A couple weeks ago in this space, Food Safety News recognized the contribution being made by our summer interns.

This week we’d like to recognize another group of contributors–those of you who choose to share your comments with our readers.   We know that comments create their own readers, and we are not just talking about when there is a verbal duel underway between Harry Hamil and “Doc Mudd”.

We are more than six weeks from our first anniversary, and we have published just over 2,000 articles.  We’ve logged 1,832 comments during that same period.  During the last four months, we’ve collected 510 comments on 409 articles.

As a news site, we have a very narrow focus.  Where a top news site might get a look from one million people a day, we’re getting something closer to about 100,000 a month.  But we think, it is the 100,000 we want.

Our goal from the beginning has been to deliver “the food safety community” to Food Safety News by making valuable content.   When that community includes regulators and the regulated, public and private, and academics and industry, there’s certain to be a lot of opinions about what we report.

We’ve wanted to be the place where the food safety community can have that discussion, and to the extent that is happening, we are finding it very satisfying.  Comments that just point out our little mistakes have also been helpful.   When we misidentify a drug or a foreign roadmap, we do want to hear about it.

To those of you who do comment, thank you.  Except for spam and or some similar dribble, we publish about 99.9 percent of the comments we receive.   

In the upcoming 45th week at Food Safety News, we will be reporting on the fact that the ’06-’09 spike in E. coli O157:H7 appears to be over.   This is a little bit like watching a baseball pitcher with a perfect game under his belt after seven innings.  It’s probably best not to talk about it.

But Drew Falkenstein, one of the Marler Clark super lawyers who occasionally contributes to Food Safety News, went and pointed out that we may be getting through the summer almost E. coli-free.  Since summer began there’s only been a couple of small beef recalls, and no outbreaks.

“Compared to recent years, only two summer recalls totaling just under 40,000 pounds of product–particularly when the recalls were not known to be associated with any illnesses–is progress indeed,” Falkenstein says.

Beef recalls hit over 29 million pounds in 2007.

We will examine the recent E. coli trends sometime during the week ahead.