You have probably already heard about Nestle USA's voluntary recall of their refrigerated cookie dough products, due to the possibility of E-coli 0157:H7 contamination.
If you haven't, tear yourself away from the Michael Jackson Farah Fawcett Ed McMahon Gale Storm Billy Mays death ride and take a look at something that actually affects you.
The recall was announced last Friday, June 19th, due to a CDC investigation into the E-Coli outbreak that might have been related to consumption of raw cookie dough. As of now, the cause of the outbreak has not actually been determined. Nestle USA initiated the recall voluntarily, as a precautionary measure. It may turn out not to have been the cause, but in the meantime will have cost Nestle millions of dollars. I wonder how they will try to recoup those losses?
This is just the latest of a series of E-coli and salmonella outbreaks involving pistachios, peanut butter, chicken pot pies, peppers, tomatoes (not actually a cause, but were recalled as suspect, costing the tomato industry hundreds of millions of dollars), beef (millions of dollars), and spinach. If you don't know what I'm talking about, a simple Google search will tell you more than you need to know.
As a matter of fact, it was only while doing some online searching that I just discovered another beef recall in May of this year, and another one this month, that was expanded yesterday.
And now I must stop searching, because I am starting to scare myself. I would be even more scared if I bought my meat at the grocery store. But here's an interesting item on the beef recall, posted on Obama Foodarama, which is a pretty cool site I just found.
Most of these outbreaks were caused by products that were contaminated in a plant where they were being processed to be sold in a pre-packaged format. So, in addition to all of those pesky transfats, HFCS, and who knows what other chemical additives you find in processed foods, you are also putting yourself more at risk for contamination the more you use processed and convenience foods .
So what's the lesson to be learned here? If you didn't say "There's something fundamentally, seriously wrong with our food production and distribution systems," then go to the back of the class.
Any time I think I might be overly paranoid by so assiduously avoiding processed, pre-packaged, factory farmed "foods," I just wait for the next recall notification.
For what, exactly, are you waiting?
(6/30/09, 11:15 AM) Update: It looks like they did find the E-Coli 0157 in the cookie dough, according to this Washington Post article.