Our Opinion: Food industry still relatively safe for all

Published 7:49 am Wednesday, February 21, 2007

By Staff
Last week's recall of two brands of peanut butter has caused fear in vegetarians and moms across the nation. That fear is similar to a fear put into the hearts and minds of Americans after reading a fact-filled book by Upton Sinclair.
In 1906, Sinclair published a book called &#8220The Jungle.” The book became an instant best seller as he told of dead rats being shoveled into sausage-grinding machines in the Chicago stockyards. He told how inspectors were bribed to turn away as diseased cows were slaughtered for beef and how filth and entrails were gathered from the floor and packed as potted meat.
It only took a few months for the public to demand reforms in the meat packing industry.
Even President Theodore Roosevelt was ill after reading his copy and immediately called on Congress to pass a law establishing the Food and Drug Administration. That act called for federal inspection standards to be implemented and the Pure Food Act was born.
Although the salmonella found in Peter Pan and the Wal-Mart Great Value brands of peanut butter was frightening, realistically the industry remains very safe, experts say.
Considering the amount of peanut butter that is involved in this recall, a great deal of the sticky, sweet substance must be sold throughout the United States and around the world.
When carefully considered, the number of people who have actually fallen ill because of the problem is not too bad - unless, of course, you were one of those who became ill after consuming the product.
The company made the recall voluntarily, which provides evidence they are being conscientious in their service to the public.
We urge consumers of all products to be aware of news and information being provided daily by producers of foods, clothes, furniture and more, concerning safety and health issues.
We applaud ConAgra Foods for making the voluntary recall. We further applaud Upton Sinclair for making government sick enough to put a watchful eye on companies like ConAgra.

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