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Contributing Writers

Lydia Zuraw

Lydia Zuraw

Lydia Zuraw is a graduate of Northwestern University with a bachelor’s from the Medill School of Journalism.  She was born and raised in the suburbs of Baltimore and lived in Illinois, Scotland and Washington state before returning to the East Coast.  In the past, she worked for NPR’s Science Desk, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and The Pacific Northwest Inlander.

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White House Releases Fall 2015 Regulatory Plan


The White House has released its “Current Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions” for fall 2015, which provides an overview of the Obama administration’s regulatory plans for the coming year. Two final rules expected to be released next month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)… Continue Reading

Safely Thawing a Thanksgiving Turkey Takes Planning


If you’re defrosting a frozen turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, you might want to start now. There are only three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave. Be sure to plan ahead because birds thawed in cold water or in the microwave will have to be cooked immediately. And,… Continue Reading

First World Antibiotic Awareness Week Focuses on Education

WHO_HWC_ 6x infographics_22.10.15

This week, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the governments of several countries want people to learn more about antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health today, and, while it occurs naturally, misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals accelerates the process. Monday kicked off the first World Antibiotic Awareness… Continue Reading

Boston to Experiment With Letter Grades for Restaurants


Boston will soon start assigning letter grades to all restaurants based on their health inspections, The Boston Globe reports. The A, B or C grades will initially only be posted online and may later be displayed in restaurant windows. The system is expected to be put in place early next year. “We want to make… Continue Reading

Food Safety Groups Oppose Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership


The full text of the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP) was released last week, and after initial reviews of the proposed treaty, concerns raised by food safety advocates during the negotiations have not been mollified. Debbie Barker, International Programs Director for the Center for Food Safety, says the predominant issues with TPP are the Rapid Response… Continue Reading

Study: Lawsonia May Cause Pigs to Shed More Salmonella


Earlier this year, at least 152 people in Washington state were infected with multidrug-resistant Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- linked to pork produced by Kapowsin Meats. According to federal estimates, pork is the source of about 8 percent of Salmonella illnesses in the U.S. Scientists interested in finding ways to control Salmonella in pigs first want to know what might… Continue Reading

Why USDA Needs a New Program to Export Sandwiches to Canada


Which foods the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates and which foods the U.S. Department of Agriculture regulates are not easy questions to answer. One oft-repeated example used to demonstrate the complexities is that cheese pizza falls under the jurisdiction of FDA, but a pizza topped with pepperoni is under USDA’s jurisdiction. Another example is that USDA… Continue Reading

Update: 37 People Sickened With E. Coli Linked to Chipotle Restaurants

Chipotle Mexican Grill sign

At least 37 people have been sickened with E. coli in connection with Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants. According to updated case counts released Tuesday, there are 12 victims in Oregon and 25 in Washington. In Washington, residents of Clark (11), Cowlitz (2), Island (2), King (6), and Skagit (4) counties have been reported as outbreak cases…. Continue Reading

CDC Report: Multi-State Outbreaks Few But Deadly


Multi-state outbreaks are not particularly common, but they are particularly dangerous. A little more than half of all deaths associated with foodborne outbreaks come from multi-state outbreaks, according to a new report released Tuesday, Nov. 3, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday as part of its latest Vital Signs issue. According to data… Continue Reading

Study: Food Pantries Have ‘Room for Improvement’ in Food Safety


The food safety of food pantries is a fairly new arena for researchers, but with 14 percent of American households insecure about food at some point during 2014, it’s drawing more attention. The latest bit of research on the subject finds that there is “much room for improvement,” particularly when it comes to recalls. The… Continue Reading