Know where food comes from

Traceability was a popular topic when I started working for Doug last summer, with the Salmonella-linked-to-tomatoes-or-was-it-peppers outbreak. The current peanut butter-linked outbreak follows the same trends as the list of recalled products is on the rise. As a consumer, I wonder: do producers know their suppliers and where their food is coming from?

The FDA warned consumers to postpone consumption of anything containing peanut butter or peanut butter paste. This is where labeling becomes important. Not only should consumers read labels, they also need some assurance that labels are accurate.

A woman suffered a severe allergic reaction after eating a parfait in a Canadian Starbucks last week. She purchased the parfait after an employee assured the dessert was nut-free. The ingredients list also failed to mention nuts. I am pretty sure this woman will have a hard time trusting labels after this.

I was diagnosed with celiac disease a few weeks ago and I know how this feels. I have to avoid products containing gluten – a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale.

Gluten can also be found as a food additive in the form of flavoring, or as stabilizing or thickening agent. In such cases, producers are not required to include the protein on the label because it is classified as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) by the FDA. There is also no official definition as to what constitutes a gluten-free product, so celiacs like me are recommended to buy products from trusted sources.

That Canadian Starbucks is not a trusted source.

Whether it’s because of food allergies, intolerance to gluten, or salmonella, food processors need to be aware of where their products come from and what they contain.