Friday, March 26, 2010

Recalls, Dr.Oz, and Knowing Your Farmer

As you can see my kitchen assistant was totally underwhelmed by this package of my favorite rice that arrived yesterday. Rice and almonds are this farm's specialty and since neither one grows in the Pacific Northwest, I ordered them from this organic California farm and they arrived by the U.S. mail.

"Something is rattling in that heavy box," the letter carrier had said. I laughed, but that familiar rattle was music to my ears. Likewise for the almonds because when you've tasted the best why waste your life on the rest?

Flash forward to this morning when I noticed a Google alert for recalled rice from Woolworths. "Who buys rice from Woolworths?" I wondered. I was so shocked by this piece of news, I posted it on FaceBook.

"Who even has a Woolworths?" my friend Phil asked.

"Exactly, I thought they'd gone out of business long ago," I laughed.

But this recall is no laughing matter. It seems the rice was tainted with metal shavings. The article went on to say that the heads of the companies involved have issued apologies on the "inconvenience" they may have caused consumers.

Metal shavings in the gut is an inconvenience?

If you add metal shavings to grain shipments, it makes them heavier and unscrupulous sellers earn more money. Will metal detectors scan the grains on incoming ships to help protect consumers? Don't count on it. Come to think of it, health care reform might have included closer inspection of imported foods for product contamination.

If there is one essential rule about buying healthy food that not even Dr. Oz has mentioned is to pay attention to where your food comes from. Don't assume that because a package of rice is on the shelf in Safeway, Woolworths, or even your local natural foods store, that it's safe to eat.

Know your farmer, know your food. End of rant, for now anyway.

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