Welcome to the end.  Beginning today, we are going to begin putting the year 2010 into a box so we can put it on a shelf someplace.

But first, we have a lot to do.  It begins with what we carefully have determined to be the Top 17 Food Safety Stories of 2010.   

We have a distinct advantage this year in that we’ve been publishing for the full 12 months, not just thee months as was the case when we did this last year.  This means we are, for the most part, making decisions based our own work.

We are going to start today from the bottom of the list and then work our way up during the remaining days of 2010.  So without further ado, the drum roll please …


Number 17 on the Top Food Safety Stories of 2010 is actually the story behind the story.  Last Jan. 16, we published “Putin Says Chlorine in Chicken Unsafe.”   It was a story about limits Russia was putting on chicken imports from the USA.  Many similar stories were out there.

But we’d played Prime Minister Putin’s comments higher up than most. 

Two days later, at about 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time, the system that had been running our then four-month-old news site crashed.  In Washington, D.C., Helena Bottemiller thought for a moment the traffic spike we were experiencing was related to a possible big beef recall.

But within a few minutes, the tech pros sent us all an email saying ” ‘Putin Says Chlorine in Chicken Unsafe’ “is currently featured on the front page of the Drudge Report.”

While it seemed to us that Food Safety News had been knocked off the ‘net, the techies put it this way:

“So the site is up and running, it just can’t currently handle the
 number of simultaneous visitors.”  It’s like when Wal-Mart has a Black 
Friday sale and the guy who opens the store gets trampled at the door. 

Food Safety News at that time was getting 6,000 “unique visitors” a day.  When we made the Drudge Report we got 30,000 visitors we could handle all at once, and almost that many that were turned away.

Steps were taken to ensure that if it happened again, Food Safety News could handle it.  The stepped-up capacity has helped us steadily grow ou readership.

On the day we crashed, our pros re-routed Food Safety News traffic and everything was back to normal before about 7 p.m., EST.

We will pick up again on more Top Stories tomorrow.