For Your Health

Chad W. Lutz
You’re losing weight at an alarming rate. You lay awake at night, holding your sides, gripping the toilet bowl as your head and rear play musical chairs. You can’t decide whether or not it was something you ate or if you feel like you just have the flu. It’s been three weeks and, forty-pounds later, you realize you’re not under avian invasion, but the host of an unsuspecting visit from Sal(monella).

Salmonella, a motile enterobacteria (a fast moving, energy consuming, rod shaped bacteria) that only becomes lethal to humans is carried in animal protein, like that of the raw eggs being removed at an alarming rate from store shelves all across the United States. Already, hundreds of millions of eggs have been recalled in a nationwide scare that has reportedly stricken almost 2,000 with the potentially deadly illness.

Sherri McGarry, coordinator for the F.D.A’s Outbreak Investigations unit, recently went on record as saying, “ The outbreak could have been prevented,” citing lack of regulation implementation of new rules that cover issues ranging from rodent control, cleanliness, and the refrigeration of stored and transported eggs. The F.D.A also went on record itself saying that the implementation of these regulations could have reduced the number of eggs recalled by, “nearly sixty-percent.”

The original recall saw 380 million eggs heading home to the Galt, Iowa based egg manufacturer Wright County Egg. Wright County Egg, whose owner and operator, Jack DeCoster, is a large investor in the Buckeye State’s own Ohio Fresh Eggs and has had his hand in so many environmental infractions that it might actually make BP blush (if you can believe it).

However, CNN reported on Friday that co-Iowan egg producer Hillandale announced they were pulling 170 million of their own eggs from shelves due to their own reports of cases involving Salmonella. The toll of total eggs recalled is now expected to reach over half a billion.

To date, DeCoster and his egg-cellent (hold your applause) track record have been nothing but egg in the face. Jack, and all his trades, has become notorious for habitually breaking environmental laws (literally). In Iowa, he has been legally referred to as a “habitual violator,” of state environmental laws and has been fined over $7.125 million dollars over the last fourteen years for a proverbial laundry list of offenses ranging from sexual harassment, immigration, and environmental infractions. Another prime example of the abuse of white-collar power in this countries recent history.

No deaths have been reported or attributed to the recall, yet, but officials are still advising consumers to exercise caution. According to the CDC Website, if you have been experiencing diarrhea, abnormal abdominal cramps, or fever that have lasted more than four to seven days, call or visit your nearest health care provider immediately. Salmonella most commonly affects infants, the elderly, or those with impaired immune systems.

What strikes me as odd is the blatant presence of apathy in people about the issue. CNN recently conducted a poll gauging people’s reactions to the recall. When asked about how concerned they were about possibly eating eggs contaminated with Salmonella 57% of the 84,000 respondents said they didn’t care at all. Only 12% said they were genuinely concerned. Wonder why the bird and the pig got so much attention? No swine, safe to dine?

It made me think back to McGarry’s comment, about how it all could have probably been prevented. Then I started thinking back to all the other Salmonella scares and when I saw the poll it hit me. The reason we keep having all these Salmonella scares is because no one gives a damn. (I’ll take my Nobel Prize now, thank you).

Even though close to 2,000 Americans are laying in bed at home right now watching terrible reruns of Jerry Springer (because there never seems to be anything else on that’s good when you’re sick and confined to boob tube entertainment), all stricken with a potentially fatal illness due to, “poor implementation,” which is no doubt based off the apparent lack of concern Americans have for food-borne illness, reports show otherwise. In fact, the reports are showing that Americans still have a great deal of confidence in their food’s safety despite, not one, not two, not three or four, but several high-profile outbreaks of Salmonella just over the past four years. Everything, ranging from tomatoes, to peanut butter, to the eggs being recalled today, has been pulled from shelves due to cases of Salmonella popping up on America’s Health Chart.

If you or anyone else you know are experiencing any of the symptoms of Salmonella, or have consumed raw eggs that you aren’t sure about, contact your health care professional immediately. No deaths have been reported or attributed to the recall yet, but officials are still advising consumers to exercise caution. According to the CDC Website, symptoms include diarrhea, abnormal abdominal cramps, or fever that have lasted more than four to seven days. Salmonella most commonly affects infants, the elderly, or those with impaired immune systems. Visit the CDC’s website for more information.


www.cdc.gov/salmonella




No Sympathy for H1N1
* Image from Google Images