Yesterday a friend invited me to the Steamhouse Lounge Oysterfest here in Atlanta in February. Although my grandfather was a seafood merchant, scouting out the best seafood up and down the east coast and venturing over to Houma, LA for oysters, I’ve never eaten an oyster. Here’s what I know though – they are slippery little things that are loaded with copper. In graduate school I had to design a perfect diet for three days that met all nutrient needs (all vitamins and minerals as well as carbohydrates, protein and fat for the calorie level assigned to us). The catch? No meat. Let me tell you how hard that was. After almost finishing my project, I realized I fell short on copper. Beef is loaded with copper yet I couldn’t include it. The next best food? You guessed it, oysters. We need 900 micrograms of copper per day. Mushrooms, tomato paste, semisweet chocolate and soybeans all contain copper as well. This mineral is needed in to help us make hemoglobin, it is a component of many body enzymes, it helps your body produce energy and helps our body make connective tissue. Given the fact that I can’t a cup of semisweet chocolate everyday to meet my copper needs, it looks like I may have to venture out and give oysters a shot this year!
There are plenty of things to be concerned about in the world today but the safety of our food shouldn’t be one of them. The latest food safety scare is once again salmonella, a group of bacteria that can pass from the feces of people or animals to other people or animals. So how did it get in our peanut butter? The FDA, CDC and state agencies are searching for clues to answer that very question.
The source of the outbreak has been traced to a Georgia plant owned by Peanut Corporation of America – a company that manufactures peanut butter and peanut paste. As noted by the FDA, a variety of different products could be contaminated including cakes, cookies, crackers, candies, cereal and pre-packaged shelf-stable peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
While the FDA and various food companies are working hard to get these products off store shelves, take a look in your cabinet to see if you have anything that should be tossed (keep the bar code and contact the company – you can probably get your money back). For more information on questionable products, check the FDA website: http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/salmonellatyph.html
And, if you think you may be feeling a bit under the weather but you aren’t sure why and wonder if you have been infected with salmonella, check the CDC website for more information about this bacteria: http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/dfbmd/disease_listing/salmonellosis_gi.html