Category Archives: Uncategorized

There are no words.

Oh my god, what the hell?!

According to a report in the Korea Times, 29 smugglers of “human-flesh capsules” have been arrested after trying to bring 11,000 pills into the country while disguised as tourists.

More than 35 cases and more than 17,000 pills have been found by customs authorities since August, the South Korean website Dong-A Ilbo reported. 

The pills are taken by people who believe they may help increase stamina, for rejuvenation or by terminal cancer patients, according to the South Korean reports.

 

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/08/china-says-no-pills-made-from-human-flesh-in-country/?hpt=hp_t3

 

According to a Korean news source not only is it revolting and immoral but they have been found to contain super-bacteria which is bacteria that’s a pain in the ass to kill. Regular antibiotics can’t get rid of it. Apparently the pills have a “certain scent” that smugglers try to cover up with various herbs. One pill can go for 40,000 won, or $35 in the US. That’s messed up. http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2012/05/117_110427.html

Of course China denies it. They also denied recently, again, claims that they’re giving forced abortions to women. Now we know what they do with them.

 

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Listeria outbreak and the pathetic system that allowed it to happen

What safeguards are put in place so you can trust your produce? Apparently not that much.

Third deadliest food outbreak in US history, the deadliest in the last 100 years. In other words, in this day and age that’s pretty pathetic. Cantalope was mishandled properly and contaminated with Listeria, killing more than 30 people. What’s concerning about this case is how easily this could have been avoided (isn’t that usually the case though) and how the farm and the inspectors really should have known better. Apparently the processing area of the farm was filled with contaminated condensation, contaminated puddles on the floor and old equipment that was dirty and very hard to clean. Gross. Quote from CNN article (http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/03/health/listeria-outbreak-investigation/index.html?hpt=hp_c1):

Just days before the Listeria outbreak, Jensen Farms paid a private food inspection company called Primus Labs to audit their operation. Primus Labs subcontracted the job to another company, Bio Food Safety, which sent a 26-year-old with relatively little experience to inspect Jensen Farms.

The auditor was James DiIorio, and he gave Jensen Farms a 96% score, and a “superior” grade. On the front page of his audit at the farm, DiIorio wrote a note saying “no anti-microbial solution” was being used to clean the melons.

Dr. Trevor Suslow, one of the nation’s top experts on growing and harvesting melons safely, was shocked to see that on the audit at Jensen Farms. “Having antimicrobials in any wash water, particular the primary or the very first step, is absolutely essential, and therefore as soon as one hears that that’s not present, that’s an instant red flag,” Suslow said. The removal of an antimicrobial would be cause for an auditor or inspector to shut down an entire operation, he said.

Sadly this can easily happen again because apparently the fresh produce inspection protocol is easy to get around and leaves a lot of room for error. There isn’t a government body available to inspect all fresh produce. There isn’t enough money or manpower, which makes sense considering how many farms there are in this country. The industry relies heavily on third-party audits, like the one used with Jensen Farms. There is nothing wrong with private companies providing a food inspection service however the government SHOULD be involved with these third parties. Perhaps as a training resource or as a certifier. There needs to be consistency.

So what is Listeria sickness and should we really be concerned? Like most illnesses, it usually only affects those with weakened immune systems, the elderly and pregnant women so most of us would be fine. However it is painful with frightening symptoms such as convulsions and loss of balance. What we should be concerned about is how Listeria usually is found in unpasteurized milk and improperly processed deli meats. It can survive refrigeration and freezing temperatures as well. And yet here it is on fruit, probably spread by the knife that cut through the fruit. To keep ourselves safe, we should wash all fresh produce – something recommended all the time but probably not followed by most (including myself).

We need to concern ourselves more with food.

I work in an industry impacted by the green movement. It’s great that people are concerned about our impact on Mother Nature. I am surprised, however, by the lack of interest in what we consume. I am obviously well aware of the all-natural and organic foods crowds, but I’m talking beyond this. Do we actually KNOW what we’re eating? Not long ago I found out farm-raised salmon is died pink. Then there was the whole “pink slime” fiasco. Now we’re finding out that a red food coloring is made from bugs (courtesy of Starbucks, who will now thankfully be moving to a tomato-based dye).

What surprises me is that this, compare to many other concerns out there, isn’t too big of a deal to the average consumer. People freak out and gag at first, but continue to buy these items. I read comments from news articles covering the bug additive and read a lot of “who cares, it’s just bugs” and “do you know how many bugs you eat in one day” and while it could be argued that it isn’t that big of a deal (I personally think it’s disgusting) doesn’t this make anyone else stop and think about what else we don’t know about? Am I the only one wondering what is in my food? I try to make smart choices – no boxed food, no frozen meals – and yet I’m left wondering how much of a better choice a chicken breast sautéed with vegetables is.

Basically, I think we need to be more aware and more concerned with what is in our food. I don’t want people to fear monger over their food of course. But I do think we need to know what we are putting in our bodies, and let those that provide it know that we’re not happy when they sneak something by us. Many people don’t have an issue with it and that’s fine. Picky eaters like me, however, want to know. My goal is to raise awareness of the examples of our food not being what we’re expecting it to be.