Attack of the killer tomatoes

Published 3:41 pm Wednesday, June 18, 2008

No one knows the horror that these creatures have reeked upon our country. The victims were innocent. Their tortured bodies suffered terribly and one soul did not make it. Millions of these fiends are out there in a grocery store near you, right there in the produce aisle at the Winn Dixie. They are killer tomatoes.

Not long ago, it was killer spinach, killer green onions, killer beef, and so on and so on.

Besides the small number of 200 sickened tomato eaters, I feel sorry for the farmers who had to yank millions of their hard earned products off the shelves. Does one bad tomato spoil the whole bunch? Is it fair?

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How many billions of tomatoes are out there safe to eat? Couldn’t we just wash or cook the produce and go on? Did we have to have a national scare? Must we be terrorized again by tomatoes?

With all the starving folks in the world due to the high cost of food, I bet sending them the ‘possibly’ tainted tomatoes for consumption would not hurt their feelings. They would not worry about tomato roulette. After all, 850 million people, which include 300 million children, are starving today. The scary part is that out of the last six years, the world has only managed to produce enough food for one of those years. And it’s not showing signs of improvement.

Should we expect perfection in our food supply? Remember the spinach scare was about a pig pooping somewhere on a spinach leaf. How random is this?

If you garden yourself, how sure are you that a bunny hasn’t fertilized your squash? Yet we do not worry about stuff that comes from the safety and security of our home.

Just like cooking from your own home. How safe is that? Has an inspector visited your house to make sure you are sanitary? Do you have a sink for the produce? Do you wash hands between touching the chicken and the lettuce?

We worry about tainted tomatoes, restaurant poisoning, but what about that kitchen of yours? It’s like toilets. We think ours at home is germless, or at least the germs are our own and they can’t hurt us.

Who and what is making us sick? I would be worried about the hand cleanliness of the person cutting the tomatoes more than the tomatoes. Years ago I read a study which revealed that even physicians were neglectful of washing their hands after a visit to the restroom.

Recently researchers found that 90 percent of women washed their hands while only 75 percent of men washed theirs. In Atlanta, 26 percent walked away without washing their hands, New York had only 22 percent non washers. This means out of a thousand people, over two hundred walk away with dirty hands.

Hand washing is so important. It literally can save your life. It is the most effective means to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses.

We are all clenching in fear over tomatoes while lemon wedges are poisoning us.

That lemon wedge in your sweet tea could take you out. It is spiking your drink with germs. A study by a Jersey microbiologist found two-thirds of the lemons tested from 21 restaurants was infested with loads of gross bacteria. But, they are lemon scented germs! Don’t shove your lemon in your drink anymore, just squeeze the juice and discard. Then wash your hands.

I have never been a germ-o-phobe person. Yet, I am raising one. Cade constantly is on his twin brother to wash his hands. Then reports to me (tattles) that Conner didn’t wash his hands after he went to the bathroom. He doesn’t want to touch his teen brother since I told him Luke was germy (to keep them from bothering him in his room).

But now, it’s getting to advanced stages. He wants me to change out the faucets in the bathroom. Why? Because he noted that your hands are dirty when you turn the water on, you wash your hands and then with clean hands you turn the same knob to turn the water off. This results in dirty hands again. Right?

Great. I never thought about it. I still go with the five second rule on dropped food. How can I wrap my brain around extreme hand washing?

The problem with the food supply is that we will always have something on the market that has issues. We can not rid ourselves of these problems completely. If you live in fear or need to be informed, you can sign up at the FDA website and get email alerts to start your panic from day one or the first sickened person.

I think the FDA should get to the root of the problem that is killing a majority of Americans. They should warn us every day of the dangers of doughnuts, sausage biscuits, chilly cheese fries and potato chips. That Krispy Kreme has killed more folks than a tomato ever did!

Beware of buffets that allow mayonnaise dishes to sit there.

Beware of church pot luck suppers where little old ladies who may not be all there anymore make a stuffed ham that kills off a few members and sickens around fifty others. It happened. There was a period of time when we would not eat my grandmother’s food, too much mystery involved. We all are afraid of the unknown.

Sometimes the food supply is tainted with mad cows. I know people who did not eat cow for several months after the last discovery. I never missed a beat eating my beef dishes. It’s all in how you view your choices. I refuse to live in fear of food. I believe the majority of it is safe, just like flying, is safe, but sometimes the plane goes down.

We all can look over our shoulder and be frightened by every food alert, refuse to fly, wash our hands every ten minutes and live a long life.

Or, we can just live without worry. Eat, drink and be merry!