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Denis Stearns

Articles Written by Denis Stearns

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On Restaurant Grades: Giving an F to Josh Ozersky

In coming up with topics for my opinion-pieces here at Food Safety News, I have been trying not to be so critical–which is to say, trying not to build a topic around me criticizing someone for their opinions or proposals.  For as I observed in my last piece, The Perils of Punditry, there is not… Continue Reading

What the Oil Spill Can Teach Us About Food Safety

The tragedy of the huge and ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is the source of much controversy, multiple competing narratives, and unashamed finger-pointing by nearly all involved. And as with all such tragedies it seems, there were immediate calls for a crackdown, which is to say, stricter enforcement, stricter regulations, and any… Continue Reading

On Civic Agriculture: Why Backyard Chickens Matter

“She had no way of knowing it, but that plain country woman, whose name I have long forgotten, taught me one of the most important lessons of my life: food could be much more than mere sustenance.”  –Jacques Pépin[1] I do not recall exactly what prompted me to ponder the resurgence of interest in small-scale… Continue Reading

On Cooking Burgers: Out, damned E. coli! Out!


For decades, the meat industry has insisted that pathogens like E. coli O157:H7 are inherent to raw meat, that there is no way for the manufacturing process to eliminate the possible presence of pathogens, and that, as a result, consumers bear ultimate responsibility for making meat safe to eat by cooking it sufficiently to kill… Continue Reading

Tender, but Deadly

E. coli O157:H7 and Mechanically Tenderized Steaks By now, most people have come to understand that a lot of industrially produced, mass-manufactured ground beef sold in the United States can be deadly.  One need only look at the recent reminder provided by the tragic story of Stephanie Smith, and the Cargill-manufactured ground beef patty that… Continue Reading