Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mark Bittman on chicken and salmonella...

I think Mark rants a bit but hey, if Sweden can sell salmonella-free chicken it's certainly possible if we want to do it and this raises a very good question about who is in charge of our food safety and security...a really good dinner party conversation topic!


Should You Eat Chicken?

I tell this friend about the latest salmonella outbreak, and she asks me, “Should I stop eating chicken?”

It’s a good question. In recent weeks, salmonella on chicken has officially sickened more than 300 people (the Centers for Disease Control says there are 25 illnesses for every one reported, so maybe 7,500) and hospitalized more than 40 percent of them, in part because antibiotics aren’t working. Industry’s reaction has been predictably disappointing: the chicken from the processors in question — Foster Farms — is still being shipped into the market. Regulators’ responses have been limited: the same chicken in question is still being sold.
Until the Food Safety and Inspection Service (F.S.I.S.) of the Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.) can get its act together and start assuring us that chicken is safe, I’d be wary.

Read the rest at the New York Times.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

prions from veggies?

This just in from the American Society of Mammalogists' newsletter...

Just When You Thought It Was Safe to be a Vegetarian!

Prions similar to those that cause chronic wasting disease can be taken up from the soil by plants such as corn, alfalfa, and tomatoes.  The plants can then be infectious to lab mice.  The findings from the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin document a new potential pathway for exposure to this fatal brain disease.  Spread of CWD has previously been shown via direct contact with infected deer and contaminated soil.  

One more reason why we need to take care of our animals.  Chronic Wasting Disease has been hypothesized to jump to wild animals from captively-housed animals in excessively high density conditions...