Choose your food carefully during the government shutdown

In order to live up to the name of this blog, please enjoy a new weekly series of posts concerning the latest news and happenings in food, wine and of course all in between.   Don’t worry, the recipes for irresistible baked goods are still going to be part of the program here.  Just thought we’d just temper the flow a little with useful information.  

Fall is in the air.  The golden leaves are falling off the trees, the sweet, Honeycrisp apples are falling into the bushels, and the country is falling apart.    Or has fallen apart with the recent federal government shutdown.  And among the many unfortunate consequences is this:

FDA closes its doors as part of government shutdown

The Food and Drug Administration is closed, which includes food safety operations, inspections and regular recalls. And while the USDA is the agency responsible for inspecting meat, poultry and eggs – and continues to do so – the FDA is the source of inspection for the remainder of the food supply.

E. coli in that bag of baby spinach looking all healthy on the grocery store shelf?  Toxins in dietary supplements? Suspicious tomatoes from across the border?  It’s all possible when the FDA is operating, let alone when food and drug production is allowed to freestyle its way through the day.

So here’s the ET solution: choose carefully if you’re concerned.  VERY carefully.

  • If you have access to a local farmers’ market, take advantage
  • Wash every single bit of fresh produce you bring home from the grocery store – yes, even organics.  Especially that bag of mixed greens
  • Consider lightly cooking foods you might usually eat fresh, as heat can help to eliminate some or most of the harmful bacteria running rampant through our food system
  • Select packaged foods like peanut butter with care from a trustworthy producer
  • Don’t eat even a lick of that lovely, amazing, prepackaged, ready-to-bake, raw cookie dough, seriously

While no safety measure is foolproof for ensuring your food is 100% free from harmful bacteria, I figure the above can’t hurt. Especially if you’re feeding the very young, the very pregnant, or the elderly.  So until FDA employees are allowed back to work, simply err on the side of culinary caution.   Since we can’t really know how long or hard this unfortunate aspect of the fall season will last.

 

Sources

“CSPI to Speaker Boehner: Food Safety More Pressing than Demands of House Extremists ~ Newsroom ~ News from CSPI ~ Center for Science in the Public Interest.” CSPI to Speaker Boehner: Food Safety More Pressing than Demands of House Extremists ~ Newsroom ~ News from CSPI ~ Center for Science in the Public Interest. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Oct. 2013.

“About FDA.” What Does FDA Regulate? N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Oct. 2013.

“Pay & Leave Furlough Guidance.” U.S. Office of Personnel Management. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Oct. 2013.

Washington Post

 

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