Friday, December 18, 2009

Weekly Round Up

Here is the round up for this week.  A lot of interesting articles and concern for food safety, which is good.  Remember, to receive articles and food safety information and recalls sign up for our S.T.O.P. E-alerts.  Have a great weekend!

26,500 school cafeterias lack required inspections
USA Today article with more coverage on the un-safe conditions in school cafeterias, including the number of schools that fail to have their kitchens inspected enough or even AT ALL.

Va.-based peanut company executives seek bite of $1 million policy
Update on a Lynchburg VA peanut distributor’s executives who are seeking legal fees from their insurance company after a salmonella outbreak caused 714 people to become sick in 46 states and Canada as a result of the outbreak. Infections from the outbreak may have contributed to nine deaths

Two Families Sue Simsbury Dairy, West Hartford Store Over Tainted Raw Milk
This article tells the story of two families’ suing a dairy and grocery store after their children fell sick and suffered kidney failure after consuming contaminated milk.

Congress must pass food-safety rules
A poignant response to John F. Keane’s attack on Senator Kristen Gillibrand’s support for a new approach to food safety.

Raw Oyster and Food Safety Legislation
An update on the recent debate of pasteurizing gulf oysters during the warm months before selling them to consumers, and what that will cost the oyster industry.

Overhaul of U.S. food safety system is overdue
“FDA oversight hasn't had a major revision for more than 50 years. Farms are inspected about once a decade; about 1% of imported food is examined. Congress should act now to protect the public.”—It always feels good to know that others support our cause.  This editorial lays out exactly why the food safety bill needs to be passed.
U.S. opens import food safety center
Progress is being made. The Department of Homeland Security has opened a new Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center (CTAC) in an effort to ensure the safety of foods imported into this country.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Holiday Food Safety: STOP Tele-seminar on How to Eat Safely and Stay Healthy This Holiday Season

With H1N1 casting a shadow on all our social interactions, food safety is particularly important this holiday season. Not only do we need to think about how long that egg nog has been sitting on the buffet table – or left on the counter in the kitchen before it was served – we also need to worry about food handling and not passing along Swine Flu.

That’s why S.T.O.P. Is conducting a special tele-seminar on Holiday Foods and Food Safety, next Thursday, December 17 at 3pm ET. Chef Myron “Keith” Norman will join me in a conversation about what to look out for and what questions to ask to help you and your family stay healthy as you attend parties or prepare for festivities at home.

Chef Keith is food safety manager of the South Point Hotel Casino and food safety service instructor at the Art Institute of Nevada. I am executive director of Safe Tables Our Priority, with close to two decades of experience in food safety.

During this event, there will also be a concurrent twittercast at #foodsafety. We’ll also take call-in questions, though we do ask people to send questions beforehand to so that we can have them ready to address during the tele-seminar.

Please let us know if you’ll be joining us by Tuesday, December 15, 2009. You can RSVP to or to

Friday, December 4, 2009

Weekly Round Up

I hope you all had a good week.  We’ve been hustling and bustling over here at S.T.O.P. but we still wanted to give you a heads up on the interesting stories regarding food safety this week.  Here are some articles and blog posts that caught our attention.  Remember to sign up for our free S.T.O.P. E-alerts to get this and more information delivered to your inbox!

Mayo reports on slaughterhouse illness research
Doctors from the Mayo Clinic confirm that 24 illnesses in slaughterhouses were caused by an autoimmune response to a mist of pig brain tissue
Some Premium Edge cat food products recalled; FDA warns dog owners about possible salmonella contamination in Pet Carousel pigs' ears, beef hooves
An article informing cat owners about a voluntary recall of Premium Edge cat food.
How safe is that chicken?
A consumer report article on the amount of pathogens being found in chicken sold in stores and reminding readers to cook chicken properly!
Why a recall of tainted beef didn't include school lunches
School lunches are still very much a hot topic in the food safety world as a recall of tainted beef didn’t include school lunches despite 39 people in 11 different states being reported sick.
UPDATE 1-US warns Tyson on seafood violations at Texas site
Tyson Foods, Inc. has been warned by U.S. regulators about violations in their Texas plant where seafood sauces and soups were “prepared, packed or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health…”
Tales From the Crypt: Gross Food Stories
An interesting (and disgusting) blog post about chicken coop waste being fed to cattle which would then be unsafe for human consumption
Paralyzed Woman Sues Cargill in E. coli Lawsuit for $100,000,000
A legal food safety blog post about a young woman who was left paralyzed by eating a burger tainted by E.coli.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Linda: A Victim of Foodborne Illness

We have been very busy these past few weeks at S.T.O.P.--traveling, fund raising, educating and advocating--all in order to help protect our nation’s food supply.  In spite of all this activity, I never forget why I do this:  to prevent people getting sick from devastating foodborne illnesses that damage lives forever.  I do this for people like Linda, a young woman in her 20’s, who should have the whole world ahead of her. But due to long-term consequences from the E. coli-contaminated meat that she ate when she was 6 years old, her life is different than most women her age.

When she was 6 years old, Linda’s mom took her and her 2 year old brother out to get cheeseburgers for lunch. How could she know that this meal would change their lives forever? Shortly afterward, Linda and her brother became ill with horrible stomach cramping, diarrhea, and vomiting. Her situation worsened and ultimately her kidneys were failing. She was diagnosed with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) due to E. coli poisoning, and sent to the Children's Hospital. Once admitted, she was given blood transfusions and remained on dialysis for three weeks. She ended up missed two months of first grade, which set her behind in reading for two years.

After several years, her kidneys were functioning at a normal level again.  Aside from suffering from severe depression from junior high to high school, it seemed she had left her experience with E. coli behind her. However, in her senior year of high school she woke up with Bell's Palsy, and spent another week in the hospital where she and was now diagnosed with chronic kidney failure. Her kidneys were functioning at 35% and doctors predicted she would need a kidney transplant by the time she reached her forties. Unfortunately, after a successful year at Art College, she began to feel lethargic and fall behind in her classes only to find that she would need a transplant by the time she graduated.  In October of 2006, her mom donated a kidney to her in a pre-emptive transplant surgery.

The entire ordeal caused her to be two semesters behind in school, terrified about finding health insurance and worried about being able to pay off all her medical bills.  She has to take 12 different medications a day and have her blood drawn once a month.  She had to give up the one job she ever truly loved- working at an animal hospital-  because infection from contact with animals posed too great a risk.  The emotional consequences she’s faced have been immense—low self-esteem from kidney transplant scars and bulges, guilt from feeling that her parents’ divorce was due to stress from her illness, and concern for what the future may hold for her younger brother due to the infection he suffered as well as the effects of watching his sister struggle and go through so many hospitalizations.

At Safe Tables Our Priority we work hard to help victims like Linda; we introduced her to another victim her age with a similar experience, and have assisted and empowered her to tell her story. Our goal is not only to prevent foodborne illness, but also to aid those who have fallen ill.  If you haven’t already done so, sign up for our free S.T.O.P. E-alerts now, and get regular updates on outbreaks and recalled foods in the marketplace in order to keep something like this from happening to you or your family.