Every time I’m interviewed about food safety stuff, the reporter will ask, “What can consumers do to protect themselves?”
It’s a lousy answer but often the truthiest one.
In that ConAgra Banquet Pot Pie outbreak that sickened 400 with Salmonella, Amy Reinert said she cooked the pot pie – at the time proclaiming ‘Ready in 4 minutes’ — for her daughter for 7 minutes in the microwave, then 10 minutes in a conventional oven to make the crust crispy. Yet Isabelle still got sick.
Now, the company says, consumers need to use a meat thermometer to ensure their 50-cent pot pie won’t make them barf.
These stories and more are covered in a food safety feature in the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Nutrition Action publication this month. It’s a comprehensive retelling of some food safety lowlights of the past four years that ends, as usual, with a bunch of things consumers can do to protect themselves.
“Everyone in industry and government says consumers have to do more, which is just silly. Controlling these kinds of contamination shouldn’t be a consumer problem. Producers and industry need to do better.”
The story is soft on spinach and leafy green producers – why did it take 29 outbreaks before industry took microbial food safety issues seriously – and appropriately harsh on the Ponzi scheme of food safety audits.
Mansour Samadpour said,
“These third-party inspections have become an industry that churns out meaningless certificates. Companies pay somebody $1,200 to come in and look at this paper and that paper and then give the company a certificate that says they passed by 96 percent.”