Monday, October 3, 2011

Around The Culinary World

Good evening everyone! Welcome back to another week of culinary news and adventure here at Out Of The Culinary. Predictably, after last week’s news explosion, this week provided little in the way of story variation. (The news world seems to fall into this pattern – busy week, slow week, rinse, lather, repeat). As expected most of the focus this week was on the listeria outbreak caused by some bad cantaloupes. This week we’ve got news about another product recall, more information on the listeria outbreak and a Girl Scout cookie story sprinkled in to top it all off. Let’s dive into the culinary news for this week!

Last week, we touched on the listeria outbreak that spread across a large portion of the country. This week, we’re still learning some interesting things about this particular outbreak. Some of the more dramatic stories coming from the latest outbreak are tales of those infected. Charles Palmer, a 71 year old ex-marine used to eat melons for lunch every day. A perfect picture of health, Charles and his family were shocked when he began suffering intense headaches a dry-heaves. Charles and many others in similar situations are either still hospitalized or worse all due to this outbreak. Read more about the victims behind the latest food contamination HERE.

Shortly after the news of the Cantaloupe outbreak was dying down in the news cycle, another product recall took to the headlines. True Leaf Farms in California recalled 90 cartons of their chopped romaine lettuce for fear of listeria contamination. The FDA notified the company that one of their bags tested positive for listeria during random sampling (Not to sound cynical, but it’s nice to see the FDA catching something before it becomes a pandemic). You can read more about this recall HERE.

If you cannot rely on food producers to keep products safe or free from disease, what are our options? Avoid produce all together? Boil EVERYTHING? Sure, those are options – but let’s face it – they’re not desirable outcomes (no produce is bad for your health and you can’t boil melons…) When germs like listeria thrive in cold environments it only complicates matters further. The Associated Press posted an article last week giving out some tips for keeping your produce safe. A few, such as eating produce within a few days of purchase and keeping food cold are common sense, but others such as tips for washing melons are good pieces of advice. Check out the full story and all of the accompanying safety tips HERE.

Cantaloupes and romaine lettuce are the most recent victims of food contamination. If you’re like me, you’ve got to be wondering – “How can this keep happening?” is it simply negligence on the part of the food producers? Or is it a lack of oversight by the FDA that allows some of these products to slip right through their safety net? Well, the answer (as with most things) lies somewhere in the middle and is kept in the details. While some company’s poor production standards have caused illnesses in the past and FDA regulators have been slow to respond to other outbreaks - the most recent outbreak has nothing to do with either issue. This is something I hadn’t thought of before, but now that I read this perspective on the issue – I think there is a lot of truth here. Find out the largest cause of these outbreaks by reading THIS article.

Finally, in news that doesn’t revolve around product recalls (hooray!) the Girl Scouts are promising to change the way they make their cookies in the future. Currently, the cookies are made with palm oil. Many rainforests in South America have been clear cut in order for developers to plant palm oil plantations. Since palm oil demand is very high, it makes great economical sense that these plantations have become a booming business. From an environmental standpoint, well…it’s not as brilliant of a move. Read all about how the Girl Scouts plan to do their part in lowering the palm oil demand HERE.

That’s all the news that’s fit to blog about this week. It was a little outbreak heavy, but when something of this scale takes over the culinary world, you’re likely to see all sorts of news & fallout as a result. We’ve got another front loaded week for you as far as recipes are concerned. Maggie takes to the kitchen tomorrow night to create a new variation on one of her favorite dishes and I will take to the kitchen on Wednesday with a breading dish that I’ve never tried before. It should be fun, and it’s sure to be delicious so join us on Tuesday for a new recipe! Until then,


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