It’s all in the butter.

The recent salmonella outbreak has now supposedly been traced to King Nut peanut butter, which evidently is not responsible for any of the ingredients it usued to produce its butter and other products.  In addition, none of its products are sold directly to consumers – the King Nut brand is only available through food service.  So if you’ve had restaurant or cafeteria peanut butter recently, you might be at risk, but store-bought Skippy is still basically reliable (thank you, Annette Funicello).

I am also eager to report that Massachussetts ranked in the top five for number of reported cases, along with California, Ohio, Michigan, and the surprise salmonella guest, Minnesota, which reported 30 cases.  As for the 8 states that are supposedly salmonella-free, I am happy to say that, as anticipated, Alaska and Hawaii and Montana are all on the list.  Also making the cut are New Mexico, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Florida.

Advertisements

Avoiding the dreaded ‘popcorn lung’.

I had no idea, but evidently microwaves can do more than just turning your Styrofoam toxic or enlarging Peeps (the only good Peep is a dead Peep).  There is at least one consumer case now of microwave popcorn fume inhalation which may have caused lung disease.  of course, the conclusion is uncertain, but so far there is no other explanation other than diacetyl.  If you work in a popcorn factory, the risk might be higher than you want.  For the rest of you popcorn lovers?  I’d say you can still eat your popcorn – just don’t inhale.  Or it might be a good time to convert to air pop…

Thanks, Josue, for the tip (via Green Steam).

The Organic question.

Evidently there’s a study that was recently published that shows that organic foods are not more nutritionally valuable than foods grown by other methods.  I haven’t seen the study, so if you’re researching this area and would like to give a ltitle background, be my guest.  However, the idea that organic food is supposed to contain higher trace elements of nutrients we all need was new to me, as was the idea that I was supposed to be buying organic strictly to limit my impact on the environment.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m aware of the environmental impact of the manufacturing process and runoff implications of commercial pesticides and fertilizers.  I do think we should try and limit that impact.  But even if we were to stop using both immediately (an objective that isn’t currently realistic), some of the damage has been done.  There are already chemicals in our water supply that we don’t really want there, and I’m not sure how much impact a cease and desist would have.  But that’s never been the point of organic foods to me.

The point, in fact, is that I’d prefer to have as few of those commercial fertilizers and pesticides in my own body as possible.  Sure, I don’t really relish the idea of eating ‘night soil’ (to put it politely).  But there is a difference between eating something covered in waste products that, as far as I know, didn’t poison the living thing they passed through and eating something covered in poisons or chemical growth-promoters.  And that’s been the point of organics for me.  Sure, you may find a worm or two in your apple, but it seems better to find a live worm than to notice the half-bite a worm took out before it keeled over.

There may be other arguements as far as taste, buying locally, and helping those who farm with the most traditional methods of all, but really, I would only be motivated to buy organic out of pure self-interest.  I’ve had plenty of opportunities to wash the dirt off my lettuce, but there are other things that are not so easy to wash off.

Will Gnomies never cease?

I was surprised to note that during my recent illness and weekend time-away-from-blog, someone found my page by googling ‘hanging with my gnomies’.  I guess the phrase is becoming ever more popular, as we’re all suckers for corny jokes.  Is that a function of age?  I can remember my dad boring and annoying me consistently with his corny puns, but now that I’m almost out of my 20’s (ack! adulthood looms!), he’s occasionally funny.  Is this an early form of dementia?  Will I someday find even Airplane! (the only movie I ever had to stop watching out of boredom) entertaining?

Some people say that Frank L. Baum’s Nome King was based on the idea of gnomes.  I don’t understand how.   They’re both tricky?  I mean, isn’t it dwarves who work with precious metals and gems usually, rather than gnomes?  Don’t gnomes just steal?  And since when do garde-variety gnomes look like rocks or fear chickens?  Eggs as poison, indeed!  I mean, I’m all for fantasy, but it gets a little ridiculous when your theories try to cross about 5 different fantasy worlds.