With the outbreak of salmonella, a lot of people are being more and more cautious about the foods they buy.
For a number of years now, we’ve been hearing about food scares that have had some deadly consequences for a number of young and elderly people.
I think a lot of shoppers who exclusively buy organic foods might have found themselves protected against all these food-horror-shows, but it seems that the last outbreak of salmonella proves that NO ONE is safe anymore.
The latest case of salmonella outbreak was linked to peanuts from plants in Texas (in Texas, Peanut Corporation of America is at the heart of the controversy) and Georgia that were sending out contaminated peanut butter and ground peanut products that contained (you won’t believe this) rodent infestation, mold and bird droppings.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, those same plants had received a U.S. federal organic certification!!!
So what does this mean for us consumers when it comes to buying organic foods?
If you see the “certified organic” label should you continue to trust it or is this another clever marketing ploy to charge more for low quality foods?
I mean really, why buy organic peanut butter at $4 for a very small jar when you can buy a huge jar of Kraft, Skippy, Peter Pan or Jif peanut butter for a fraction of that price if you are going to end up with an organic product that has been produced in a filthy manufacturing plant?
I personally was shocked to learn that just because a food is organic doesn’t mean that it’s safer, therefore the 50% increase in the price of organic foods is no guarantee of its quality.
The recent salmonella outbreak has caused a whopping 3,000 products to be recalled including items from companies like Clif Bar and Cascadian Farm.
This crisis has affected organic brands and their reputation and as a result the Organic Trade Association (which represents 1,700 organic companies), is trying to bring back some lustre to organic food’s image and has launched a massive $500,000 Web-based campaign on the benefits of organic food with the slogan: “Organic. It’s worth it”. Many consumers who have been organic food buyers in the past have been choosing non-organic brands as a result of this latest food scare … especially when it comes to buying peanut butter.
I think that the Organic Trade Associate and the USDA Organic certification system will have to do more than spend a half-a-million dollar on a web campaign to lure consumers back because for many who had been paying the higher prices of organic foods, it will take a lot to convince them to come back.
The cost of not caring:
Can you believe that nine people have died and almost 700 have become ill as a result of consuming infected peanut-base products? I’d say that these people really died as a cause of negligence, sloppiness, mediocrity and may I say greed? Yes, I do say greed because organic products cost far more than conventional products in an industry that now generates over $20 billion dollars in sales each year in the U.S. … those numbers don’t consider sales in Canada or any European country.
It’s clear that inspectors making the rounds to ascertain companies with the USDA Organic certification stamps are not health and hygiene inspectors or experts. That said, they have eyes and if you walk into a plant and see disgusting things like: bird, rodent and other animal feces or other pest infestations, you should scream bloody murder and contact the body that can come in and demand the plant clean up their act or SHUT THEM DOWN!
These nine people who died in vain and those 700 people who agonized for hours in pain would have appreciated the gesture!
Photo by EuroMagic