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How’s about a nice hot fudge sundae with two big scoops of pistachio ice cream and a smattering of Salmonella? Wait a second! Acute abdominal cramps, projectile vomiting, debilitating diarrhea and sallow skin the color of the aforementioned frozen dairy treat doesn’t sound so appetizing on second thought. Also, if you happen to be frail, a senior citizen, a young child, or have a compromised immune system you might want to steer clear of Kraft’s Back to Nature Nantucket Blend Trail Mix… that is, unless you’d like to start singing Happy Trails (the delightfully infectious bacteria can cause fatalities in these delicate demographics). Jeez Louise! A death sentence hardly seems like the proper encouragement for the health conscious among our young, elderly and bed-ridden who happen to be nuts about deez nuts. Even astronauts orbiting the earth in our ramshackle International Space Station are at risk, as the microscopic contagion has recently been shown to become more virulent in a zero-g environment (best to stick with Tang and tortillas, spacemen!).
It seems that the FDA done did it again! Or didn’t do it… what they’re supposed be doing, that is, mainly regulate and prevent widespread contamination of our food supply from harmful microbes and bacteria. That and be the tool of an overzealous Pharmaceutical Complex pimping products to alleviate ailments they themselves have created to make a quick buck off the public’s paranoia, hypochondria and dissatisfaction with their droll everyday existence (which usually includes lists of side effects more frightening than the symptoms being “treated.” Anal bleeding and sudden stroke? No thankee. I’ll mourn my kitty cat’s unfortunate demise sans the Dr. Feel Good pills, Pusherman!).
Lettuce, poultry, tomatoes, peanut butter and now pistachios… and that’s just the Salmonella, folks! Let’s not forget our friendly neighborhood fecal contaminator, E. Coli, that, all too recently, was found in spinach, ground beef patties and frozen pizza (affecting everyone from the patchouli-soaked vegan to the Sarah Palin-supporting soccer mom and munchie-craving stoner alike). And what pray tell is being done to protect us? Two million pounds of allegedly roasted pistachios have been recalled by Terra Bella, Inc. (the second largest processor in the nation) to determine the cause post hoc! As baklava lovers across this great nation go wanting and suburban Chinese restaurants are forced to frantically push the mango pudding (yuck!).
Perhaps its time for the FDA, which supervises 80% of our food supply (the USDA is responsible for the rest, mainly focusing on meat, poultry and eggs), to refocus its efforts from clean-up to prevention (so we may enjoy a nice crisp Cobb Salad or old-fashioned PBJ without worrying about running to the restroom to release our churning insides from an orifice on either end and subsequently survive surreptitiously sipping sickly tasting bubble-gum-flavored Pedialyte for the next 36 to 48 hours, praying our tummy won’t revolt and reset the whole rigmarole to the beginning).
One can only hope that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Kathleen Sebelius (Obama’s nominee for Health and Human Services secretary) will be successful in splitting the FDA’s drug and food safety obligations into two autonomous agencies so they can concentrate on heading off such catastrophes before they become part of our digestive tracts, if not, I guess we could always form hippie communes, raise our own organic produce and livestock, or intravenously feed ourselves from bags of glucose solution… but really, who has the time or inclination?