The pending health epidemic that Congress could address – post shutdown shenanigans

As Congress has been gripped by the dramedy of the Ted Cruz and Koch Brothers-inspired government shutdown/debt ceiling frenzy, people in California and a few other states have been quietly falling ill, the victims of a food-borne illness that has solutions, if federal lawmakers can ever clear the agenda to act on them.

Green Valley Food Corp. has recalled alfalfa sprouts in Texas

After a random sample turned up salmonella contamination in a package of its alfalfa sprouts, Green Valley Food Corp. of Dallas, has recalled nearly 7,000 cases of “Let’s Grow Healthy Together!” Alfalfa Sprouts.
The single 5 0z. container tested positive on Dec. 12 for Salmonella, which can cause serious and even fatal infections in young children, the elderly or people with immune-suppression conditions. Salmonella poisoning typically causes diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

A side of heavy metal with your sloppy joe?

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Oh for the days when all we had to worry about was a little pesticide residue on our apples. This past week brought two reminders that what we don’t know is in our food can hurt us.

The peanut butter snack recalls continued flying off the conveyor belt, noteworthy for the sheer number of products potentially tainted with salmonella — more than 400 at last count. All that contamination from one little ole peanut processing plant in Georgia. Best to heed the advice of the Food and Drug Administration’s Dr. Stephen Sundlof, “If you don’t know the source of the food that contains peanuts, don’t eat it.” At the same time, the FDA has declared that “national name brand peanut butter” sold in jars at retail has not been contaminated.

We also learned last week that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), that controversial, cheap and ubiquitous sweetener might contain more than just the empty calories blamed for our flourishing flab. A study by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) reported finding traces of mercury in 17 of 55 tested foods made with HFCS.

Hold that PB & J

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

We’re now up to more than 55 products being recalled because of a salmonella outbreak in a peanut processing plant in Georgia. The recalled items all used peanut butter or peanut paste from the Peanut Corporation of America in Blakely, Ga., though most are being recalled because of the risk of contamination and not because of any confirmed taint.

However, whew! What a lesson for a society teeming with processed foods. This peanut butter, mostly delivered in tubs to large manufacturers or group facilities like nursing homes and cafeterias, was pressed, crunched, blended, pureed and melted into such a vast array of goods that itemizing its presence is taking weeks. It has turned up in cookies, snack bars, ice cream, cracker sandwiches, sports energy and nutrition bars, peanut sauces and dog biscuits.

Peanut butter snack recalls expand

By Barbara Kessler Green Right Now Food companies producing peanut snacks announced a series of voluntary recalls of their products over the weekend in the wake of a salmonella outbreak that has apparently sickened hundreds and may have contributed to six deaths over...