Saturday, March 14, 2009

Who doesn't love peanuts?

For those of you who have been paying attention - there is a huge peanut recall happening right now. As of today, on the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)'s website, there are 3486 entries on the list of recalled products. This should make every person who eats food very, very concerned. VERY CONCERNED.

Every day I get a breaking news alert that more products have been added to the list. These contaminated peanuts have been put in products produced dating back to 2007 and it is criminal. I believe 9 people have died and over 600 people have been reported sick. This doesn't include all the people who got sick before the recall - over the last two years - and didn't realize it was from the peanut products they were consuming.

The thing that scares me the most is this: Whole Foods recalled the peanuts in their self grind peanut butter. If you asked me where the safest, healthiest food was sold, Whole Foods would be on the top of the list. To give you perspective - the self grind peanut butter was also recalled at Winco - the discount wholesale grocery store in town. I have always considered these types of stores to have lower quality food - now I find out that they have basically the same products.

This is the value statement on the Whole Foods website:
"We have high standards and our goal is to sell the highest quality products we possibly can. We define quality by evaluating the ingredients, freshness, safety, taste, nutritive value and appearance of all of the products we carry. We are buying agents for our customers and not the selling agents for the manufacturers." Really? Then why were there peanuts from the cheapest, lowest quality source being sold at your stores?

A few years ago there was a problem with our pet food - those of you who have pets remember the recall. That should have served as a huge red flag that our food supply was in danger. Then it was our pets, now it is ourselves who are in danger.

Companies like the Peanut Corporation of America should have to adher to standards and regulations - not just suggestions. The decision makers at that company, who reportedly knew there was a problem, should go to jail forever. They have now declared bankruptcy and here is what the FDA website says about them:
"On February 20, PCA issued a statement indicating it had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and that it was no longer able to communicate with customers regarding recalled products. As a result, FDA and officials from the State of Texas DSHS are now coordinating their efforts to notify companies that received product from PCA’s Plainview, TX facility from January 1, 2007 forward. "

At our store we carry many protein bars - many of them are included in the recall. So, we send those back to our supplier, who will send them to their supplier, who would like to send them back to the Peanut Corporation - but the Peanut Corporation is out of business. They took their money and ran and their CEO invoked his 5th amendment right to not incriminate himself. This makes me want to get on a plane and go beat the shit out of him.

It seems to me that right now no one is watching the store. And by "the store", I mean the safety of our food supply, the state of our financial markets, the banks. Everything that we have always believed to be safe, fair and honest is the opposite. No one is watching out for us. Everyone is watching out only for themselves.

This should make you concerned. Take more interest and responsiblity for yourself. Know what you are putting your body and where it came from. Ask questions. Know who has your money and what they are doing with it. Know why. Ask why. I watched a show on Oprah about medical mistakes and the lesson was this - stop thinking that someone else will take care of you. Question authority. Know yourself. Hold others accountable and expect honesty and integrity. When you don't get it - go somewhere else. Reward it when you find it. I heard this during election time and it has never been more true "We are the ones we have been waiting for". Isn't it time we stop waiting for someone to take care of things and start taking care of them ourselves?

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