Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Broken trust

So now I can add peanuts and peanut butter to my ever-growing list of items I no longer trust.

I was doing my daily search for updates on the salmonella outbreak, and wonder of wonders, I found this:

FDA News

March 1, 2007

Media Inquiries:
Michael Herndon, 301-827-6242
Consumer Inquiries:

FDA Update on Peanut Butter Recall

Salmonella found in the ConAgra Plant

As a follow-up to the recent Salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is conducting an extensive inspection of ConAgra's Sylvester, Georgia processing plant. Samples collected by the FDA revealed the presence of Salmonella. The fact that FDA found Salmonella in the plant environment further suggests that the contamination likely took place prior to the product reaching consumers. Last week, tests by several states identified Salmonella in many open jars of Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter recovered from consumers. In these instances, the Salmonella found in the plant and in the open jars matched the outbreak strain recovered from consumers who became ill.

Peanut Butter Toppings Part of Recall

FDA has learned that the ConAgra plant in Sylvester, GA, sent bulk Peter Pan peanut butter to its plant in Humboldt, TN. The three brands described below are part of the original Peter Pan recall. These brands have been recalled and are no longer being sold. However, some consumers may still have these products in their home.

Consumers who have any of the products listed below should discard them. Individuals who are not sure if the purchased product contains the recalled peanut butter topping should contact the store where the product was purchased.

The bulk peanut butter was used to make the following toppings:

* Sonic Brand Ready-To-Use Peanut Butter Topping in 6 lb. 10.5 oz cans. Sonic outlets used the topping until 2/16/07, when the product was recalled.
The topping was used in the following Sonic products:
- Peanut Butter Shake
- Peanut Butter Fudge Shake
- Peanut Butter Sundae
- Peanut Butter Fudge Sundae

* Carvel Peanut Butter Topping in 6 lb. 10 oz. cans. Carvel used the topping until 2/16/07, when the product was recalled.
The topping was used in the following Carvel ice cream products:
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Peanut Butter Treasure
- Peanut Butter & Jelly
- Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Sundae Dasher
- Any other customized products containing the Peanut Butter Topping, including peanut butter flavored ice cream in ice cream cakes

* J. Hungerford Smith Peanut Butter Dessert Topping in 6 lb. 10 oz. cans: This topping may be used by retail and restaurant outlets throughout the United States but is not available for direct purchase by the public.

Recall Status and More Information

ConAgra informed the public that it is recalling all Peter Pan peanut butter and all Great Value peanut butter beginning with product code 2111. The company's recall extends to products made since December 2005. FDA's advice to consumers continues to be not to eat any Peter Pan peanut butter or any Great Value peanut butter beginning with the 2111 product code.

FDA will provide updates on recalled products, including any other products that may have been made with potentially contaminated peanut butter and distributed to consumers.

Symptoms of foodborne illness caused by Salmonella include fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. In persons with poor underlying health or weakened immune systems, Salmonella can invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections or death. Individuals who have recently eaten peanut butter-containing products from these companies and who have experienced any of these symptoms should contact their doctor or health care provider immediately and report the illnesses to their state or local health authorities. Similarly, institutional food establishments and other food service providers who have received reports of illness from consumers after they consumed a product containing this peanut butter are encouraged to share that information with their local health department.

FDA is continuing to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and with states and local officials to identify how the contamination occurred in order to prevent similar foodborne illness outbreaks.

Additional Information

Q and A - Peter Pan & Great Value Peanut Butter Salmonella Outbreak and Product Recall

February 23, 2007 – FDA Update on Salmonella Outbreak Linked to All Peter Pan Peanut Butter and Certain Lot Numbers of Great Value Brand Peanut Butter

February 16, 2007 – Update on Salmonella Outbreak and Peter Pan Peanut Butter and Great Value Peanut Butter

February 14, 2007 - FDA Warns Consumers Not to Eat Certain Jars of Peter Pan Peanut Butter and Great Value Peanut Butter -- Product May be Contaminated With Salmonella

CDC Salmonellosis - Outbreak Investigation, February 2007

Photos: Peter Pan and Great Value Peanut Butter

FDA's Pilot Program to Better Educate Consumers about Recalled Food Products

Whoa. That isn't 'new' news. This is from 2007!

How many times has this happened? And the FDA under George Bush did... nothing?

How very much like George Bush's EPA that refused to protect the environment.

And George Bush's FEMA that refused to respond to Katrina.

George Bush's FDA was working on behalf of the drug and food corporations to keep us all in the dark and cover up known dangers, instead of protecting us against drugs and foods that it knew were unsafe. We've seen it time and again with drugs, and an endless stream of food recalls. Do you remember food recalls during the Clinton administrations? I don't remember even one.

This whole idea that corporations will oversee and police themselves is ridiculous - against both logic and human nature, not to mention corporate nature (make as much money as you can with as little oversight as possible.) I suspect most members of the GOP know this - but its economically advantageous to believe otherwise, so they rationalize that the corporations will 'do the right thing.' Under the Bush Administration, the GOP pulled all protections for the American people and left us at the mercy of greedy food and drug suppliers. Now we have lead poisoning from China, gluten poisoning in our pet food, salmonella in our own food... and our trust is broken.

Now I buy local vegetables - from farmers that I know. I buy natural pet food that is made in the US, and I make sure to do research on the company (now I have to verify that they don't use peanuts, so even this system is subject to flaws -- I'm at the mercy of their suppliers.)

After a bird seed recall last year that forced me to dig up about 6 inches of soil in our back yard (and that may have made our dog very sick, from the pesticides that were finally deemed 'unsafe,') I will only buy seed and suet from suppliers that are American and preferably local. Or the birds go without. I figure they are better off fending for themselves than being poisoned by me.

I walked into Petco before Christmas to buy some toys for our cats and our dog, and walked back out empty-handed. Every single item in the store was made in China, had no information about materials used in construction, but some included stern warnings not to give the items to children and about dyes that would run all over our furniture.

I didn't trust them. I happen to care about my pets... and my trust is broken. So the stockings were empty this year. Many people with small children had similar issues finding toys that were safe for their children. I recall my orange cat staring at me - he's 15 years old and has seen a lot of Christmases - and in desperation I took one of his rubber balls and slipped it into his stocking pretending it was 'new.' I doubt he fell for it. Later - some time after Christmas - I made it up to him with a feather toy made in the USA.

I don't drink our water - we have a long history of PCBs in our area, dumped here in the 50s and 60s - and I seldom eat out in restaurants. And speaking of water - its impossible to find a stainless steel spray nozzle attachment for the garden hose, like the ones we took for granted when I was a child. All nozzles are now made in China, contain lead (thanks to the state of California for warning me about that - and the fact that this lead is released into the water if the water is warm, like water in a hose often is during summer months.) There isn't much point in watering tomatoes with lead-poisoned water. I have given up my search for a safe nozzle.

Is this overkill? Perhaps. But that's the funny thing about trust... once broken, it can't be restored. I know that I - that we Americans - are now on our own when it comes to the products that we buy. I know we have literally no protection now, so God only knows what is really in our food.

Senator Lugar once told me in a letter that our food was 'the safest in the world.' Well it used to be, back when we had responsible government. What a shame to destroy that hard won ideal simply out of greed.

President Obama can't fix the FDA fast enough to restore my trust. That said... I sure hope he starts soon.

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