Are Raw Foods Really Risky?

eggs in basket

"The theme for the 20th Australian Food Safety Week, from 6 to 12 November 2016, is ‘Raw and risky’ foods following (to quote FSIC Aust) "major food poisoning outbreaks in recent years linked to risky raw foods such as unpasteurized milk, raw eggs, bean/seed sprouts, frozen berries and lettuce".

I have a thought ... it's not the rawness of the food at fault, but how it is stored and even the health of the animals from which the food comes.

Now please note: I AM NOT ADVOCATING EATING RAW ANIMAL FOODS, but you have to wonder why we are seeing these illnesses and even deaths?

Here are my thoughts:

  • Our immune systems are no longer as robust as they once were and our digestive systems can no longer cope with certain strains of (particularly virulent) bacteria etc due to a distinct lack of variety of good probiotic strains ( which help combat these nasties).
  • Food travels too far to get to its destination - in days gone by, the food was eaten at the source it was caught. Now it can travel thousands of kilometres to get to the supermarkets and if the cold chain is not maintained, this is when dangerous microorganisms build up in the food.
  • The livestock industry is now so full of chemicals, hormones and antibiotics that the very nature of the food has changed. Animals are now crowded into pens without even seeing the light of day. For example, hens forced to produce with manipulation of  artificial light.. Hens are allowed only 4 hours of dark in 24, forcing them to lay twice daily - this shortens their lives, but increases egg production. What sort of egg (and how much true nourishment) is in an egg like that? In the European Union, this practice was finally outlawed in 2011, but in Australia and the US, it is still very much the norm. Cattle are forced to stand in crowded pens and fed grains instead of their natural grasses. They are also given antibiotics to prevent foot-rot and other diseases, which  by some strange coincidence makes them gain weight (but that is another blog). Dairy cattle are given hormone laced injections in order for them to produce longer. 
  • Imported produce is often contaminated with human excrement due to the practice of watering crops with human effluent.


All this produce, in my opinion, in no way resembles the food we evolved to eat.
Have a look at the Masai peoples of Africa - a staple of their diet is fresh cow's blood. Incredibly rich in minerals and protein - they do not consider this raw food risky. I also recall the traditional food of my European culture which included raw meat and cultured foods such as sauerkraut and raw cheeses. These were often produced by each family in their household cellar. I can never recall 1 instance of somebody becoming ill from eating this produce. 

SO WHAT CAN I DO? I hear you ask ...

  1.  How about this....  don't buy imported vegetables or berries - the Australian grown varieties are far superior and they haven't come from thousands of kilometres away. 
  2. DO NOT eat any raw animal produce as we cannot be guaranteed of where it has come from or what conditions it was transported in.
  3. Always keep your food at the optimal temperature: Have a look at the following picture - take note of the optimal food storage range ( please see chart below- source FSIC Australia).

AND REMEMBER - just because our ancestors, and more traditional cultures of the world still eat their food raw, we cannot have that privilege as we have lost touch with where exactly our food is coming from these days. 

Alexandra

temperature food chart