Friday, March 5, 2010

FDA Kudos & Organics?

I know I have been ranting about the effectiveness of the FDA for some time, but to be fair, they have managed to contain a contaminated product before a spread of Salmonella Tennessee in hydrolyzed vegetable protein, also called HVP. It is noted however that an independent consumer tested the product and reported it to the FDA. I suppose I could make the argument here for less regulation and more capitalism (which I favor in general), but I won’t in the case of the FDA. The credit due to the FDA is that they identified the affected product very quickly and issued recalls. In the past events of outbreaks, they have been slow to identify the source and contaminated products, but not this time. They actually got out in front, which is what I would expect from this organization. The current bill in the House will allow for more spending to bolster the FDA is something I have been supporting since it was proposed.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest said the recall is "yet more proof that the Food and Drug Administration needs more authority, more inspectors and more resources to ensure that our food supply is safe." Read the article from CNN>

Now that the FDA and capitalism have received their Kudos, I would like to point out a particular product on the recall list identified as organic. Let me first preface this from a quote by the FDA regarding this outbreak, “HVP is used in processed foods, including soups, sauces, chilis, stews, hot dogs, gravy, seasoned snack foods and dressings.” If we were to focus on two things here, it would be that HVP is itself a processed ingredient and that it is used in processed foods. Follow Your Heart and Trader Joe’s brands of organic salad dressings are on the recall list and I wonder how they can truly advertise this as organic with HVP present.

Those who know me understand that I am for the idea of organic food supply chains, but also realize that I am a pragmatist when it comes to what is considered organic and safe. We in the food industry understand the elements of organics, but I am concerned that the average consumer does not. HVP is a form of trans-fat and is considered to be unhealthy for ones heart. The fact that the company label is named Follow Your Heart, which implies good for your heart and that the product is labeled organic with a processed substance should be a wake-up call to those consumers to question the validity of many organic products. Don't believe me? Read the product description... We do in the restaurant business question the validity all the time and what we find is the reason we all do not universally support buying and serving organic products. Buyer beware…


No comments:

Post a Comment