After much thought and consideration, here is the Food Safety News Nice list for 2009:

NICE: Sen. Dick Durbin for being the driving force behind food

safety legislation in the Senate and the HELP Committee for passing S.

510 out of committee with bipartisan support. (See “Senate Schedules Markup of S. 510,” Nov 11, 2009)

naughty and nice.pngNICE: Rep. Rosa DeLauro and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for being consumer champions and persistent advocates of food safety reform. (See “DeLauro Urges Inquiry Into Beef Testing,” Nov 13, 2009, “DeLauro Calls for Beef Plant Closure,” Dec 10, 2009 and “Gillibrand to Introduce ‘E.coli Eradication’ Bill,” Oct 14, 2009)

NICE:  Food & Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg for improving public access to information, including “Warning Letters” and 483 Reports.  (See “FDA Expands What’s In ‘Warning Letters,'” Sep 17, 2009)

NICE: Secretary Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan for USDA’s new outreach programs, like “Know your farmer, know your food.”  (See “USDA Promotes Local Food,” Sep 25, 2009)

NICE: New York Times writer Michael Moss for his Pulitzer-worthy

article on the dark origins of ground beef and the terrible impact of

E. coli O157:H7.

NICE: The quick work of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, whose members worked quickly and got their hands on incriminating email traffic between the PCA executives, who took the Fifth Amendment when called to testify.  

NICE:  President Obama for setting up the Food Safety Working Group.

NICE: The public, for an outpouring of support for WSU’s Common Reading Program (hat tip, Food Democracy Now).

NICE: Makers of Food, Inc, who introduced the country to the underside of food production, and made a very watchable – if frightening – film about it.

NICE: Michelle Obama, for planting a kitchen garden at the White House, and getting kids involved in (very) local food and for getting a local DC farmer’s market through the red tape.

NICE:  FDA for getting a guilty plea by Mark McAfee of OPDC to criminal charges of misbranding raw milk and selling across state lines as “pet food.”  (See “FDA Attempts to Corral Raw Milk Producer,” Dec 17, 2009)

NICE:  Marion Nestle for, among other things, her persistent and common sense critique of how junk food and soda is marketed to children.  (See “Q&A: Nestle on Food Safety Politics,” Sep 21, 2009)

NICE: Mike Taylor and Don Kraemer at FDA for boldly putting public health ahead of Gulf Coast oyster industry profits.  (See “FDA Acts to Reduce Raw Oyster Poisoning,” Oct 20, 2009)

NICE:  Consumer and public health groups that have joined with produce growers and food processors and retailers to support FDA reform legislation, making its passage possible.  (See “Victims: ‘We Want Bill Before Holidays’,” Oct 08, 2009)

NICE: Dedicated writers whose excellent articles gave insight and context to food safety issues:  Lyndsey Layton of the Washington Post for her piece on Linda Rivera’s struggle with E. coli O157:H7 from cookie dough, Peter Eisler, Elizabeth Weise, and others of USA Today for their reporting on school lunches, and Nick Grube of the Daily Triplicate for his three-part series on Mari Tardiff’s struggle to recover from the Campylobacter infection and ensuing Guillain-Barre Syndrome she got from drinking raw milk.

NICE:  Food Bloggers – Simple, Good and Tasty, Cold Truth, Ag and Food Law, Civil Eats, Grist, Weaversway, Chuck Jolley, Food Politics, Ethicurean, La Vida Locavore, Obamafoodorama, Food Shield, efoodalert, Fanatic Cook, Fresh Talk, Center for a Liveable Future, Food Law, Buy Safe Eat Well and Barf Blog.

NICE: Bill Marler and Marler Clark, LLP for their generous support of all three Food Safety News offices in Seattle, Denver, and Washington, DC to make FSN’s coverage of important food safety issues possible, even as traditional media shrink.

This list is a compilation of submissions from the Food Safety News publisher, staff, readers, and food safety experts.