I ordered a sandwich today, cheddar cheese and salad. But when the assistant put cucumber in my sandwich I immediately asked her to remove it. Why? Because of the e-coli Spanish cucumber scare in Germany.
I don't live in Germany or Spain. Apparently cucumbers in the UK are safe, in fact they are now saying the Spanish cucumbers originally blamed for the e-coli outbreak are safe. The e-coli outbreak comes from some other unidentified salad item. And now they are saying it is a new strain of e-coli and has caused 14 deaths. So do I avoid salad completely now? Certainly in Germany they have been told not to eat all salad items, but what about salad in the UK - is it safe? Yes (we are told). But I still worry.
Logically I know there is no need to but I have always worried too much about these things. I am not the kind of person to use products past their best before or use by date. And I always keep ketchup in the fridge. Imagine my horror quite a few years ago when after eating some odd tasting mayonnaise at somebody's house I discovered it was out of date, and not just a little out of date but over a year out of date. Of course I was fine even after the mayonnaise incident. And indeed other occasions like when I discovered mould in the cream cheese and salmon bagel I was eating... half way through eating it (the shop I bought it from gave me the choice of a refund or another bagel, surprise surprise I opted for the refund).
So why am I so paranoid about food? I have no idea, it is not like I have ever suffered from severe food poisoning. But as I get older I become more concerned about these things. So maybe age is a factor. Gone are my student days when I would scrape the mould off bread and toast it.
And having children has made me even more paranoid. Let's face it I have spent an awful lot if the last four years pregnant, and during pregnncy in the UK we are bombarded with a long list of things not to eat. And instructed to wash vegetables extra carefully. Ensure foods are thoroughly cooked (I avoid chicken at barbecues). Plus there is so much conflicting information, some people say avoid all ham products, others say if it is cooked then you can eat it. Who knows what the truth is - not me.
Having to feed M, made me even more careful about foods. Babies can't eat honey, have to eat well cooked eggs... the list goes on. Even now that he is three I am still careful. There is no way I want him poisoned. Of course stopping a three year old getting sickness bugs is impossible, but what is the point in making it worse?
So I worry too much. And I am going to continue to worry.
Image: Kittikun Atsawintarangkul / FreeDigitalPhotos.net