Underpants for squirrels

If I were the cynical type, I’d be wondering right about now if the great peanut butter panic is not just yet another attempt by Big Food to make irradiation acceptable at last. Once again, I’m reading pieces in credible outlets saying the solution to salmonella is to zap ingredients, never mind the unintended consequences. Maybe I’m just neurotic because I once went along with my consort to a photo shoot at a New Jersey plant that irradiated stuff, and it was one scary place. But I’m not exactly convinced the same industry that foists filthy peanuts and spinach and fake apple juice onto the public can exactly be trusted to do the right thing with an unnerving technology (there’s a reason they give you a lead apron in the dentist’s office). What’s most amazing is that the real solution is so simple. Why not just clean up the food supply? Make sure peanut processors scrub their equipment and the premises, say, and store their raw material more carefully and buy from certified-safe growers. Resorting to irradiation is like expecting cat-killing air freshener to solve a toilet overflow. Wouldn’t it be better to just unclog the pipes? Oh. Right. Nothing to sell there.