Is America's Food Safe?

By: Meredith Stancik
By: Meredith Stancik

In the most recent bacterial outbreak, nearly 300 people have gotten sick because of salmonella traced to certain brands of peanut butter.
This comes only months after a Taco Bell scare and the recall of spinach because of E-Coli.

Now, many Americans are asking the question, is our food safe?

"People are paying more attention to these outbreaks and when they do occur in large clusters like this, it does tend to attract a lot of attention," Helene L. Andrews-Polymenis, a professor with The Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine said.

After hundreds of people started getting sick, some severely, a salmonella outbreak was traced to a peanut butter plant in Georgia.

The link has not yet been proven, but the Food and Drug Administration has urged Americans to throw out all Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter bought since May.

Last fall, 200 people fell ill and three died, by the time scientists traced E-Coli contamination to California spinach.

"Big outbreaks like this do happen and sporadically throughout the year and always have," Andrews-Polymenis said.

But, the recent rash of bacterial outbreaks in food has consumers worried.
Meat and poultry are usually the source of these outbreaks, but recently fruits and vegetables have been the culprits.
But still, America is said to have one of the safest food supplies.

"I think it's quite good, but that doesn't mean that there can't be improvements made and more money spent on research so that we don't have these large outbreaks that we're currently having," Andrews-Polymenis said.

About 500 people die from salmonella each year, but experts say that is not a cause for concern, just a warning to be cautious.

"As long as people practice good basic food safety handling techniques, I don't think there is too much reason to be worried," Andrews-Polymenis said.

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