 1st to April 8th 2015, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
In addition, the CDC is reporting that unopened frozen ground tuna products found two types of salmonella: salmonella newport in one, and salmonella weltevreden in another.
Via Food Safety News:
The unopened frozen ground tuna products represented two different lots of product imported from Indonesia by Osamu Corporation of Gardena, CA, CDC stated. On May 27, Osamu Corporation recalled the two lots of ground frozen yellowfin tuna imported from Indonesia and distributed in California and Arizona due to possible Salmonellacontamination.
The company’s recall announcement includes a seven-page retail distribution list of restaurants and sushi bars in California where the recalled product had been distributed. CDC is advising restaurants and retailers not to sell or serve the recalled ground frozen yellowfin tuna imported from Indonesia by Osamu Corporation.
In another frightening twist, Food Safety News also reported another recall on June 12 I did not find on the FSIS or FDA websites:
Shirks Meats of Dundee, NY, is recalling “Smoked Andouille Sausage” due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination. No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.
The recalled in-store packed “Smoked Andouille Sausage” comes in a clear plastic package with a date of 6-5-15 on it. Package sizes varied from 9-12 ounces. The “Smoked Andouille Sausage” was sold only from the retail location at 4342 John Green Rd. in Dundee, NY.
To find all that out took three different government agencies and a food safety news website: the FDA, the USDA, the CDC, and Food Safety News. This is just a few days in America’s food system, just a snapshot. Can you imagine trying to keep up with this on a constant basis?
I’m not telling you all this just to scare you. I’m putting all this information in one place so people can see just how screwed up our food system is. This is just what we know about. This is just what has come to the surface.
Beyond being lied to about our food on its packaging – everything from not being told if our food is genetically modified to the entirely misleading names on ingredient lists – practically every day or two, something horridly wrong is found with our food that could potentially damage or even kill us if we eat it.
This is a place where people need to start taking their power back. This is a place where buying local matters the most. Otherwise, how are you ever really going to know what’s in your food? What’s on your dinner plate? What’s on the end of your fork?
Food used to just be food. Now it’s an industrialized battleground where we misplace a lot of our trust in corporations much more interested in bottom lines than human beings.