The new ingredient in frozen food: Salmonella

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Jim Tower reports:

Contamination has become so widespread that major frozen food purveyors admit they can no longer ensure the safety of their products.

America's pot-pie threat lurks in an ingredient that today's producers of frozen foods don't list on their packages: salmonella. In just one salmonella outbreak in 2007, the Banquet brand of pies sickened an estimated 15,000 people in 41 states.

The true culprit in such poisonings, however, is not the little deadly bug, but the twin killers of corporate globalization and greed. Giant food corporations, scavenging the globe in a constant search for ever-cheaper ingredients to put in their processed edibles, are resorting to low-wage, high-pollution nations that have practically no food-safety laws, much less any safety enforcement.

In fact, as The New York Times recently reported in an extensive expose, food giants concede that their supply chains are so far-flung that they "do not even know who is supplying their ingredients, let alone if those suppliers are screening items for microbes." Meanwhile, the industry's lobbying front, the Grocery Manufacturers of America, has aggressively fought federal efforts to require a tracking system. "This information is not reasonably needed," the GMA curtly responded when such a rule was proposed.

ALARMING CONSUMER ALERT: Today, contamination has become so widespread that major frozen food purveyors admit they can no longer ensure the safety of their products!

You'll notice that frozen food packages now contain precise, almost frantic instructions (complete with illustrations) on "kill steps" that we must take to keep their products from poisoning us. Banquet, for example, has a four-step diagram on the back of its pot-pie packages, directing consumers to make sure that the pie is heated to an internal temperature of exactly 165 degrees "as measured by a food thermometer in several spots."

This is absurd. Frozen foods are supposed to be a consumer convenience, not a risky science experiment. Instead of thrusting faulty instructions at us on how to avoid "death by pie," how about just requiring conglomerates that profit from these products to accept their responsibility to put safe ingredients in their pies?


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1 comments:

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