Photo of Helena Bottemiller

Helena Bottemiller is a Washington, DC-based reporter covering food policy and politics for Food Safety News. She has covered Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court, and several high-profile food safety stories, including the half-billion Salmonella egg recall and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Helena’s work has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, NBC News, and elsewhere. She has appeared on BBC, CNBC, and is widely cited by mainstream and niche media. She tweets about food and agriculture policy at @hbottemiller.

At an FDA lab in Denver, Microbiologist Melissa Nucci preps for testing peanut butter samples for Salmonella. Photo courtesy of FDA’s flickr. With a globalized food supply brought to us by increasingly complex supply chains, foodborne illness outbreaks are notoriously tough to solve. These outbreaks often involve multiple states and
Continue Reading Tracking Down the Source of Outbreaks: It’s Complicated

Food safety experts are scratching their heads after a Washington Post article suggested last week that certain chemicals used in poultry processing might be masking the presence of Salmonella. It’s a scandalous theory that could explain why government data show big reductions in Salmonella rates in poultry plants while human
Continue Reading Are Chemicals Commonly Used in Poultry Plants Masking Salmonella?

In response to growing frustration and increased media attention surrounding the response to the ongoing Cyclospora outbreak, which has now sickened at least 418 people in 16 states, Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) on Thursday “demanded” answers from federal health officials about why they have not given the public more information.
Continue Reading As Frustration Mounts, Rep. DeLauro Seeks Answers on Cyclospora Outbreak Response

Nearly 200,000 pounds of Chilean chicken is being recalled in the United States for dioxins only because the levels found violate Chile’s domestic limits, according to federal food safety officials. In other words, the 126,000 pounds of chicken currently being held at the border is there only because Chile recalled
Continue Reading USDA: Level of Dioxin in Chile's Chicken Recall Would Not Have Sparked Recall in U.S.

Food & Water Watch, a Washington, DC-based advocacy group, said Monday it’s concerned about the way the U.S. Department of Agriculture is regulating meat imports following last weekend’s recall of nearly 200,000 pounds of imported chicken for dioxins — toxic pollutants that can pose a public health risk. On Saturday,
Continue Reading Dioxin Chicken Recall Prompts Questions from Food & Water Watch

Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is releasing two long-awaited rules aimed at improving the safety of imported foods, which now make up about 15 percent of the U.S. food supply. The measures, mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act, will require that importers verify their suppliers are employing
Continue Reading FDA Releases Two Major Rules to Boost Oversight of Imported Foods

The U.S. government will extend its review of the proposed sale of Smithfield Foods to Shuanghui International, which would be the largest Chinese takeover of a U.S. company, Smithfield said on Wednesday. The Virginia-based company said the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the interagency group charged
Continue Reading Government Extends Review of Smithfield-Shuangui Deal

Clover Food Lab, a popular group of restaurants and food trucks in the Boston area that sells locally sourced vegetarian food, had a “really pitiful” food safety program leading up to a local Salmonella outbreak tied to the company, according a leading food safety and restaurant inspection expert. After the
Continue Reading Expert: Boston Restaurants Closed for Salmonella Had 'Pitiful' Food Safety Program