Just a few months ago scares regarding the safety of fresh spinach left grocers scrambling to remove any trace of packaged fresh spinach from their shelves, closely followed by a more insidious form of poisoning that came in the form of contaminated pet food. Heart broken pet owners found themselves euthinizing their beloved pets due to kidney failure. I find I am not surprised that this tale of woe goes on.


Food poisoning is nothing to sneeze at especially when the cause is E coli 0157, a super strain of the naturally occurring bacteria found in the large intestines of most animals including humans. Symptoms can range from nausea and indigestion, minor vomiting and diarrhea to more serious vomiting and bloody diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain and in some cases kidney failure and death. Most cases of food poisoning due to bacteria are easily treated with antibiotic therapy and do not cause death. Not so with food poisoning caused from crops that are grown in soil or water contaminted with mercury, dioxins, lead and other known human and animal specific toxins.


The FDA by their own accounting inspects only about one percent of the 8.9 million imported food shipments in any given year. Unlike rotting fish or moldy vegetables it takes laboratory anaylisis, a great deal of time and money  to determine whether a spice, an oil or a food additive is safe for consumption. Therefore, like it or not the safety of your food is being left up to you the buyer.


The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee is holding hearings on the FDAÕs oversight of the food supply, but this will take weeks just to come up with some reasonable conclusions and several months if not years to weed out all the contaminates that have found their way into our food.


Getting back to basics will help keep you and your family safe

1.Wash your hands with hot, soapy water before and after preparing food.

2. Whether fresh, canned or processed buy foods that are listed as certified organic. That does not include terms such as all natural, minimal processing or fresh grown.

3. Read labels. Strange sounding ingredients that may keep your sauce from gooing up, or crackers crispy are not your best choice.

4. Since many toxins are stored in fat use only fresh cold pressed oils for all your cooking needs.

5. Salad dressings, spices and flavorings are particularly dangerous since many of the ingredients are from imported sources.

6. ItÕs spring.. summer is coming- buy your produce at the local farmer market and from vendors that you know are growing their own or selling only regionally grown goods.


This new threat should not be taken lightly and you should not assume you are being protected by the FDA. Take action and write your congress person with your concerns. Till next time, Rebecca