Bad news but also good news – Produce Blue Book
A certain function in my mind is relentlessly sorting the items into Good News against Bad News.
This process is often the opposite of useful, but since it is automatic, I can only control it to a small extent. Usually remembering not to take it too seriously.
How, then, should I view food safety alerts as good news or bad news? Recently, BrightFarms of Rochelle, IL, announced a recall of certain packaged green salads from their greenhouse in Rochelle, which is near my home and supplies Mariano’s supermarkets, where we regularly shop.
At first glance, this is bad news. While I’m not shaking for fear that contaminated greens may have come through my lips, it sends me looking in our produce drawer. From BrightFarms’ perspective, a safety recall is never good publicity.
On the other hand, I have to take into account that such announcements are made on a regular basis, which means industry (and government) is watching carefully for possible outbreaks of contamination. Food Safety News provides regular updates, which report events like these not only here but internationally.
So the good news is that there are mechanisms to monitor food safety failures (even for pet foods) and these are widely reported.
Another good news is the recently announced release of “The Only Searchable Food Recall Database That Allows Users To Perform A Food Recall Search For FDA And USDA Food Recalls. “, FoodIndustry Counsel, a Milwaukee-based law and consulting firm for the restaurant industry.
A recent listing cites a July 26 recall from another greenhouse leafy greens grower, Old Soul’s Farms LLC of St. Paris, OH, with a link to the FDA announcement.
To be relevant for a moment, food security is not like getting an Olympic gold medal. If you won one, you will always be a medalist whether you die, go crazy, or become the head of the Kim Jong Un Fan Club.
There is no finish line when it comes to food safety. There will always be slips, accidents and nonsense, some tragic, others funny. Ask the lady from Seattle who found a dead lizard in her restaurant salad.
Or just ask me. I once found a dead bug at the bottom of a jar of spinach leaves. “No rinsing necessary!” the label assured me. (Of course I rinsed and ate them anyway.)
Over the past century, Americans have seen great improvements in food safety. We can be sure that floor sweepings are no longer thrown into canned meat, as described in Upton Sinclair’s classic novel, The Jungle, published in 1906.
At the same time, security procedures, like everything else on this planet, are flawed, constantly threatened with failure, and must be constantly improved.
Let me leave you with a motto to put on your banner:
Eternal vigilance is the price of food security.