Somehow Dan the editor and the several staff of Food Safety News convinced me while in Las Vegas (they may well have pictures) to write a few lines each week about my thoughts on what was going on at Food Safety News and/or my perspective on food safety over the week–forwards and backwards.
It has been a busy week. An E. coli O145 outbreak that has been linked to no particular product, but it has sickened 50 in Michigan, Ohio and New York. Since all of the ill seem to be college students, food is being looked at as the source–college parties aren’t the only things that make kids vomit.
Then there is the E. coli O111 outbreak in Colorado. Given that the outbreak is at a prison, do not expect much news or sympathy.
Salmonella outbreaks have emerged among customers of the Las Dos Amigos restaurant in Oregon and Bullock’s Barbecue in North Carolina–two more different restaurants I could not imagine.
There is also the oil slick that is moving on shore in the gulf. The food safety implications may well be catastrophic, contrary to what was believed a few days ago, when it was believed gulf fish and shellfish would be safe. Tuna, Shrimp and Oysters, to name a few food items that depend on the unpolluted waters of the Gulf, are being hard pressed to survive. Long-term, the spill may impact foods that in ways that create both short- and long-term difficulties. We hope to have Food Safety News “boots on the ground” throughout the Gulf States to assess the damage to our food supply.
Walmart announced that it will require ground beef suppliers to test their products for non-O157:H7 strains of E. coli and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to declare non-O157:H7 strains of E. coli an adulterant in ground beef.
It has been a busy week, as most are in the world of food safety. I do expect that the next weeks and months and years to be just a busy. In a world rapidly approaching seven billion consumers of food, how to produce plentiful food safely is a challenge.
It is the challenge of producing safe food that led me to the creation of Food Safety News (the url was purchased for $25,000). The goal of Food Safety News is to provide relevant and timely news on all issues around safe food. That was my goal when starting it and I hope to continue that without interference or influence from me. Rupert Murdoch I am not.