Thursday, August 26, 2010

When Food Goes Bad

Recalled eggs could still reach your table
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - The Iowa hens at the heart of a massive recall are still laying eggs that could end up on a table near you. And food safety experts say that's OK.

The eggs will first be pasteurized to rid them of any salmonella. Then they can be sold as liquid eggs or added to other products.

Officials from the two farms that have recalled more than a half-billion eggs say there's no reason not to use the eggs while federal officials investigate the outbreak. Wright Egg Farms and Hillandale Farms issued the recall after learning that salmonella may have sickened as many as 1,300 people.

Spokeswomen for the farms said their hens are still laying several million eggs a day. Those eggs are being sent to facilities where their shells are broken and the contents pasteurized.

Hillandale Farms spokeswoman Julie DeYoung said the operation has 2 million birds that lay an egg about every 26 hours.

"It's close to 2 million eggs a day," she said.

But the pasteurization only affects eggs that are being laid now. Recalled eggs that had already been shipped to stores are destroyed.

Both companies say they are waiting to hear from the Food and Drug Administration before deciding what, if anything, to do with their hens.

The FDA cannot order the farms to kill hens that may be infected with salmonella, but the farms could decide to take that step on their own. Neither would discuss that possibility.
"Naked Lunch", Jack Kerouac once explained, "is that frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork." It's a terrible epiphany that never goes away.

And it’s an experience that’s being shared by more and more people every day.

There was a time when the worst you had to worry about eating eggs was too much cholesterol. Those were the days, huh?

I think I just lost my appetite.

Sometimes doing nothing is worse than doing something bad because usually doing nothing makes bad things worse. And unfortunately there's been lots of nothing not-happening all over the country.

Call me foolish, but I'm not worried about a terrorist attack. Osama bin Laden didn’t poison our eggs, did he?

It's the not-so-slow erosion of our aging infrastructure that's scaring the fuck outta me. Our bridges, our rail system, and our highways get worse every damned day. Libraries, schools and hospitals are closing. There's not enough cops on the streets. There's fewer jobs, the number of foreclosures are up, and more Americans are in debt. Medical insurance is horribly expensive. And why in the hell are we hearing reports of food on supermarket shelves killing people?

When the America people voted for the dumb-ass, smirking fratboy who promised "lower taxes" and "less government" this is what happens. Sure, he’s gone, but he’s not forgotten. Elections have consequences, after all. When corporations are left to "regulate" themselves, checks and balances disappear. Cities drown, bridges fall down, and food is poison. When Bush gutted the FDA and replaced the competent people with idiots who couldn't do their jobs, the organization that was entrusted to keep our food safe wasn't able to do it anymore.

These days, agribusiness is a corporate entity that produces bad food and is destructive to the environment on a global scale. Maybe I’m wrong, but the Obamas growing fresh vegetables on the White House lawn isn’t going to be enough.

How long before Soylent Green is the safest food we can eat?