Monday, March 23, 2009

Veggie Bootie - not so bad?

I am so excited... after all this CPSIA stuff I have seriously had my bubble burst on government and how bad decisions can have far reaching effects. BUT - as it turns out, I might get a chance to build my bubble back.

When my 2 1/2 year old was only 10 months his favorite snack was Veggie Bootie. So much a favorite that we dubbed it "baby crack". He loved it - soft, salty, easily transported - what's not to love? The fact that it's billed as healthy certainly didn't hurt - and we fed it to him all the time. Well - turns out that the spinach and kale powder used to make it oh so healthy is actually from China. And guess what? - one bad batch was full of salmonella!

Mostly it was infants who got sick - not surprising since no adult I know can actually stand to eat the stuff. They said it was because infants and toddlers have weaker immune systems - but I seriously doubt anyone over the age of 5 even eats the stuff.

Anyhow, Beck went in for his 10 month well-baby check up and while we were at the dr's office he had a poopy diaper. I went to change it and the doc saw it was full of - well... let's just say it was NOT normal. His poor little bum was raw and she was immediately concerned. She decided to culture it - and lo and behold - salmonella. So guess what they do for salmonella in infants? Nothing! We didn't actually find out what it was for 3 days and by then he'd started to get better. After all this peanut recall stuff and related deaths - we were extremely fortunate.

After we found out the diagnosis, the public health dept got involved and it got a little crazy. Apparently the strain he has was very rare and another 10 cases had been reported across the country recently. I then began the wierd task of helping to find the link between my child and other children around the country sickened by the same rare strain of salmonella. After many phone calls and interviews - we hit pay dirt - Veggie Bootie! I guess all kids think its baby crack! We even ended up in the Oregonian.

Weeks later I read about this group called STOP - Safe Tables Our Priority. I contacted them because I was interested in what the long term effects of salmonella poisoning might be on Beck. For now, he's fine. but what if he has digestive problems later in life? What if he gets ill later and they don't know why? What if it can all be linked back to him having been poisoned by his favorite snack food?

I signed up for their newsletters and have been part of discussions and website updates ever since. And now I might have a chance to actually do something about the way the FDA regulates things! I have been asked to come to DC and share my (or Beck's) story with my representatives and be part of the changes happening. Apparently, since this peanut recall has happened the govt. has decided to listen to STOPand other organizations like them. They are listening to the problems in the way theFDA regulates and approves foods and manufacturers.

After the craziness with the CPSIA over the past few months, maybe my faith in government will be restored - what if they actually listen and people's lives are affected? Am I dreaming that this could actually happen? Quite possibly - but since I firmly believe that things happen for a reason - I have got to believe that Beck got sick for a good reason....and isn't change in government regulation a good reason?

1 comment:

kristi said...

That's terrible. I feel so badly for you. Was this recent? I bought two bags of pirate's bootie today at Safeway. They had loads of veggie bootie in stock and on the shelf too...