Director of Consumers Union says, Peanut Butter Epidemic Should have been Avoided


No more peanut butter and bacon sandwiches!
Photo Credit: Inuyaki.com
Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports, has released a report stating that tainted peanut butter products may have been avoided if the FDA had a quicker reaction rate towards food tainted outbreaks in general. Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union, questioned the delayed reaction of the FDA with the recent peanut butter epidemic:

"When a plane crashed, we have a massive investigation as to how it happened, so that the problem can be corrected. Why didn't FDA intensify its supervision of peanut butter manufacturers after the problem in the ConAgra plant two years ago?"

So far the salmonella outbreak has reached 492 souls, with six of those ending in death. The FDA has advised consumers to "postpone" consumption of certain peanut butter related food, but most people are choosing to stay away from any and all of it. But when you stop to think about all the foods that have peanut butter, it can get a little daunting.

We're talking about the mass consumer rejection of crackers, ice cream, dog food/biscuits, cookies, nutrition, diet, and candy bars, cookie dough, and yes, although I hate to say this with February 14th just right around the corner, boxes of Valentine candy. Halloran went on to say:

"With only an Acting Commissioner in charge, the FDA is now adrift. Given the seriousness of the problem—people's lives are at stake—President Obama must appoint a new FDA Commissioner as soon as possible who can begin to assert strong leadership on food safety."

Halloran is also calling for immediate action to claims of melamine in infant formulas, BPA in baby bottles and canned food lining, and a slew of other food safety issues that have been rocking the United States over this past year.

Let's hope some leadership and organization gets set in place quick!

More on food borne illness
Food-borne Illness: Worst-Case Scenario
If You Want Safe Food, Know Where It Comes From
Massive Canadian Recall of Tainted Meat

Tags: 2008 Elections | Agriculture | Food Safety

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