I don't consider myself a terribly cautious person when it comes to food. Sure, I've been known to throw out a few dairy products after their expiration date, and I'm good about avoiding specific things when pregnant - but I'm not the type to normally shy away from certain foods for fear of getting sick. Imagine my surprise, then, at my (very emotional) response to the whole peanut butter/salmonella fiasco: I've refused to crack open my new jar of Jif since the news broke. Yes, yes, I know that major peanut butter brands are supposed to be okay (the Mommy Files reassured me of this just yesterday), but I still can't bring myself to make a PB&J for myself or my 2-year-old. And I guess I'm not the only one: recent reports say that peanut butter sales are down by a whopping 25 percent.
Might other foods be impacted, as well? An AP report says that because so many foods contain hidden peanuts and peanut products, even unlikely sounding products such as chili sauce or meat marinades could be found to be contaminated. Although this sounds scary (and is enough to make me cancel taco night at my house), Vivian Saper, MD, an associate professor of allergy and immunology at Stanford, is here to provide a silver lining. She tells the AP it's not a bad thing if this gets people (like me!) to think more carefully about what we consume:
If any good can come out of the salmonella scare, it might be an increased awareness of what is in our food and the dangers those ingredients can pose to some people, Saper says. "Welcome to the world of the poor individuals who have peanut allergies," she says. "This is an inside look at the fear that patients and their families go through.