Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Kids and Peanut Butter: A Sticky Mess in the Making

...Children accounting for half of the salmonella illnesses...a worldwide recall that now includes pails of peanut butter shipped to schools, military bases and nursing homes...safety issues raised by the outbreak are drawing comparisons to those in China's tainted milk scandal...

Can't help wondering...
what you're wondering about?

Of course I'm wondering about child abuse and neglect.

What single product is more universally connected to children than peanut butter?

And now, because peanut butter paste is a cheap filler... a "low-cost yet tasty additive"... it is used in products from cookies & candies to vegetable & fruit products. So who can eat and still escape consuming it? Not our pets, and certainly not our children.

Sadly, the people who made the decision to ship 32 truck loads to the USDA for use in the Free Lunch Program for poor children certainly knew what they were doing... and chose to subject the children to harm. As long as wink-wink laws and inspections persist without a public outcry and demands for the protection of children from the greed of the market that puts their lives below the bottom line of profits, I call that societal child abuse and neglect.

A friend, who considers me too hard on people anyway, chided me for my concern over this issue. "After all," he said, "there are only 8 deaths and a few hundred illnesses out of more than 300 million who are eating the products every day. So what's the big deal?" [actually 19,000+ illnesses in 43 states]

And a few minutes ago a local newscaster said reassuringly, "as far as food diseases go salmonella is not the worst ... unless you die from it of course.."

Guess that makes it a little problem? Much ado about nothing? No big deal? To me, what should be of most concern, and makes it a really BIG problem, is not how many are known dead or ill from eating peanut butter products as terrible as that is (and how do we really know how many children home with "viruses" may actually be suffering from eating it?) but rather, to me, the public outcry should be about the way the companies and laws conspire against the health and safety of people through default.

Think you aren’t affected by the biggest US food recall ever? If you or loved ones, including your pets, eat cakes, cookies, candy, ice cream, snack bars, pet foods, crackers, snack mixes, fruits and vegetables, dressings and seasonings, prepackaged meals…pet foods… and oh yes… PEANUTS or PEANUT BUTTER… you might want to check out the updated list of 1844 recalled products. And remember recalls are voluntary… don’t assume presence on store shelf means safety.

Here are a few reminders from the health department:

  • The public should NOT consume products on the recall list.
  • The recall list can be found online at: http://www.fda.gov/ or by calling 1-888-463-6332.
  • If the public find recalled items on the shelves at local stores, please notify the store manager immediately.
  • Any individual who has consumed a recalled product and has the symptoms of salmonella should contact a health care provider immediately.
  • Symptoms of salmonella include: headache, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and fever.
  • Salmonella can invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections for people with weakened immune systems or other underlying health conditions. Symptoms for those individuals can be more severe

And this story is not over yet...just now on tv news... notice of a second plant... this one in Texas...closed for the same problem.

A Child is Waiting.

Take care...be aware.


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