DEAR DR. BLONZ: I enjoy nuts and nut butters, but I am concerned about the recent recall of peanut butter due to salmonella contamination. I have stayed away from raw nuts due to this concern, but had thought that roasting killed that bacteria. Why would peanut butter made from roasted whole peanuts be recalled? -- I.D., Chicago
DEAR I.D.: When good manufacturing practices are followed, the risk of salmonella contamination is eliminated during the peanut roasting process. Both oil and dry roasting take place at temperatures well above that needed to destroy this organism. However, it has to be done right, ensuring that all the nuts get up to the right temperature.
Assuming that the roasting is not the issue, the risk must come afterward. Think, for example, of doing a great job of washing your hands, only to dry them off with a dirty towel. If a company does not have proper hygiene and food-safety protocols, its products are at risk.
Recalls are designed to either prevent or stop an outbreak while the food safety detectives identify how the food was tainted and how it got into your store. For more about the May 2022 peanut butter recall, see b.link/wpeupa. General information about salmonella can be found at b.link/uupfnh.
DEAR DR. BLONZ: I am 74 and am now taking 2 mg of warfarin daily after a heart valve replacement two months ago. I would like to go out and enjoy corned beef and cabbage, a favorite dish of mine, but I have been warned to avoid cabbage while taking warfarin. I wanted to know if this meal would be OK. -- S.B., via email
DEAR S.B.: Warfarin, also known by its brand name Coumadin, is one of several medications given to inhibit blood clotting. Various health issues can cause unwanted clots, whose medical term is venous thromboembolism. Heart valve irregularities are on that list. Of course, we want our blood to clot and stop the bleeding whenever we are cut or injured. But an errant clot can travel through the blood vessels and block the flow to vital tissues and organs, resulting in dire consequences. (Read more on blood clots at b.link/krhyn2.)
The anticoagulant medication you were prescribed works by blocking the action of vitamin K. (In fact, the "K" stands for "koagulation," the German spelling of coagulation.) For any individual, the dose of warfarin gets adjusted to achieve the desired level of anticoagulant activity. It is important to keep your intake of vitamin K pretty constant from day to day to facilitate this aspect of your therapy. Other foods, herbs, supplements and medications affecting coagulation must also be considered.
Cabbage is a pretty good source of vitamin K, so caution is dictated. Check the article at b.link/ccq4s6. It is best to talk with your pharmacist and any health professionals overseeing this aspect of your care before sitting down for that favorite meal. Consider asking for a referral to a dietitian who can help you make room for this dish by making adjustments to other foods you eat.
Send questions to: "On Nutrition," Ed Blonz, c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO, 64106. Send email inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.