The Media, following the lead of the Public Health community, loves to create food anxiety.
Here are examples.
Up front is a story about ABC TV News going after a beef company.
And Oprah making stupid remarks about Mad Cow Disease, damaging the beef industry severely.
Then we have the destruction of the Hudson Foods on an aggressive recall of 25 million pounds of beef by the Clinton Administration Department of Agriculture. Arkansas based Hudson was in the chicken business and a big competitor of Arkansas company, Tyson. Tyson purchased family owned Hudson for a fire sale price shortly after the recall by the Department of Agriculture. Tyson was a good friend and campaign financiers of the Clinton political campaigns from the Governor to the Presidency. Probably just a coincidence.
How bout GHW Bush appointee, then Clinton Administration FDA boss David Kessler MD JD, a pediatrician, recalling 24,000 gallons of orange juice on the issue of of whether reconstituted frozen orange juice can be called “fresh?”
Read Henry Miller MD on the insanity of regulatory zealots.
Kessler was appointed FDA Commissioner by GHW Bush in 1990 then reappointed by Bill Clinton. It was under his watch that FDA enacted regulations requiring standardized Nutrition Facts labels on food. In one memorable action, he had 24,000 gallons of Citrus Hill orange juice seized because although made from concentrate, it was labeled “fresh”.
Kessler is also known for his role in the FDA’s attempt to regulate cigarettes, which resulted in the FDA v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. case. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the FDA did not have the power to enact and enforce the regulations in question. He was awarded the Public Health Hero award on April 2, 2008 by the UC Berkeley School of Public Health for his work in tobacco regulation. Kessler published a book entitled A Question of Intent, which gave his view of his time at the FDA, focusing on his attempts to change tobacco legislation and the interpretation of that legislation, and his battle with the then-illegal but still used Y1 strain of tobacco.
There is a vulnerable public that can be scared by the food nannies and there is no way to assure the sterility of food supplies except canned or treated and sealed, but even treated and sealed is not foolproof. Food inspections at slaughter houses is a limited things, mostly pertaining to cleanliness. I worked at a Sausage factory when I was in college and in a grocery store with a meat market in high school, and I have been in many slaughterhouses to pick up meat. They are not surgical suites. They sure as hell are not sterile.
Understand this, irradiation of food would reduce risk significantly but too many people are scared to hear radiation.
We can improve but not perfect the safety of the food supply.
We can reduce but not eliminate the problems that occur in food processing for non canned vegetables and of course meat of all kinds.
Chicken, beef and pork processing cannot be sterile.
There is a public health campaign that is directed at food supplies with claims of thousands of lives lost from food poisoning–the numbers may be numbers exaggerated by public health officials and my experience is that occasional a food born disease cluster occurs, but rarely. Frequently the food poisoning scares are magnified by media and public health official reactions.
The e coli 0157:H7 has been identified as releasing a Shiga Toxin that causes in addition to bad bloody invasive diarrhea, in 10 percent of victims, a hemolytic (blood destruction) uremic (kidney damage even failure) syndrome that can even be lethal or permanently damaging. Children and the elderly more vulnerable.
Organically grown fruits and veggies are sometimes fertilized by human or animal manure, negligently or on puropose, with the consequences–an invitation to trouble and an argument for manufactured fertilizers. Fresh produce is a source.
Cleaning and cooking, proper refrigeration–but you know all that.