For the last few weeks it’s tomatos, those wonderful fruits. Over 300 cases of salmonella poisoning from eating tomatoes (maybe) were reported all over the U.S., a country of 300 million people.
Were you afraid to eat a tomato? You do the math of your odds of getting sick from eating one (hint: odds similiar to you winning the lottery). So naturally, we removed all tomatoes from market shelves all over the country and restaurants stopped serving tomatoes on burgers and in your salad.
No matter that nobody died, and probably AT LEAST 50,000 cases of food poisoning occur every DAY from an assortment of bacteria in your food. Maybe you ate a bad oyster or clam, the food server in the restaurant didn’t wash his hands, you ate a chicken sandwich that sat out at room temperature for a few hours, an ecoli burger, etc. So you spend the whole night not sleeping, but barfing and having diarrhea and the next day you feel awful. You don’t report to some doctor because if you have any brains you know what happened and you know you will be fine the day after tomorrow.
To top it off, on June 17 the FDA said all those junked tomatoes would have been safe to eat after all!! The only food scare more stupid than this latest one is the mad cow scare in the U.S. a few years ago. ONE, count em, one cow was discovered to have mad cow disease in Washington state. Nobody would eat beef and it was a DAIRY cow, not even slated to enter the food supply.
Because of that one sick cow, Japan and South Korea stopped importing all U.S. beef. Of course, the whole mad cow thing started in Europe in the 1980′s. It was hypothesized, and it is still just a hypothesis, that eating mad cow meat could cause Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in human meat eaters, maybe perhaps.
For more than a decade, 60 million meat eaters in Great Britain had been eating mad cow meat without knowing it. The result? Around 300 people got that disease, maybe from the meat but maybe not, and the whole British beef industry was destroyed (Germany too). I’ll let you do the math on that as well as the tomatoes! I invite comments, especially from readers who might have more good examples of how easily the public can be fooled and terrified by the scare du hour, du week, du month, du year.