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Food Safety News

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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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Food safety training, treatments addressed in federal grants

If you think you’re got problems, try being a farmer. They’re faced with an impressive array of enemies that are waging war on their crops and their livelihoods. These adversaries don’t need sophisticated weapons. They’ve got something more deadly — an arsenal of biological ammunition. And for the most part, they’re small, very small, oftentimes… Continue Reading

Lab-made meat, poultry get big funding boost from big food

It’s the future of meat and poultry — or at least part of the future. That’s what some investors, among them global agricultural heavyweight Cargill Inc., are saying about meat grown in labs from cells taken from animals without slaughtering them. On Aug. 22, Memphis Meats Inc. in the Bay Area of California, which so far has produced beef, chicken… Continue Reading

Former USDA officials say feds critically short of veterinarians

Veterinarians' groups predict shortage of highly educated staff will decrease U.S. food safety

Sometimes when a door swings open, opportunity for change has the chance to enter. That’s what some members of the National Association of Federal Veterinarians are hoping will happen now that two top food safety positions at the U.S, Department of Agriculture are in line for new leadership. On July 31, Al Almanza retired from… Continue Reading

Steer clear of fair foibles — pun intended; pigs problematic, too

It’s fair season, and a new crop of parents is taking excited youngsters to county and state fairs across the country so they can see the farm animals. Not only see them, but pet them as well. Maybe even kiss them. Stop right there, many veterinarians and fair directors will say. Before heading to the… Continue Reading

Data driven: Information helped reduce Salmonella on chicken

You won’t see claims like this in any ads: “Our chicken is safer than our competitors’ chicken.” There’s an unwritten understanding in the industry that food safety won’t be used as an advertising tactic. Yet, in an important way, commercial chicken buyers can actually find out how chicken slaughter plants are doing when it comes… Continue Reading

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

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

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

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

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

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