Thursday, October 6, 2011


Just announced by the FDA - a Salmonella contamination of soy flour in the U.S. Thumb Oilseed Producer’s Cooperative in Mich., is recalling 2623, 40-lb. bags and 360, 1,500-lb. totes of soybean flour; in addition to 924 .08-ton loads of bulk soy meal. That is an awful lot of flour. It was sent to wholesalers, who would have sent it on to food producer and possibly retail clients in smaller quantities.

I bet this recall is really going to expand with many of these food companies that used this flour having to recall whatever they made with it. That's another downside risk resulting from the interconnectedness of our industrialized food supply. And it is going to affect both human and animal food, since both commonly use soy flour as an ingredient.

An expansion always happens when a commonly used food ingredient is found to be contaminated. It happened with peanut products and again with dry milk in mid 2009 - both with Salmonella bacteria the cause (which survives very well in dry conditions). It will happen with soy flour this time. And it will not only have health costs, but also financial ones, with some small food producers going under because of lost production and costs of the recall. Of course, if the food production process cooks the food to a high enough temperature it should kill the bacteria.

Phew..This has been a really bad month in the U.S. in many ways, including in terms of food risks. I have enough trouble keeping up with all the ups and downs in the stock market, let alone the ones in our food. I am wondering whether the attempts at cost-cutting by some producers and food companies has resulted in dangerous shortcuts and slipups. And I am not even mentioning all those "foreign matter" recalls (like tiny bits of metal in Kraft Velveeta shells) and numerous allergens.

To your good health,

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