Wait, That’s In My Food?

I lost track a long time ago of the amount of times I’ve gotten my hand smacked for stealing raw cookie dough from the bowl of cookies my mom was making.

“It’s got raw egg! You’ll get sick!” she would shout after me every time as I ran from the kitchen with cookie dough and chocolate chips in my fist.

I never saw a problem with it. I was always fine. I never questioned it when she changed the words from ‘you’ll get sick’ to ‘you’ll get salmonella poisoning.’ In my mind it was a calculated risk.

I’d never gotten sick before, unless I had stolen one taste too many and gave myself a stomachache. It didn’t occur to me that in order to get salmonella poisoning the food had to be contaminated. I thought it was just latent in all eggs. Like some mushrooms were poisonous and that’s why I nearly gave my grandma a heart attack when she caught me eating some I found in the backyard.

My rule of thumb, even up to the age of 20, was if it was in the fridge, it was good to eat.

Then I read A Bug in the System by Wil S. Hylton.

I may never be able to look at chicken the same way again.

Twenty per cent of chicken, one in five, will test positive for salmonella. How close was I to getting sick every time I went grocery shopping and held two packages of chicken in my hands, debating which has more meat for a better price?

How often did I get very lucky and not make my entire family sick when my mom told me, very clearly, to thoroughly wash the cutting board, the knife and my hands after cutting up our food and I didn’t feel like it so I just rinsed them and stuck them in the drain?

It was like a myth to me. Step on a crack and break your mothers back, don’t walk under a ladder, black cats are bad luck, raw eggs will make you sick. These things never happened. Or at least I was too young to know when they did.

I was old enough to remember an E. coli outbreak at the local Taco Bell, but I never put much stock in the quality of food from there anyway. Yeah it was bad, maybe it gave you the runs or you stayed home from school that day but that was it. Bad luck, a bad batch of food. We can all move on after it gets out of our systems.

I literally did not understand people could die from this. That was never really explained to me. And now I’m being told it happens more frequently than should ever be allowed?

Companies producing this aren’t being shut down for distributing toxic meat? The FDA or FSIS can’t force them to take their product back, the can only suggest it?

Are you kidding?

If people buying your product are getting sick off it don’t you think maybe, just maybe, you should look into this?

It’s ridiculous that even any sort of harmful, potentially deadly, bacteria is allowed to be on the food we eat. Let alone 20%. Maybe 1%, or 2% if you really want to push it because yes, it would be incredibly hard to make sure everything we are eating is 100% safe. I don’t think it’s possible for anything in life to be 100% safe it’s just unrealistic. But shouldn’t we be doing our damnedest to make sure that the food being sold across our country is actually safe for us to eat?

According to the article, there are ways for us to make this safer. Stricter regulations, simple things like washing your freakin hands for starters. But of course the first complaint is ‘we don’t know how much it will cost.’

Weep for the dollar taken away from capitalism.

Even if the complaint is about money, if it costs a bit extra no doubt news will quickly spread This Company has the Safest food in the Country.

Safe food? Hey, I like safe food! C’mon guys they have the best food lets go get their stuff!

And suddenly revenue goes up and your competitors will be left flailing trying to do what you did now with less income.

Wow I should go into business this is a great idea! …never mind I have no idea how to actually run a multi-million dollar industry. I only have basic and vague ideas.

Still, it’s been done in other countries. Denmark was specifically mentioned in the article.

Take a page from their book and translate it, then roll up your sleeves and get to work.

I don’t want to die, or get sick, from something that could’ve been completely avoided.

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