2.12.2009

Saying Goodbye to Peanut Butter

Until yesterday, I ignored all the media hype and government warnings about contaminated peanut products. I am a longtime, rather obsessed consumer of peanut butter and peanut butter products. Ask anyone who has eaten lunch with me during the past 5 years and they will attest that I eat a PB & Jelly/Honey sandwich for lunch almost everyday. That sandwich is usually followed by at least one peanut butter granola bar towards the end of the day as a desert.

I attended a hearing on the PB-salmonella outbreak yesterday. Listening to the testimony of the families who lost their loved ones got to me. I don't think I've ever been so moved at a hearing. A woman who fought two bouts of cancer, lost her life because of peanut butter. A veteran, who managed to survive the Korean War, lost his life due to consuming contaminated peanut butter. A little boy who got sick and whose own doctor recommended contaminated peanut crackers. Unknowingly, he prescribed the parents to give their little boy the one thing that was making him sick.

I, too, got sick from consuming half of a peanut butter Clif Bar. I thought I was feeling nauseous and uncomfortable because of all of the stress of the day. But, it was probably salmonella as I later found out that certain Clif Bars were put on the FDA list. Thankfully, my sickness from eating the bar was limited because I didn't eat all of it—I started feeling sick almost immediately. That was nothing like the 3-plus days of agony after a work retreat a few years ago. Several people at work got sick.

I decided to limit my peanut butter consumption. At least for now. I only consume organic peanut butter but I don't know if I can trust the FDA inspection system or the everyday business folks (like Parnell!) who make the products I consume. I want to avoid becoming a victim of a serious salmonella illness in the future.

But then, just about everything I consume (and come into contact with) presents a threat. Maybe I should just stop leaving my room altogether and only eat food that I grown hydroponically and drink water that has been filtered 1,000 times. Maybe I should live in a room with only sanitized metal surfaces that don't off-gas anything lethal.

Seriously, my only concern is that I don't know with what to replace my PB sandwich. Are there other quick, cheap, and satisfying vegetarian items that I can eat in its place? Nothing comes to mind.

7 comments:

Gilahi said...

I'm a big hummus fan, myself. Not sweet, but a similar texture, anyway. Makes a great sandwich, a good dip, and comes in dozens of flavors.

Shawn said...

almond butter? soy nut butter?

Hippo Q. said...

I'll have to think about a hummus sandwich. It sounds weird...

As for soy nut butter and almond butter, I'll have to check if those are priced comparably. I've seen almond butter in the stores but it is usually a few more dollars more than the store-brand organic peanut butter I buy.

Update: Umm...I packed a PB&honey sandwich today and I just finished eating a peanut butter granola bar. I am addicted, I think. I really don't have any lunch/snack alternatives in my kitchen or my desk drawer that are just as satisfying.

I know, excuses, excuses. I promise to stock up on alternatives this weekend.

Rob said...

Organic Peanut butter is HORRIBLE, it is greasy and the texture is off, I refuse to let it ever darken my door again.

One thing about honey is that it is an antibacterial agent, so it might make your peanut butter safe if you mix it together.

Probably not though.

Anonymous said...

nutella

Anonymous said...

Skip the sandwich, go for oatmeal: with walnuts, dried fruit, soy milk... so many options!

Organica said...

I don't worry about Salmonella. It's so common - we've all ingested small amounts over the years. A strong immune system can handle a small amount of salmonella, no problem. You might get a stomach ache if you ingest a lot of it, but you're not at risk of dying. So I say, keep eating peanut butter! (But keep it in the fridge.) And eat lots of brightly-colored veggies to boost your immune system. And eat a little bit of dirt now and then (nature's vaccine!) ;)