This week’s message focuses on stepping up the work of the Food and Drug Administration. President Obama made two appointments this week: Dr. Margaret Hamburg as Commissioner of the FDA; and Dr. Joshua Sharstein as the Principal Deputy Commissioner (overseeing drug safety). In addition there will be a Food Safety Working Group.
Let’s just say I wasn’t too happy about the peanut butter scare as peanuts are one of my favorite foods. I put peanuts in my entrees. Eat them without the salt. Trader Joe’s was the only store I noticed still stocking peanuts and peanut butter on their shelves during the scare. Trader Joe’s must have higher standards for their products and food venders than others. I bought their peanuts and peanut butter. I ate it. I’m still here. I do think some of the energy bars bit the dust.
“Food fright” is becoming an American past time. My friend Marsha Weiner, who programs food film festivals, talks about how many of the food films from the US are documentaries emphasizing what’s wrong with our food, what’s wrong with how we use food, and how we consume food; very few focus on how food is enjoyed and savored. Perhaps based on the FDA’s practices in the past, maybe they had just cause to go negative on food. Thank goodness for feature films like “Big Night.” And the Food Network has made cooking a new sport.
I believe food safety should not just be a matter of standard and basic practice but respect and responsibility, so we can get back to eating (without fear) not just for health, but for food’s flavor and the community it brings.