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The CDC expands Romaine recall

13 May

The  current Romaine lettuce recall  was expanded to include the state of Tennessee as the state confirms several cases of E.Coli exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Michigan, Ohio, New York and Tennessee have a combined total of 23 confirmed cases of E.Coli. Another seven persons are listed as having probable exposure to the bacteria. Most of those affected are between the ages of 13 and 31 years of age. The recall includes lettuce sold to food service distributors and does not include lettuce sold on retail outlets.

Romaine Lettuce Recall

8 May

Ohio-based Freshway Foods issued a recall of romaine lettuce Thursday because of possible E-Coli contamination, according to a FDA.gov press release.

The lettuce, packaged under the brands Freshway and Imperial Sysco was distributed to wholesalers in the following states: Alabama, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.  The lettuce was also sold to Kroger, Giant Eagle, Ingles Markets, and Marsh for use in their in-store deli counters and salad bars.

The lettuce was not sold in retail pre-packaged bags or salad mixes and isn’t affected by the recall.  E-Coli is commonly found in the lower intestinal tract of warm-blooded animals and the organism is commonly an indicator of fecal contamination.

For more information, visit http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm211131.htm

Recall of Health Valley Bars announced

23 Feb

The Georgia Agricultural Board announced a recall of several varieties of Health Valley Organic granola bars for possible salmonella contamination.

According to the Atlantic Journal-Constitution (http://www.ajc.com/news), Health Valley Organic Wildberry Chewy, Peanut Crunch and Dutch Apple bars may have possible salmonella exposure from soy grits used in the bars.

No press release has been issued by the makers of the bars at this time.

For SKU and Lot numbers go here

You get what you pay for

6 Jan

Today, I noticed a pattern of sorts.

People are going all crazy all of a sudden over the alleged poor service at McDonald’s. First, there is the Toledo woman who went all bonkers when she couldn’t get her McNuggets and proceeded to punch out the drive-through window.  I was lying in bed when I heard this one and just chucked to myself. I thought, “What is going on in this woman’s life that she is seriously enraged over some flippety-flappety chicken nuggets?”

Then, this little tidbit flashed over the tee-vee screen as I watched the news about the mayor of my town ( Google Sheila Dixon). Well kids, some woman was so upset about the quality of her burger that she asked for a refund.The store denied her request, but offered her another burger instead.

Then the crap hit the fan. Yikes! Well, you get what you pay for.  I stopped eating fast food years ago, not because of a bad experience with service or anything, I simply believe that the overall quality of their food has declined over the years.

Let me explain; I’m a kid of the 70s, and I remember a time when going to get a burger at Mickey D’s or Geno’s was the ultimate for an eight or nine-year-old

Home of KFC and the Gino Giant

The food wasn’t mass-produced ad infinitum, and was always hot when you ordered it. It was a regular Friday night treat when my beleaguered mom gave the cooking reigns over to the burger chains of the day.

Not so now.  In my opinion, EVERY fast-food chain has slid down the tube of mediocrity. Yes the food is convenient, but over the years has lost its appeal for me. My experience has been the food is rarely hot these days (my roomie brought home some double-decker burgers from a global chain located six blocks from my house and they were cold when I opened them), and the taste faintly told me that the only time the sandwich buns encasing the “two patties” was exposed to any actual flesh was when I picked up the sandwich with my own two hands. Millions and Millions served doesn’t mean they all walked away happy.

I decided that if I wanted to eat a burger out, I would go to an ala-carte restaurant. This meant that I would get what I paid for.

When you only pay a nominal fee for a chee-burger or nuggets, then you shouldn’t expect much. Maybe these women should take that into consideration. If you want better service and a better product, you must be ready to pay for it. You can’t expect much from such mass-production of comestibles.

Vintage drive-up McDonald's

Boy, I wish I could turn back time.

CC

Gino’s photo courtesy of http://ginoshamburgers.homestead.com

Vintage McDonald’s photo courtesy of http://www.legendsofamerica.com

Atlantic Rockfish and Bluefish Advisory

9 Jun

If you are a fan of rockfish or bluefish ( as I am), then you will be dissapointed and alarmed at the lastest in a string of food contamination news that is prevalent in our pollution-riddled society.

The Maryland Department of the Environment said in a June 3 press released a consumption advisory for striped bass and bluefish caught off the coast  of Maryland and other mid-Atlantic states. MDE said these fish contain harmful PCB levels, and should not be consumed by sensitive populations (pregnant women, children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems), and the general populus should limit their consumption of rockfish to one serving a month. Consumers of bluefish should limit their consumption to one serving every other month.

The striped bass, or rockfish

The striped bass, or rockfish

This is the eponymous rockfish, the stuff that dreams are made of. Sturdy enough to take a topping of crab imperial, and flavorful and tender enough to stand on its own pan seared or broiled with lemon, garlic, salt, pepper and a bit of white wine.

photo courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce

photo courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce

This is bluefish. This fish is graduate-level fish eating. If you are scared of bones, don’t eat bluefish. It also has a meaty texture and a very assertive flavor (also not for everyone). This oily fish is best prepared baked, although I’ve eated it fried as a kid and it was really good, but heavy.

I swear, one day I’m going to rant about how we need to really take care of our food supply

Surprise! Yet another food advisory ( alfalfa sprouts)

28 Apr

This is the reason why I have a permanent tag for salmonella :

According to U.S. News and World Report, the government has issued an advisory for alfalfa sprouts.  The culprit: Salmonella. The government is warning cionssumers to refrain from eating any alfalfa sprouts, or products containing alfalfa sprouts. Go to fda.gov  to read the associated press release.

In the case of Domino’s Pizza: A commentary

20 Apr

It’s that time of year again, folks.

I find that I have to have “the talk” with my friends every time this happens. In case you were out of the country, two “employees” of Domino’s Pizza committed the crime of food tampering, and posted a video on YouTube.

I won’t post the video because it is too disgusting.

Suffice it  to say, executives at Domino’s  acted swiftly to quash the problem. They fired both employees and pressed charges against them. The president of the company,  Patrick Doyle  released a video on YouTube offering his apologies, and asked for the public’s understanding. The company also opened up a Twitter account so the public can follow any updates concerning this case.

As a public relations student,  I believe the company is on the right track. But, they have a long road ahead of them.  The two individuals involved in this case not only did damage to the individual store and its owner, but did damage to the entire franchise at a time when the public’s view of corporations are shaky at best.

These two people violated a social contract– we patronize your company, and in turn, you provide us with a good or a service that is free from defects.  It is an understood trust that is vital for any business to succeed.  Without it,  business cannot be conducted, and the retailer-customer relationship breaks down.

I believe that more can be done to get Domino’s through this. One is to keep open the lines of communications with the public. Another is to reiterate the company’s sanitation policies. Lastly, raise the rates of hourly employees and hire older workers. Theses steps may work, but they won’t work if the people they hire lack  pride in a job well done, and a sense of responsibility to the public.

Unfortunately, that is something we seem to see less and less of these days. These people were both over the age of 25, so you would think they would know better.  These two showed such a contempt for their customers, that it shocked even an old pro like me.  I’ve never seen anything like it. Apathy and lack of respect is something no corporation can fix. It has to come from within.

I don’t know why this behavior is pervasive in fast-food establishments. The public has a right to be wary; after all, if you continue to hear and see reports of how individuals bathe in sinks designed for cleaning pots, or people farting on sandwiches, you’d be suspect of any carry-out. I think that this is a sign of a growing lack of respect and common decency for that we now have for one another.  The act of tampering with someone’s food is glorified in the movies and in the practical-joke shows that is considered entertainment these days. The yahoos that perpetrated this crime seemed oblivious to the ramifications of their youthful hi-jinks.  We’ve also lost a sense of empathy, how else can you explain the actions of those persons in the spotlight for committing these actions. It’s almost like they forgot how they would feel if the same crime had been committed against them.

This is something that Domino’s cannot fix. This is a societal ill that can only be cured by example. Unfortunately, the owner of that particular Domino’s may learn this by the loss of his business. It’ s a shame, too.  Will I still eat Domino’s pizza? Yes. Did I eat Wendy’s chili after the whole finger incident? Yes.  Why? Call it sympathy. I know there are thousands of people who make an honest living at these places. People who support their families by making pizza and wings for us.

So if you are on the fence about eating at Domino’s, don’t be. Go back when you are ready, but go back. You’ll save someone’s job.  If you have friends that think this kind of crap is funny,  correct them. It’s not funny. In this economy, we all need to work.  Don’t penalize the pizza guy because some bumpkins thought it would be funny to play with someone’s food.  Give the smackdown on those who perpetrate these acts.

**Note: I’ve never worked for Domino’s Pizza. As a matter of fact, when I applied for a job there, they wouldn’t hire me ( wrong kind of experience).