Recently, an E. coli outbreak sickened dozens of people in eleven states, causing the shut-down of forty-three locations of a major restaurant chain. Around the same time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a nationwide recall of approximately 167,427 pounds of ground beef products for suspected E. coli contamination. Rampant fear spanned across the country, causing paranoia and anxiety among millions.
In today’s well-established, streamlined food processing and distribution industry, how do E. coli and other food-borne pathogens enter and spread in our food chains? What can we do to help improve food safety? With these questions in mind, I visited a large factory farm and a food processing center here in California. After some open-minded talks with the workers, I found some interesting facts which reveal vulnerabilities in the existing commercial food chain.
It’s one of those busy school days. You are summoned up from bed by the alarm clock, barely having enough time to wash your face and brush your teethbeforeyou rush to the school. You tell yourself and everyone: I do not have time for breakfast. When you get hungry in the later part of the morning, you gobble up a bag of potato chips while rushing between classrooms during the break. By lunch time, your stomach is full and you now do not have an appetite for lunch—the school lunch is not palatable anyway, plus you have club meetings at lunch time. You skip the lunch with perfect justifications.
The routine above may be common among your peers, but it reveals a serious, health-threatening problem among high school students.Continue reading →