Another outbreak of Salmonella was recently reported in hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), which is used as a food enhancer in many processed foods. This product is found in soups, sauces, stews, hot dogs, gravies, dressings and flavored seasoned snacks. Is the U.S. FDA really doing everything it can to protect us?
The sad truth is that the Las Vegas company, “Basic Food Flavors,” knowingly shipped out food products containing HVP that was contaminated by bacterial salmonella. An FDA official noted that the equipment at the plant was not adequately cleaned to protect against these contaminants. This information was reported in mid-February. Who’s to blame?
In the US, there are about 76 million foodborne illnesses annually. What is a foodborne illness? According to Wikipedia, it “is any illness resulting from the consumption of contaminated food.”
The most commonly recognized foodborne infections are those caused by the bacteria Campylobacter, Salmonella, and E. coli O157:H7. Other common infections are caused by viruses called calicivirus, also known as the Norwalk and Norwalk-like viruses. These infections cause nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain, sometimes associated with fever.
Foodborne illnesses cost the US $152 billion in health related expenses annually according to the consumer and public health groups.
The number of people sick is astounding! Approximately 325,000 people are hospitalized and about 5,00 people die yearly from contaminated food.
You wouldn’t think of needing to research every detail of the food you eat, as you would buying a flat screen TV or computer. You assume the food you eat is safe. It is hard to believe that what makes most people ill in our country is not exotic diseases, Swine flu, or upper respiratory infections… but the food we eat! If a person consuming contaminated food is someone with a weak immune system (someone with HIV, under cancer treatment, or has an autoimmune disease), then the risk for death is high.
So what can we do?
Eat organic and local foods as much as possible. Read more by Bill Marlar…