Recall Culture

I read an article the other day announcing that a major grocery store chain would be implementing a new program in their stores. The reason for this program was to gather contact information from customers so the store could contact customers with any recall notices. I’m not sure what I think about this program. In a way it is good because it may save people from getting sick, but, then part of me wonders why the store doesn’t just source better products. It’s disheartening to think that our food products may be so at risk for contamination that we should need to enroll in a program for our safety.

I’d like to think if a grocery store gets a product from a company with a history of producing contaminated foods, the grocery store will stop doing business that company and not carry their products anymore. This seems more economical to me than spending a significant amount of money to institute a recall notification program. Then, I think about how much of our food comes from a few large conglomerates. For instance, a large corporation may own various meats, chips, cheeses, toilet papers, cleaning supplies and many other products- all advertised under different brands, but really owned by and sold/marketed by the same parent company. No wonder a grocery store would rather institute a recall notification program. It is cheaper than pulling all those products owned by one large corporation.

I’m frustrated at the general lack of quality existing in our current marketplace- not just in the grocery business. Our daughter’s crib was recalled a little while ago. It was a hassle to contact the company, get the new part, install the part, and so on. We had friends who were so frustrated by the recall, they just took their crib back and got a different one- just so the company would lose money. I admire them. I’m too lazy for all that work- taking the crib down and putting a new one together makes me tired just thinking about it. Then there was the Tylenol recall. Again, we had a faulty product and the process starts all over again. This time I had to travel to two different stores just to find a comparable product that had not been recalled- this is in addition to contacting the company at fault for reimbursement/replacement. Then, there is the worry that comes from knowing I’ve given my daughter a product that has been pulled from the market for safety reasons. I’m beginning to feel like it is a part-time job just making sure that the products we use in our home haven’t been recalled.

I’m thankful that we are still holding strong to our decision to not eat commercially processed foods in our home. I’m also thankful that we know exactly where our meat comes from (a farm thirty minutes away), as well as most of the other foods we consume too. Not that this entirely prevents us from getting food borne illnesses and such, as I’m sure that even small, local farms may have issues at times. However, I know I can trust the people I get my food from. I’ve met them. I talk to them on a weekly basis. I know they are eating the food they sell, and if there is ever an issue with any of their food, they will most likely go out of business. They don’t have a huge team of lawyers to defend them should something go awry- that in and of itself is a significant reason for them to produce a quality product for their customers.

I’m also thankful that we are slowly, but surely learning how to be more self-sufficient so we don’t consume as many things from the mainstream marketplace. We think the more we do/make ourselves, the better quality we can ensure for our family and our home.

Ryan told me today about a woman he saw at the grocery store today. He said she was obviously a working mom. She had a few kids with her and they were asking for fried chicken. They eagerly pulled out a box of processed fried chicken from the frozen foods section. It would have made for an easy, quick family dinner. But, the woman took the box, flipped it over and told her kids to come look. She showed them the ingredients section and started reading them aloud to her kids. She asked, “what is (insert weird chemical name)?”. They said they didn’t know. She replied, “Then we don’t need it in our body.” She went on to tell them that they could have fried chicken, but they were going to buy the chicken and do it themselves. How simply she summarized why we should be eating more real food and less processed food. The more we can control what goes into and is around our bodies and homes, the less chance we have of suffering in the short-term with recalls and in the long-term from potential negative effects of chemicals that exist in many of our foods, cleaning products, and personal care products.


3 thoughts on “Recall Culture

  1. Nicole Swinton says:

    I share your frustration, Grace, with the lack of safety and regulation on the part of food manufacturers, distributors and even groups like the FDA. Food contamination, and subsequent recalls, has become a regular occurrence. Just the other day, I heard one of the daily food-paranoia news stories that now even bottled water is dangerous to drink! We have not had any scares at our house and I believe it’s due to the fact that most of the recalls have been on highly processed products, which we avoid bringing into our home in the first place. We also try to pay close attention to the ingredient labels and the source of the foods we buy.

    The threat does not end with food. The very products that we use to prepare food and the surfaces and materials we are surrounded by contain heavy metals such as lead and toxic chemicals like formaldehyde. These dangerous substances find their way into our homes and cars through plastics, paint, treated wood, textiles, etc. A family member of ours suspects that the building materials of the old apartment their first 2 sons were born into was the cause of both boys developing autism. They have since moved and had 2 more healthy, non-autistic sons.

    In reality, no matter how much effort we put into protecting our families from unsafe commercially manufactured products, we are living in a fallen world and cursed earth. Contaminates are present in the very air, water and soil we depend on. A woman I know believes she has breast cancer due to living next to the town dump and being exposed to the surrounding ground and water for nearly 20 years. I know of a little girl that suffered from lead poisoning for 5 years before the family found out through a soil test that their entire yard had dangerously high lead levels. Another family we know is being forced to abandon their home because their 2 wells are permanently contaminated with E. coli.

    This all sounds so dreary! But God will give us the wisdom and resources we need to be good stewards of His provisions and to do what is best for our families. It reminds me of the scripture we recently discussed at our women’s group: “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ …For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” God is looking out for us!

    • Grace says:

      Agreed! I find comfort in Proverbs 21:31, “The horse is prepared against the day of battle, but safety is of the Lord.” Ultimately, our safety is in the hands of the Lord. However, I do think we should make responsible decisions and the Lord does give discretion (and direction). As Gloria said several weeks ago now, “It’s learning to balance!”. In this case, it’s a balance of trusting the Lord, while making choices about how to best take care of one’s self and family. I think, like anything, we can go insane trying to prevent ourselves from consuming or being around unsafe products- in a way, it can become a god and then we are certainly not trusting the Lord to take care of us. Yet, I believe the Lord wants us to make wise choices (look at the book of Proverbs for instance). Another one of my favorite verses lately is Proverbs 14:15, “The naive (or simple) believeth every word: but the prudent man considers carefully his going.” I love the word “consider” because it means to think carefully or to examine (Encarta World Dictionary)- it does not mean obsess over our choices, rather to think about things carefully- to examine our options before we make decisions and then leave it in the Lord’s very capable hands.

  2. taighbeag says:

    I got a little flack for drinking the raw milk that (possibly) caused the food poisoning I had during my 2nd trimester. However, the milk I sent in for testing came back negative for the bacteria. Anyhow, people look at me like I’m crazy for drinking raw milk yet they consume out of season peaches from some unregulated country that uses unregulated human waste as fertilizer. Or they buy a frozen pizza with more chemicals in it than my household cleaner shelf.

    Great post, dear friend!

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