Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I Say Tomato, You Say Ralph

What in the ever loving hell is going on with agriculture? I'm willing to take my chances with a rare cut of beef--everyone knows it's a gamble. But now we have to worry about rare beefsteak tomatoes giving us a bad case of salmonella?

I know I promised a return of the paranoid rants, but I didn't think that the news would hand over such an easily feared topic. A man in Texas, who was already sick with cancer, was done in by some pico de gallo. Where is the justice?

Last year, it was the Case of the Shitty Spinach that freaked everyone out. A rash of illness from the e. coli laced leaves had grocery stores and restaurants pulling fresh spinach off the shelves and off menus with a quickness. What's next? And furthermore, how do they trace the origin of foodborne illnesses?

I've seen hidden-camera shows about the nasty doings going on in restaurants, and I've heard horror stories from people who've worked in food service. Hell, in my not-so-illustrious career path, food service represents the bulk of my experience. I know that eating in restaurants is always a gamble. But guess what? So is eating at home.

What, do you think those shipping containers, trucks and warehouses are pristine and sterile environments? Remember hearing how a certain amount of rodent and insect ... bits ... are allowed in our food? It's a filthy business all around. Unless I plan to get all crazy and plant all of my own food, there's nothing but luck and a little obsessive compulsive behavior preventing me from clutching the toilet, begging for mercy after one bad salad or fish sandwich. If you're anything like me, though, readers, a little information can act as a talisman.

Here's a link to the FDA's Bad Bug Book. Try not to freak out. And tell the waitress to hold the tomato.


Jude said...

That's one Veg you shouldn't be afraid of!I want to know if my beloved Clamato is going to be comprimised,,,if so it's going to put a big damper on this retirement gig we're in!!!

Nora said...

Don't worry, Jude. It was the raw tomatoes, not the processed. Although Clamato sounds like a double gamble to me.

Ratherto said...

It just goes to show you that you are never safe. It's getting to be ri-goddamn-diculous. Don't eat spinach, you'll get ecoli. Don't eat tomatoes, you'll get ecoli. Don't eat beef, mad cow disease. Watch out for chicken, salmonella. WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE SUPPOSED TO EAT!? I can't eat fish (I'm allergic), so am I supposed to live on potatoes for the rest of my life? WTF!?!?!? I think I shall live on nothing but Velveeta Shells & Cheese (providing the cheese doesn't go bad).

Anonymous said...

Is that cheese?

Listen I think they had creepy crawlies on things before. I say we as humans need to develop stronger digestive tracts, and if someone gets taken out by a tomato, thats just Darwin at's it's best.

It's a tomato eat tomato world.

Slippy said...

I already have paranoia about refrigeration and foods and now I have all those evil bugs to worry about from the FDA. Ask Ratherto about food storage issues at the Slippy and Team Will compound. And, I still stand by the statement that pizza left out overnight is not a suitable breakfast solution.

Good thing I drink alot to disinfect myself!

Ratherto said...

Pizza that is left out on the counter CAN be eaten for breakfast. My Grandma used to keep opened jelly and butter on the kitchen table 24/7. Its because of these things that I don't get food poisoning. River is correct, you need to have a strong digestive tract. The more you are exposed to when you are young, the better off you'll be. Hell, I've eaten potato salad that has been left out on the table all day.

Ratherto said...

and River, I believe it is a cheese-like substance. Not really cheese. But at least its closer to cheese than Kraft Mac & Cheese. I don't trust powdered faux-cheese.

Nora said...

Hey, Ratherto! Remember when I tried to kill you with salmon pasta? Those tornadoes saved your life, my man.

Next time, for the sake of safety, we're having oatmeal.