Friday, December 26, 2014


Bad food in the U.S. has been much the same in 2014 as it has been in preceding years. Looking back one month, I found a fairly typical array of Listeria and Salmonella bacteria- contaminated foods, as well as the usual number of undeclared allergens, foreign objects (such as bits of marker pen in canned soup), and a range of recalled uninspected products that contain who knows what.

As you will see from the below, prepared (ready-to-eat) foods and sprouts continue to be among the most risky items on the U.S. market. No amount of gourmet or health labelling guarantees safety.

Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, which pose a major threat to pregnant women, young children and people with a compromised immune system, are still very much a problem. Most recently this bacterium has cropped up in Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream products (ice cream, gelato, custard and sorbet). It also turned up again in December in sprouts. Kkot Saem Sprouts, Inc. of Spanaway, Washington, had to recall its Soybean Sprouts and Mungbean Sprouts for this reason. In late November, soybean sprouts also had to be recalled by Henry’s Farm Inc. of Woodford, Virginia, because of Listeria.

Not surprisingly, this bacterium was also a suspect in prepared salads. Giant Eagle has issued a recall of Giant Eagle Apple Pistachio Salad and Apple Pistachio Salad with Chicken because of it. Global Garlic, Inc. of Miami, Florida, also had to recall a couple of its fresh curd products because it turned up. In addition, Acme Smoked Fish Corporation of Brooklyn, New York, had a nasty surprise when its imported (Product of Denmark) vacuum packs of Smoked Nova Salmon were found to be potentially contaminated with Listeria - another common location of the bacterium, particularly this time of the year.

Salmonella bacteria are also still present in our food, in spite of all the efforts to control them. During the past month for example, the company "Perfect Bar", had to issue a nationwide recall of large numbers of its Peanut Butter and Cranberry Crunch flavor nutrition bars due to potential contamination with Salmonella. And it has cropped up in cheeses too: Flat Creek Farm & Dairy of Swainsboro, Georgia, had to recall some of its Aztec Cheddar and Low Country Gouda. Another prepared food was also found to be contaminated: Overhill Farms, Inc. of Vernon, California had to recall its frozen Open Nature Chile Cheese Enchiladas due to potential Salmonella contamination.

So...not much has changed. Let's enjoy our great food, but be careful what we buy and eat, especially if we are in a high-risk category for getting sick.

To your good health,


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