Posts tagged ‘outbreak’

Farm-to-fork Threatening National Grocery Chains

It appears that sustainable foods do not equal sustainable profits, at least not for big time grocery chains like Walmart and Safeway.  As more and more people learn of the dangers of the pseudo-foods peddled at America’s mega marts the more they are shopping at farmer’s markets.  There they find produce that is farmed not manufactured.

Surely the farm-to-fork movement is not so large that it could actually be putting a bite in the bottom line of industrial grocers?  Only hippies shop at farmer’s markets, right?  It would seem not.  Recently Kelly Barron penned a humorous piece of fiction for (part of the Wall Street Journal Digital Network) suggesting hidden dangers from local produce.

In 10 Things Your Farmer’s Market Won’t Tell You, Barron spins a yarn of nefarious conduct by America’s organic farmers that results in produce riddled with hazards.  To prove her point she cites an E-coli outbreak in August of 2002 where 82 people got sick from contamination.  It remains the largest E-coli outbreak in California history.  It also did not happen at a farmer’s market or organic grocery.  It happened at a sheep and goat exhibit.  No food borne illness was part of this outbreak but Barron chose to represent the incident as if it were commonplace with local produce.

This is not totally Barron’s fault.  She is not an expert on horticulture, nutrition nor is she a chef.  She is a journalist who was likely given the assignment.  She might even think that a goat exhibit and a fruit stand are the same thing.  Who knows?

Propaganda like this can only mean one thing, more people are shunning the Frankenfood for the real thing.  That is a good sign.  There is hope for the future, after all ADD, Celiac Disease and dozens of other conditions are the result of genetically engineered food like that sold at large grocers.

So why would someone write an article blatantly fabricating facts such as this?  To serve an agenda.  There was a time when we would have thought the media beyond such conduct but as Dan Rather and CBS News showed us they are not above inventing news if it furthers their agenda.  WSJ is a fine publication but they do run with the big dogs of industry and Walmart is about as big as they get.  Sometimes you have to scratch a back now and then.  Oh yeah, and money talks, too.

So go ahead and read every word of Barron’s tall tale.  When you are finished read the rebuttal from an actual expert, Rob Smart.  Then judge for yourself.

May 6, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Salmonella Salsa

So watching CNN today I see where the recent salmonella outbreak is the worst in over ten years.  To make matters worse the FDA really has no idea what is causing it.  In addition to tomatoes they have now added cilantro, jalapeños, and Serrano’s to the list of culprits.  With a menu like that it is easy to understand why the states with the largest outbreaks have large Hispanic communities.  Clearly this is a plot by Al-Qaeda to derive us of my favorite condiment, salsa.


I easily eat five to six 16 ounce jars of salsa a week.  I make mine from scratch because it not only costs about the same as one jar from the grocer but because it taste way better.  Why?  Because it is fresh.  Jarred salsa is pasteurized which means it has been cooked.  It is also laden with a multitude of fillers, binders, and assorted other additives that you would never put if salsa if you made it yourself.


My recipe is easy: organic canned tomatoes (always use canned unless tomatoes are in season where you live), garlic, onion, cilantro, and jalapeños (I sometimes use Serrano chilies) thrown together in a food processor or blender just long enough to mix but not long enough to turn the salsa pink.  So looking at my ingredients you can see why this latest news about salmonella is distressful to me.


Sure, I could make a cooked salsa and have fun doing it, grilled tomatoes, roasted garlic, sauté the onion and chilies in a little Spanish olive oil, but cilantro sadly is really only good raw.  Cooking makes it stringy and gives it the overwhelming taste of aluminum foil and dried cilantro is completely devoid of any flavor.


The rest of the ingredients are easily found organically grown locally.  If only I could find a local organic farmer to grow me my most favorite herb then I would be set.  Well, I guess it is the old Aerogarden to the rescue.


For more on the whole salmonella thing check these articles:

Investigation of Outbreak of Infections Caused by Salmonella Saintpaul from the CDC.

Chili Peppers Linked to Some Salmonella Illnesses from Elizabeth Lee of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

Salmonella Signs Point to Peppers by Jonathan D. Rockoff of the Baltimore Sun.

July 9, 2008 at 8:56 pm 2 comments


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Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."


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