05/May/2007 – You Are What You Eat   4 comments

You Are What You Eat

How safe is our food?

Eating an Apple

How safe is our food?

Do you feel that your food is safe? I read a news story that got me thinking about this. Being urbanites, Lydia and I depend on others to grow, process, transport, and often, prepare our food. I wonder about how many hands have touched my food before it gets to me. Also, who is protecting my food and are they doing a good job?

Yesterday (Friday, May 4) U.S. federal officials placed a hold on 20 million chickens raised for market in several states because their feed was mixed with pet food containing an industrial chemical. [link] Melamine—it’s not just for pet food, anymore.

Add to that concern the possibility of foodborne disease. Chances are that you have gotten sick from something you ate. Probably many times. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that foodborne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year. [link]

Rates in the country where you live may be similar. The World Health Organization reports that governments all over the world are intensifying their efforts to improve food safety. These efforts are in response to an increasing number of food safety problems and rising consumer concerns. [link]

What can we do to protect ourselves?

A meatless diet, even if it may be healthier for other reasons, will not protect you from foodborne disease. Two of the recent outbreaks of contaminated foods that I have heard about have been linked to spinach and green onions, though the ultimate source of the contamination may have been animal.

Since we can’t stop eating (not for very long, anyways) and most of us to a greater or a lesser extent depend on others for our food, what steps can we take to protect ourselves and our families?

  • Wash. Wash your hands, utensils, cutting boards, counter tops, and food itself.
  • Cook thoroughly. Internal temperatures of 160°F for most foods (180°F for poultry) will kill almost all bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Reheat foods to 165°F.
  • Keep foods separate. Keep raw meat, poultry, or seafood separate from other food at all times—when shopping for it, storing it, and preparing it. Do not put cooked foods on a plate that had raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
  • Store and chill food properly. The refrigerator should be set to 40°F and the freezer to 0°F.
  • Be cautious when dining out. In some places, from about 60 to 80 percent of the cases of foodborne disease originate in meals that are cooked and bought outside the home.
  • Throw out questionable food. Granted, it is unwise to waste good food. Still, getting sick from bad food may prove even more costly.


In the future, all food will be safe

The account in the Bible book of Genesis says: “Jehovah God made to grow out of the ground every tree desirable to one’s sight and good for food.” (Genesis 2:9) So Adam and Eve had a delightful variety of foods as well as an abundant, endless supply. The God who created them knew precisely what they needed nutritionally; he also knew what would bring them joy. Granted, we are not in the garden of Eden today. But has God changed his original purpose for mankind and the earth?

I invite you to read more of what the Bible says about a time when we can enjoy “a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.”—Isaiah 25:6, The New American Bible


Posted Saturday, May 5, 2007 by Grant in Random

4 responses to “05/May/2007 – You Are What You Eat

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  1. ummm, I was going to cook chicken tonight for dinner.

  2. Oh well, maybe we all should return to eating wild foods. Some of these foods taste bitter if you do learn to cook or prepare them properly.

  3. I don’t think today’s food is terribly safe at all.

  4. Looks like a good reason to grow a garden! We’re house hunting now, and I will keep that in mind when looking. Thanks for the heads up, I think. ;^)

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