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The Scoop on Sandwich Meat

Now that you're back in school and packing lunches every day... well, what are you packing for lunch? The recent outbreak of listeria and the recall of sandwich meat in Canada has had everyone on edge, so Kidzworld is taking a closer look into your school lunch bag.

What's in Your Sandwich Meat?

Here's an eye-opening fact - sandwich meat isn't actually made of meat, as such. It's made of meat products. Sandwich meats, hot dogs, bacon and sausages can all potentially be breeding grounds for listeria because of the amount of processing that's required to make them. Take that slice of bologna in your sandwich - it's made by liquefying pig parts and maybe even a few chicken or cow parts too. There are also a variety of chemicals mixed in there to make it taste better, improve the color, and prolong shelf life.

Sandwich Meat Recall

Maple Leaf Foods in Canada issued a massive food recall after listeria was found in sandwich meat. Listeria is a type of bacteria that causes food poisoning, but it can survive and continue to grow on foods in your fridge. Plus, it looks, smells and tastes normal, so you can't tell that it's contaminated with listeria. The outbreak was first noticed in July 2008 and so far, 18 people have died. The same thing happened in the US back in 1996, when about 35 million pounds of hot dogs and luncheon meats were recalled after 20 people died and about 100 people got sick. Eating food tainted with listeria can lead to fever, flu-like symptoms (chills, fatigue, muscle and joint pain), cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, make sure you go see your doctor right away!

Sandwich Meat Alternatives

There are lots of fun, healthy and delicious lunches you can make instead of sandwiches. You can chop up your favorite vegetables and throw it all together to make a salad, or slice up some fruit to make a refreshing fruit salad. Leave chips, cookies and other sugary snacks in the cupboard and instead, opt for yogurt and granola, cheese and crackers, trail mixes, apple slices, or carrot sticks. And if you're still craving a sandwich, skip the processed meats and make a veggie sandwich, piled high with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and alfalfa sprouts! For more healthy lunch ideas and alternatives, check out Kidzworld's Quick and Healthy Lunch Ideas.

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