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Cookson Beecher

Cookson Beecher

A journalist by trade, Cookson Beecher spent 12 years working as an agriculture and environment reporter for Capital Press, a four-state newspaper that covers agricultural and forestry issues in the Pacific Northwest. Before working at Capital Press, she was the editor of a small-town newspaper, the Courier Times, in Skagit County, WA. She received her bachelors in political science from Hunter College in New York City, and before moving West, she worked for publishing companies in mid-town Manhattan. In the 1970s and ’80s, she and her family lived in North Idaho, where they built a log home and lived a “pioneer life” without running water and electricity for almost 10 years. She currently lives in rural Skagit County, Washington.

Articles Written by Cookson Beecher

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What’s in the emergency kit at your child’s school?

School nurse works to raise awareness about need for epinephrine injection pens

food allergies graphic

Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series about food allergies and the efforts by public health agencies, schools, legislators and parents to make it easier and safer for allergic individuals to manage risks. To read Part one: “Food allergies threaten lives daily; research gaps and mis information complicate issue” click here. At first,… Continue Reading

Food safety threat in plain sight; counter measures less clear

Food allergies threaten lives daily; research gaps and misinformation complicate issue

illustration child food allergies graphic

Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series about food allergies and the efforts by public health agencies, schools, legislators and parents to make it easier and safer for allergic individuals to manage risks. A chronic disease with no known cure. An emerging epidemic that affects up to 15 million people in the… Continue Reading

On the front lines of food safety — farmworkers have your back

More retailers seek produce, peace of mind from growers certified by the Equitable Food Initiative

EFI strawberry picker

Who better than the people in the front lines to recognize and call out the enemy? That’s the underlying strategy of an approach to food safety that relies on farmworkers to spot possible problems in growing fields and packing sheds. Such problems include deer droppings in the field, manure drift from a nearby field, dirty… Continue Reading

Juicing is healthy, but easily contaminated by pathogens

women juicing produce

So many fruits. So many veggies. So little time. That’s the dilemma that people who want to eat as healthy as possible face. After all, who really has the time to eat the recommended 5 to 9 servings of fruits or vegetables — 2 1/2 cups of veggies and two cups of fruit — each… Continue Reading

Keep the love alive …

... and the pathogens dead; be safe with Valentine's Day oysters

illustration Valentine dinner

Oysters and champagne. Love is in the air. It must be Valentine’s Day. Yes, indeed, oysters have long been associated with romance — the perfect aphrodisiac. There’s actually some science to back that up, although it’s about the way rats, not humans, responded to oysters in a 2005 study done by a team of Italian… Continue Reading

Clean, safe, humane — producers say lab meat is a triple win

Uma Valeti and chef with lab meat meatballjpg

“The meatball that changed the world.” That was the enthusiastic prediction early last year from Uma Valeti, a cardiologist and now CEO of Memphis Meats, as he admired the freshly cooked meatball arranged gourmet-style on a plate. As a meatball, it definitely had a lot going for it. It was made by specialty chef Dave… Continue Reading

From fairs to nativity scenes, animal attractions harbor danger

live animal nativity scene with children

Watch children when they enter a petting zoo. Just about always, their faces light up with joy at seeing the animals as their hands reach out to touch them. Ask parents why they take children to petting zoos or farm animal exhibits at fairs and most will tell you that they think it’s important for… Continue Reading

Parents haunted by decisions as raw milk’s impact lingers

The Combs family, from left, Zeke, Jubilee, Brandon, Sarah with Lilia on her lap, and Titus.

“I don’t know where to stick her; she doesn’t have any veins left.” That’s a medical specialist talking as she examined 3-year-old Jubilee Combs, a patient at a Kentucky hospital undergoing dialysis for a severe kidney disease acquired from drinking unpasteurized raw milk. That was two years ago while the little girl was being treated… Continue Reading

Food safety plays part in urban agriculture bill

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, at the Lafayette Greens Community Urban Garden in Detroit to discuss the importance of local agriculture with Garden Manager Gwen Meyer, right.

Imagine walking down the street in your city neighborhood and stopping by a garden, planted in what used to be a vacant lot, to buy some vegetables or fruit for supper. For many people, this is not pie-in-the sky dreaming. It’s a welcome reality — and a pleasant change in scenery. As urban agriculture continues… Continue Reading

Staff of life can pose food safety dangers

A deer makes its way through a wheat field on the Palouse region in southeast Washington. More land is planted with wheat in the world than any other crop. It provides 20 percent of the world’s caloric consumption, and 20 percent of the protein for half of the world’s poorest people. (Photo by Horst Onken)

Just as wheat is the staff of life in many human civilizations, it is as important to animals and insects. In fact, they love it, as anyone who has lived near or worked in the wheat fields very well knows. All manner of critters, including deer, birds and rodents, will seize the opportunity to dine on… Continue Reading