How safe is your food? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

How safe is your food?

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February 20, 2007

Albany--  How safe is your food? That's a question many of you are asking these days. Over the weekend, two recalls were announced for cantaloupe and chicken strips. Before that, it was the peanut butter salmonella scare centered in south Georgia.  

Some South Georgians are becoming frightened of food. Going to the grocery store has caused growing concern.

"I'm very concerned about food since there's been so many recalls," said shopper Mamie Phillips.

Some customers are almost afraid to shop these days. Amanda Grizzard says she has to think twice. "It makes you nervous especially here lately with all the recalls and everything. It's about like you can't eat anything," said Grizzard.

Several recalls have surfaced in the past several months on everything from green onions to brown peanut butter. "I think it's something that's always gone on but I think it's just brought to light more so now than ever before," said Tommy McDowell.

Tommy Mc's Owner Tommy McDowell says that's the nature of the business.  It's a business he's spent about 25 years in. He says there's only so much that can be controlled from the store's end.

"I guess it's something the whole country lives with and you just deal with it as it happens," said McDowell. But once the items are in his store, McDowell does everything in his power to make sure shoppers get the safest food for their dollar.

"We rotate everything. We disinfect, keep our eyes on everything best we can and if I hear a scare or something I check it out and see if we have to pull a product," said McDowell.

Those safety precautions apply to everything from fresh fruit to frozen items, even on Sundays. "We're not open on Sunday and I come in every Sunday to check my equipment to make sure all my coolers and freezers are running properly," said McDowell.

Southwest Georgia health officials say although there is concern, consumers shouldn't worry too much. "These such things are such rare occurrences that the chances of something like this happening are very slim," said Southwest Georgia Health District Director Dr. Jacqueline Grant.

Although things have happened, some shoppers have found comfort in knowing that those dangerous items have been pulled from store shelves and warnings issued. "They're watching out for our health and protection. Maybe somebody's on the job," said shopper Willie Mack.

Others have now become their own food watch guards. "I tend to be more cautious as far as reading the products and of course I read the labels and everything," said Phillips.

"Everything makes you sick so it's kind of scary to give your little 3-year-old food," said Grizzard.

It may take some time to build up consumer confidence after being frightened by food.

Of course there are things that you can do to protect yourself and your family.  You should always look at expiration dates on things you buy and make sure any produce you bring home is washed thoroughly to get rid of any bacteria. When a recall is announced, stores generally pull the items from shelves immediately and will offer full refunds.

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