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Snack Food Industry: Chips Don't Kill
ARLINGTON, Va. (CAP) - With word that the recent salmonella outbreak among raw alfalfa sprouts has spread to almost 30 people sickened in 10 states, the snack food industry - including makers of potato chips, pork rinds and pre-packaged dessert snacks like Twinkies and Ho-Hos - has begun promoting its products as a healthy alternative to fresh vegetables.
"Healthy in the sense that they don't make you violently ill," clarified Frank Johansen of the Snack Food Association (SFA), the international trade association of the snack food industry.
Johansen said the plan to promote their products' non-salmonellae characteristics came out of "A Jumbo Sized Bag Of Ideas," the SFA's 32nd annual executive leadership forum, held recently in Las Vegas.
"For years, people have been putting down snack foods as not 'nutritious' enough," said Johansen, holding up two fingers on each hand. "Well, we were at our forum when somebody looked up from the spread of chips, pretzels, popcorn, cheese snacks, snack crackers, meat snacks, pork rinds, snack nuts, corn snacks, pellet snacks, fruit snacks, snack bars, snack cakes and cookies and said, Well, at least these don't cause stomach pain, diarrhea, fever and dehydration, usually.
"That's when we knew we were on to something."
Since salmonella poisoning is typically the result of eating food contaminated with feces from an infected animal or person, snack foods are unlikely to be affected, since even the so-called vegetable-based snacks like "potato" chips never come anywhere close to living organisms that could produce feces, said Johansen. "And even if they did, the deep-frying process would pretty much take care of that."
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration, for its part, approved the campaign and backs up the SFA's assertions. "Unlike tomatoes and other fresh fruits and vegetables, pre-packaged snack foods are unlikely to cause extreme and sudden gastrointestinal illness," reads a statement on the FDA website. "Just the usual gas, bloating and eventual heart disease."
The statements follows up the FDA's recent acknowledgement that the "vegetables" available at fast-food chains such as McDonald's and Wendy's are all artificially created in a lab in Little Rock, Ark.
According to the SFA, advertisements featuring the association's new slogans and their accompanying illustrations will begin appearing in national magazines and on television next week. These include:
"Chips Don't Kill"
"When Pork Rinds Go Down, They Stay Down"
"Cheez Whiz: No Salmonella - And You Can Spray It!"
"There's No Poop In A Twinkie"
"Corn Chips: When You Don't Want Diarrhea"
"We mean a whole lot of diarrhea, not just the regular amount," clarified Johansen about the last slogan.
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