A Whole New Meaning To ‘Food Additives’

“Care for a nice portion o’ dry-roasted rat, guv’nor, wiv a drop of freshly crushed roach sauce? Luvly wiv a few peanuts on the side.”

I do the cooking in our house. It’s not that my wife can’t cook, but she can only cook American. Fortunately, she likes European, which is what I cook, because I won’t eat American.

I don’t like most American food, and while I’m sure there are many good gourmet restaurants in this nation (though not so many in the corn belt, outside of Chicago) their menus do little to boost my appetite.

I also do the food shopping – attentively. After eight years of George W Bush and his slack-Alice administration, American foodstuffs can no longer be trusted, so I choose it with care. Wholesome ingredients are available, even when shopping somewhere like Wal-Mart, but only if you know what to look for, and what to avoid – not just like the plague, but from fear of catching it.

We’ve all heard of the salmonella outbreak that’s recently killed a number of Americans, and laid low many more. The “Peanut Corporation of America” was the culprit. This is a company so big, Kelloggs was one of its regular customers.

Yesterday, the New York Daily News ran a report on the state of this company:

One rat, dry roasted, was found at the Georgia peanut plant blamed for a sweeping salmonella outbreak that has killed eight people across the country and sickened hundreds more.

Jonathan Prather, who was laid off last month when the Peanut Corp. of America plant was shuttered, told CBS News on Tuesday that roaches also ran rampant.

“Roaches get up there in the dry roast,” Prather told the Early Show. “Some of them blend in with the peanuts. You’d never know they’re there.”

Prather, 29, called the plant a pig-sty and that there were “plenty of holes in the roof.”

“When it rained, water just came through the whole plant,” he said.

The worst, though, was the rat Prather said he saw “dry roasting in the peanuts” three or four months ago.

Fancy a Kellogg’s cookie, anyone?

The feds say the Georgia plant had a salmonella problem dating back at least to June 2007 – but never told the FDA.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported that another Peanut Corp. plant in Plainview, Tex., has been operating for four years without a license – and has never been inspected.

“I was not aware this plant was in operation and did not know (what) type of products (were) processed,” chief Texas health inspector Patrick Moore wrote in a report snagged by AP.

Luckily, no salmonella was found at the Texas plant.[1]

“Luckily” is the wrong word. Luck has nothing whatever to do with the production of safe, wholesome, foodstuffs. It’s all about responsible management, coupled with regular, strict inspections and monitoring by government officials, who act on behalf of the consumer and do their jobs efficiently, without recourse to bribes and management backhanders as an incentive to “look the other way”.

It’s not just the Peanut Corporation of America who are responsible for the suffering and deaths caused by this outbreak, but the Kellogg’s Corporation, and other companies, who have a responsibility to ensure their suppliers meet the high standards of hygiene we, the consumer, should be demanding of them.

Until America puts its house in order, those who live in our house will continue to eat carefully selected, and wholesomely cooked, safe European cuisine.

[1] “Peanut Corporation whistleblower: Rats, cockroaches roasted with Peanut Butter” Daily News, February 3rd 2009

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3 Replies to “A Whole New Meaning To ‘Food Additives’”

  1. My daughter and I were having this kind of conversation earlier tonight, RJA, as there have been equally disgusting stories in Canada and resultant deaths. Suppliers will try and get away with endangering the public (what’s a few deaths when they can make a bigger buck?). The onus is on the FDA and inspectors who are slipshod. Deregulation yet again. These manufacturers are incapable of policing themselves. Like banks, like utilities, like Halliburton.
    Soylent Green nudges ever closer.

  2. “slack Alice administration” – love that, RJ! It applies not only to GWB’s lot, but many areas of oversight. There’s a lack of efficiency here generally I think.
    I wonder if it’s to do with the size of the country – too big – too much to oversee. This could breed a lackadaisical attitude, I suspect, not only in the food industry, but elsewhere too.

    I’ve been careful about what I eat and drink ever since I arrived here, too much sugar and high fructose corn syrup in everything, too many additives and additions. As it happens, the husband has to follow a low glycaemic diet so he’s very picky and careful too.

  3. WWW – we have two choices: be the victims of a government run by those who would sacrifice us for a dollar, or run the government that controls those who would sacrifice us for a dollar.

    Why do we always fall victim to the former?

    Twilight – too big a country? I don’t see how that can be used as an excuse. So, put an office of the FDA in every state, or two or three in the bigger states. It may have been a feasible alibi in the wagon train days, but hasn’t America evolved beyond that?

    Well, maybe not.

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