Thursday, July 17, 2008

Food Safety & Salmonella

Jalapenos? Tomatoes? Cilantro? The panic is on!

Nobody really knows what is spreading the salmonella infection, but these three are the most likely suspects today according to the FDA. What's a person to do?

Well, you can always avoid these foods, but my take on this action is that it's not necessary as the number of people infected really is very low considering the level of consumption, and a healthy person infected with salmonella may get very sick, but it is usually not a life-threatening experience. (Although you might be ready to ask someone to put you out of your misery as quickly as they can figure out a legal way to do that.)

If you choose not to panic and delete these delectable foods from your diet, here are some other things you can do to reduce your risk of eating those bad little "bugs."

  1. Purchase your produce from your local farmer's market. Fewer people have handled it and it hasn't been washed in a huge vat with 600 lbs. of other produce, everything jumping in the tub together and sharing possible contaminants.
  2. Use a vegetable cleaning spray on all vegetables and fruits. Even watermelon and cantaloupe. When you run your knife through the skin, your knife will pull any contaminants present on the skin through the flesh, so scrub first.
  3. For leafy greens and herbs, hold them under a fine spray of water to rinse off all surfaces. The method used to be to throw them all in a big tub of water and swish. See #1.
  4. Tomatoes+ jalapenos+ cilantro=SALSA! Buy a good quality jarred salsa such as Herdez (my favorite!). Jarred salsa has been heat-processed to kill anything bad that might be present.

And finally:

5. Don't sweat it because next month it will be something ELSE!

Bon Appetit!

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