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Food Safety News

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Letter From The Editor: Our Guest Writers

About a month ago, I was having this feeling that all news people occasionally get that the news of the future will never be as exciting or interesting as the past.  We all know better, but sometimes we cannot avoid having these feelings.

We start having these feelings when for some reason we have time to sit around and think too much.  We are much happier having our lives and times filled with something we cannot control.

So nothing knocks those feelings out of us faster than a major event. The Euro-E. coli outbreak that continues to play out in northern Germany has been an effective mood changer for me.

Please excuse the fact that someone else’s human tragedy is just the kind of excitement I need. It is one of those unavoidable realities of why we do what we do.  Last week I wrote briefly about the contributions being made by our staff to our Euro E. coli coverage.  We continue to get all kinds of notice for which were are grateful.

One part of our coverage that I’ve not tipped my favorite old Panama hat to are the contributions that have been made in Food Safety News by some of the most respected leaders in American food safety.

One of the goals Bill Marler has had for Food Safety News is that it would become a forum for the food safety community to discuss issues of common interest.

There’s probably never been a better topic than an off-shore outbreak involving a mysterious and virulent strain that we are all now watching from a distance.  It is like someone wrote this as a plot for the Sci-Fi channel.

So we’ve been extremely fortunate to have the likes of Dr. Richard Raymond, Carol L. Tucker Forman, Barbara Kowalcyk, Dr. Anne O’ Keefe, Michele Simon, and Daniel B. Cohen — to name a few — weighing in with their comments and observations about what’s going on in Europe.

These contributing writers are drawing readers to Food Safety News, and bringing attention to their views to policy makers.  That is one of the reasons we are here.

Believe me, when Doc Raymond and Ms. Tucker Foreman, the former top USDA food safety officials for both Democratic and Republican administrations, both put their name on something, it carries weight.  

These are the sort of messages we are in business to deliver.  At the same time,  FSN is a great place just to share observations with your associates.  There is no need to wait for that next professional conference.

As this O104:H4 outbreak passed the mark of 750 HUS cases — the number we typically have in the U.S. in a single year — it struck that it’s time we make the general public know just how big and deadly this outbreak has become, and then to explore all that we need to learn from it. 

We’re grateful for all those who’ve contributed to our columns since this outbreak began, and encourage all the rest of you to do the same.

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