(The mind-boggling truth that tofu dealers DON’T want you to know!)
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the top food items that made people sick in recent years involve health foods and frozen rodents. I am not making this up.
My journey towards the truth began when my sister-in-law, Jane, sent a helpful email detailing what is REALLY contained in fast-food burgers.
The article said that everything remotely connected to the cow is tossed into the mixing bowl (everything but the “moo”). Then the resulting “meat product” is blasted with ammonia gas to kill e-coli and salmonella. A little more processing, a little bit of cooking and the patty, containing cow eyelashes and half the periodic table of elements, is ready to be shoved out the drive-through window at me.
As a technique by my health-conscious sister-in-law to get me to lay off the fast-food, this was pretty effective. But I am not fainthearted. It got me to thinking.
It seemed to me that most of the salmonella outbreaks I’ve heard about recently have to do with sprouts, lettuce and certain farm workers’ bathroom habits. Rather than abandon the fast-food industry, or rely on my poor memory, I decided to do some actual research.
First of all, let me say that I am not, by training, a scientist. Although I did complete several rigorous years of high school study under the tutelage of esteemed academician, Mr. John West.
It took whole minutes of backbreaking research on Yahoo to find the Centers for Disease Control website. The following is an actual reprint from their site of the causes of the biggest, multi-state salmonella outbreaks for the last few years.
Kind of a Vomit Top 10 List.
- Alfalfa Sprouts
- Shell Eggs
- Cheesy Chicken Rice Frozen Entrée
- Frozen Mamey Fruit Pulp
- Restaurant Chain A
- Frozen Rodents
- Alfalfa Sprouts
- Red and Black Pepper/Italian-Style Meats
- Water Frogs
Do we notice a common thread here? What do most of these foods have in common?
Most of these foods are what we would call HEALTHY!
Let’s classify the contamination sources by food type and examine the evidence.
1) Pet food: Kind of self-explanatory
2) Not food: Turns out Water Frogs are food to neither man nor domesticated beast. People were contaminated just handling these little critters for their aquariums.
3) Food for thought: Frozen Rodents? I consider myself something of a connoisseur of quintessentially frozen confectionary treats, and I must confess I have never seen Ratsicles in my grocer’s freezer case. Dove Bars are my favorite. Perhaps naively, I always assumed that was a figurative name having to do with peace or lightness or some such euphemism. It didn’t occur to me that actual doves might be involved. But given the frozen rodents thing, one has to wonder. Gulp.
Further study of the CDC report reveals that this contamination was due to “association with frozen rodents used for reptile feed”. Most of us are safe on this one.
4) Unhealthy food: I think we would all agree that Banquet Pot Pies, Cheesy Chicken Rice Frozen Entrées and Restaurant Chain A offerings are not going to be healthy foods. All are sure to contain tons of fat, sodium and more fats.
For the Restaurant Chain A outbreak, the CDC couldn’t pinpoint the specific ingredient, or even the menu item, that caused the barf-o-rama. That leaves me free to interpret the results in a manner most likely to support my position. This is a time-honored scientific tradition (reference climate change research manipulation by distinguished U.K. scientists). I hypothesize it was the lettuce or sprouts.
Pot Pies and other Frozen Entrees always contain some sort of vegetables as a sop to our consciences.
So all three of these apparently unhealthy food-caused outbreaks were actually due to the veggies hiding among the fat. They can be reclassified under Health Foods.
Even more intriguing, I want to know why the CDC appears to have it in for Banquet. They are identified by name, right on the list where all 17 of the people who will read these statistics will see it. You have to really dig, something nobody else is likely to do, to discover that Marie Callander was the manufacturer of the Chicken Rice dish. And Restaurant Chain A is never identified by name in the data. It is described as a “Mexican-style fast food restaurant chain”. Yeah, we have no clue as to who that might be.
Makes you wonder if Banquet neglected to send over a few comp dinners for the CDC break room. Not the pot pies, though.
5) Health food: Every one of the remaining salmonella outbreak causes could, conceivably, be classified as healthy food. (I did say conceivably. I realize that some might not agree that all the rest are healthy. But those of us in the scientific community realize there is never 100% consensus.)
That means 75% of the 20 major outbreaks in the last 5 years were caused by healthy foods. That’s not counting the previously identified and reclassified Unhealthy foods. That’s an alarming percentage!
And it is incontrovertible proof that health food is unhealthy for you.
By the way, if you’re like me, and I know you are, there were two items on the list that really caught your eye. One was, of course, the Frozen Rodents. The other was the Veggie Booty. I won’t tease you. This is described in the article thusly: “Robert’s American Gourmet brand Veggie Booty is a snack of puffed rice and corn with a vegetable coating”. Yum!
After a hard day’s work in the vineyards of truth, toiling for the people, it’s time for me to head home. I think I’ll pick up dinner on the way. Since “two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun” didn’t appear anywhere on the CDC’s list, I’m going to take my chances with the ammonia burgers.
But to show Jane that I care about my health, I’ll ask for a side of Veggie Booty.