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food borne Pathogens...

10 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Here are common foodborne pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms) that often show up as flu like symptoms, AKA food poisioning.....These are the sort of things that encouraged me to take a closer look at diet and research where my food was coming from and not just 'trusting any old thing" alot of illness are foodborne and water borne...

Campylobacter jejuni

Cause of Illness: Infection, even with low numbers

Incubation Period: One to seven days

Symptoms: Nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, headache - varying in severity

Possible Contaminant: Raw milk, eggs, poultry, raw beef, cake icing, water


Cryptosporidium parvum

Cause of Illness: Drinking contaminated water; eating raw or undercooked food; putting something in the mouth that has been contaminated with the stool of an infected person or animal; direct contact with the droppings of infected animals.

Incubation Period: Two to 10 days

Symptoms: Watery diarrhea accompanied by mild stomach cramping, nausea, loss of appetite. Symptoms may last 10 to 15 days.

Possible Contaminants: Contaminated water or milk, person-to-person transmission (especially in child daycare settings). Contaminated food can also cause infections.


Cause of Illness: Infection with Listeria monocytogenes

Incubation Period: Two days to three weeks

Symptoms: Meningitis, sepsticemia, miscarriage

Possible Contaminant: Vegetables, milk, cheese, meat, seafood


Cause of Illness: Infection with Salmonella species

Incubation Period: 12 to 24 hours

Symptoms: Nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, headache, chills, prostration

Possible Contaminant: Meat, poultry, egg or milk products

Cause of Illness: Infection with Yersinia enterocolitica

Incubation Period: One to three days

Symptoms: Enterocolitis, may mimic acute appendicitis

Possible Contaminant: Raw milk, chocolate milk, water, pork, other raw meats

Every single study ever done by the goverment has shown that we are having a epidiemic of food borne illness in this country becasue of the manner of which the food is produced , the manner of which the food is processed and long distance transportation of food and how food is decentralized, yet they change nothing their answer is instead of localized food they irridate(nuke) especially after 9/11 you would think encouraging local growth would be a priority but it isn't.....any thoughts???

any thougths??????Discuss.......

Edited by Sheri berri

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Posted (edited)

Interesting how you left out veggies and fruits...

I got sick last month because I ate some bad carrots when the date on the bag said they were still good.

My lettuce is sometimes rotten as well while the date says it's fine.

Hell, I remember last year I bought a watermelon that said "seedless" and it was mislabled while it contained full black seeds.

Liers and cheats in the veggie/fruit business. :hmm:

Edited by __Kratos__

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Posted (edited)

I too have had food poisioning from brocolli at a resturant not to long ago..

not form anything else though...i have heard of some from salad bars. too.... i was speaking of food borne its all inclusive, pesticides too are common in conventional produce.....this isn't a vegan thread its a thread about food and water borne illness.....reread my original post .......

Edited by Sheri berri

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Yet again, the Hypnocrasy exposed... Thanks, Sheri.

ConAgra, Monsanto, Dole, Purdue, Kellogs, General Mills, and all of the other Agri-Business Mega-Corps; the Health "Care" Industry, the Pharmaceutical Industry, et al... along with the Milk/Dairy/Meat Industries and all of the associated Lobbies wouldn't allow it to be included in the Patriot Act.

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The question for our political leaders is has the issue attained a critical level of public consciousness for further unwarranted actions to be taken?


From: University of Minnesota


Course Title: Environmental and Occupational Health Policy

Topic: Irridiation Policy in US Public School Lunch Programs


According to a 2002 audit by the General Accounting Office, outbreaks of food borne illness in U.S. schools have increased at a yearly rate of about 10 percent. In 1999, there were 50 school-related outbreaks nationwide with 2,900 illnesses. Supporters of irradiation say it could reduce the number of food borne illnesses.

The 2002 Farm Bill directs the USDA to not prohibit the use of approved food safety technologies on foods purchased for the National School Lunch Program. This legislation effectively opened the door for the purchase of irradiated beef products with federal funds.

On May 29, 2003 the U.S. Department of Agriculture released specifications for the purchase of irradiated ground beef in the National School Lunch Program. The use of this technology is not mandatory. Local school districts have the option of ordering irradiated beef products to be served in their school cafeterias. While several consumer groups have expressed concern that irradiated beef is unsafe, there is additional concern that students and families are not informed when these products are being served. The USDA strongly encourages schools to provide information to school employees and student families, but they lack the authority to mandate the provision of this information.

The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service provided all school districts with an informational package to prepare them to decide whether to order irradiated beef products. In addition, the package included a brochure with answers to commonly asked questions about irradiation.




Radiation is broadly defined as energy moving through space in invisible waves. Radiant energy has differing wavelengths and degrees of power. Light, infrared heat and microwaves are forms of radiant energy. So are the waves that bring radio and television broadcasts into our homes.

The radiation of interest in food preservation is ionizing radiation, also known as irradiation. These shorter wavelengths are capable of damaging microorganisms such as those that contaminate food or cause food spoilage and deterioration. Sources of ionizing radiation used on food products include gamma rays, X-rays and electron beams. Gamma rays are radioactive fission products of Cobalt60 and Cesium-137. Cobalt60 is the most widely used source of gamma radiation. It is produced by exposing natural cobalt59 to neutrons in a nuclear reactor, where the reaction between the two species yields the radioactive cobalt60.


Irradiation is known as a cold process. It does not significantly increase the temperature or change the physical or sensory characteristics of most foods. An irradiated apple, for example, will still be crisp and juicy. Fresh or frozen meat can be irradiated without cooking it.

During irradiation, the energy waves affect unwanted organisms but are not retained in the food. Similarly, food cooked in a microwave oven, or teeth and bones that have been X-rayed do not retain those energy waves.

Ionizing radiation can eliminate or greatly reduce the populations of microbial pathogens, and extend the shelf life while preserving the desired nutritional and sensory properties of refrigerated poultry and red meat. Food borne pathogens can be greatly reduced in population and sometimes completely eliminated from foods by low doses of ionizing radiation.


When food is hit with enormous doses of gamma rays (usually from cobalt-80) radiotoxin molecules are created. The FDA calls these molecules “radiolytic by-products” and classifies them into two categories, known and unknown. The known category includes such compounds as formaldehyde and benzene. The unknown category is defined as chemical molecules that have not been characterized and are not found anywhere in nature.

Vitamins E, K, the entire B group, amino acids and essential fatty acids are all known to be adversely affected. Irradiation also accelerates the growth of a nasty mold called aspergillus. This mold produces potent natural carcinogens called aflatoxins. One study conducted by the FDA itself in 1979, demonstrated that food irradiation increases aflatoxin production by more than one-hundred-fold.

The irradiation process only penetrates up to 1-2 inches. Not all pathogens are surface phenomenon, which may create a false sense of security.

The bactericidal efficacy of a given dose of irradiation is also dependent on the following factors:

* the type of organism;

* the numbers of organisms (or spores) originally present;

* the composition of the food;

* the presence or absence of oxygen;

* the physical state of the food during irradiation,

* and the condition of the organisms.



1921: A patent was granted for the process to kill Trichinella spiralis in meat by using x-ray technology.

1963: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved irradiation to control insects in wheat and flour.

1964: The FDA approved irradiation to inhibit sprouting in white potatoes.

1971: The FDA approved irradiation of several packaging materials.

1985: The FDA approved irradiation at specific doses to control T spiralis in pork.

1986: The FDA approved irradiation at specific doses to delay maturation, inhibit growth, and disinfect foods, including vegetables and spices. The Federal Meat Inspection Act [administered by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)] was amended to permit gamma radiation to control T spiralis in fresh or previously frozen pork.

1990: The FDA approved irradiation for poultry to control Salmonella and other food borne bacteria.

1992: The USDA approved irradiation for poultry to control Salmonella and other food borne bacteria.

2000: The USDA’s regulations were amended to allow irradiation of refrigerated and frozen uncooked meat, meat byproducts, and certain other meat food products to reduce levels of food borne pathogens and to extend shelf life.

2003: The USDA approves irradiated beef within the public school lunch programs.



Irradiation Industry

The irradiation industry would favor the use of irradiation as a matter of economic survival. Irradiated beef currently accounts for less than 5% of overall meat sales.



The USDA and FDA support the use of irradiation in the public school system. The USDA states that protection of the public from food borne illness is a priority. The FDA concluded that irradiation is safe in reducing disease-causing microbes and that it does not compromise the nutritional quality of treated products.

Public School Boards

Public school boards have little incentive to purchase irradiated beef. The additional cost ($0.13 to $0.20 per pound, approximately 16%) would place an unacceptable burden upon an already financially stretched system. The salience of concerned parents would cause numerous debates over the issue, thus turning public school systems away from the controversy. If the irradiation process is accepted, the public school system may also benefit from the protection against tort lawsuits in the event a child is sickened by contaminated beef products. However, they may also incur lawsuits from unknown long term effects from the use of irradiation.

Beef Industry

The beef industry will greatly favor irradiation of beef products in the public school system. They believe it twill serve as a protective measure against negative public perception and civil liability in the event of contaminated beef products causing an outbreak of food borne illness.


Students and parents may not even be aware that irradiated beef is being used in the public school system. Irradiated meat will arrive at schools with labels indicating they have been treated by irradiation; however, notification to students and parents is not required. Although there has been little evidence to support the assertion that irradiated beef may potentially be harmful, there is resistance to its use in the schools by some students and family members.

The World Health Organization, American Medical Association and

American Dietetic Association

All three of these groups endorse irradiation as a means to protect against harmful pathogens.

Consumer Groups

Various consumer groups argue that the process destroys vitamins and nutrients and can develop chemicals that are linked to birth defects and cancer, and strongly oppose its use. Consumer surveys have also shown that the vast majority of consumers believe the most effective way to reduce the risk of foodborne illness from bacteria in meat is for people at home to take more care to properly prepare and cook meat.

The Center for Food Safety and The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy feel that more research is needed on irradiation’s safety before serving it to school children.



The following policy proposals outline a course of action that may be implemented with regards to the approval of irradiated beef in the public school system.

1. Continue to provide irradiated beef products to schools who request them under the USDA’s existing regulations.

2. Continue to provide irradiated beef products to schools that request them, but require the school system to inform students and parents of the decision.

3. Reinstate the ban on the use of USDA funds for the purchase of irradiated beef products in school lunch programs.

4. Prohibit the serving of any beef products which have undergone irradiation compliant with USDA specifications.

5. Require all public school lunch programs to use beef products that are treated with irradiation.



Prohibit the use of irradiated products in federally funded school lunch programs until more extensive research becomes available and other measures against food borne illnesses are addressed.

Public Health Benefit From Our Proposal

* Risks associated with long term effects of irradiation will not be passed on to uniformed students.

* Supporters of irradiation will not get a quick fix to global sanitation problems.

* Sanitation practices will have to be improved.

* Will not promote a false sense of security.

* Research for safer alternatives to improve sanitation may be investigated.

* Parental distrust of school boards will not occur.

Economic and Social Costs

* Increased cost of beef will not be passed on to school boards and parents.

* Less time and money will be spent on dealing with concerned students and parents.

* School boards may need to be proactive and invest into developing additional sanitation practices.

* May incur costs associated with alternative federal mandate solutions to food safety.

* Less public distrust.

* Potential tort lawsuits.

Administrative Feasibility

* Repealing the current policy will provide the least complicated solution to administrative problems within the public school lunch program.

* However, the food borne illness issues will not be solved unless:

* Federal legislation implements a more diligent sanitation program.

* The meat/food industry makes significant advances to internal practices.

* School boards take another step to go above and beyond the existing requirements including:

* Additional training

* Awareness programs for staff and students

* Disclosure to parents/students about current regulations would not be an issue.

* The school boards will no longer be the center of the controversy.

Political Considerations

The meat/food industry represents a powerful lobby and the issue of irradiation is primarily driven by financial considerations. We believe the USDA and FDA will never have appropriate funding or legislation necessary to inspect and enforce more stringent regulations upon the beef industry. The USDA and FDA are looking for quick fix to a global health issue. Politicians generally want to avoid conflict; by eliminated the option of feeding irradiated beef to uninformed school children, public distrust will be avoided.

Other political considerations include:

* Environmental issues with irradiation facilities.

* Irradiation of meat may open the doors to additional low cost imported beef thereby exacerbating the problems faced by family farms.

* Additional concerns about possibly contributing to the globalization of the food industry.




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S.T.O.P.-Safe Tables Our Priority

The Four Cornerstones of Safe Food

Comments by Barbara Kowalcyk

September 23, 2004

Washington, DC


Foodborne disease is a serious public health threat that often leads to serious illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year over 76 million - that's one in four - Americans are struck by foodborne illnesses.

The suffering that results from this pathogenic contamination takes a terrible human toll. Victims have suffered heart attacks, blindness, seizures, paralysis, liver failure, kidney failure, brain damage and death due to foodborne illness. I would like to tell you about one child - my child - and the impact foodborne illness has had on my family and my community.

Kevin's Story

Our nightmare began on July 31, 2001, when Kevin awoke with diarrhea and a mild fever. On the evening of August 1st, we took him to the emergency room for bloody diarrhea but were sent home. By the next morning, Kevin was much sicker and was hospitalized for dehydration and bloody stools. Later, that afternoon, we were given the diagnosis: E.coli O157:H7. On August 3rd, Kevin's kidneys started failing. He had developed the dreaded Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). Late that night he was transferred to the Pediatric ICU at the University of Wisconsin's Children's Hospital. Mike and I spent the next eight days living in that hospital - watching our beautiful son slip away from us.

On that first Saturday in the PICU, Kevin received his first dialysis - a three-hour procedure during which he needed to keep still. That's a tall order for any toddler, so my husband, the nurse and two of our friends held his arms and legs while they talked and sang songs to reassure him for the entire treatment. Kevin spent the rest of that day and the next two crawling around a crib in agony. He threw up black bile. He became drawn and his eyes were sunken. He looked like a malnourished third world child. And he smelled - a horrible and overwhelming smell - a smell you could never forget. During those three long days, Kevin begged us to give him water or juice, but the doctors said it would only make him worse. He repeatedly asked to swim in his turtle - a pool we used at home. Kevin finally convinced us to give him a sponge bath and, as soon as the washcloth came near his mouth, he grabbed it, bit down on it and sucked the water out of it. It broke our hearts.

On Tuesday, August 7th, Kevin was placed on a ventilator and continuous dialysis. In hopes of preventing Kevin from remembering this horrible ordeal, doctors heavily sedated him. As the medication would wear off, Kevin would try to pull the tubes out so braces were put on his arms. His body began to swell. Doctors inserted tubes to drain fluid off both of his lungs. By the end of the week, he was receiving more medications than we could count to stabilize his blood pressure and heart rate. He had received eight units of blood. A special bed was ordered to help alleviate some of his pain, but throughout it all the hospital staff remained optimistic. They said that this was typically the way HUS/E.coli kids got through the illness. But for Kevin, all of this was not enough and finally on August 11th at 8:20 pm after being resuscitated twice - as doctors were attempting to put him on a heart-lung machine - our beloved Kevin died. He was only 2 years, 8 months and 1 day old. The autopsy later showed that both Kevin's large and small intestines had died - a condition that is 100% fatal.

I find it difficult to come before you to tell you about the death of my son. Kevin was a wonderful little boy who died a horrific death. But as tragic as Kevin's story is, he is not alone - 325,000 Americans are hospitalized and 5,000 die each year from foodborne illness. If our nation is to make meaningful progress in reducing death and disease from foodborne illness, stronger food safety policies need to be put in place. These food safety policies should include these four cornerstones:

1. A unified, independent food safety agency whose primary mission is to protect public health.

2. Mandatory recall authority over contaminated food products.

3. A uniform, mandatory and enforceable traceability system designed to protect public health.

4. Pathogen testing with enforceable performance standards.

"Who's on First?" A Single Food Safety Agency

Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" is a classic comedy sketch. Unfortunately, it can also be a reflection of America's food safety network. Just think about the recent finding of the first BSE-positive cow in the United States. It was unclear who was ultimately responsible: FDA or USDA; in other words, "Who's on First?"

The food that ends up on our dining tables travels a long journey. From the farm or ranch, food moves through many stages of processing before entering the wholesale distribution system. Consumers buy food at the retail level (either in restaurants or stores) and finally the food is prepared and eaten. Governmental responsibility for ensuring the safety of your food shifts depending on where in the supply chain the food currently resides.

Today, the oversight of the safety of the American food system is severely fragmented, with jurisdiction scattered across numerous federal agencies, including USDA, FDA, HHS, EPA, CDC, ARS and DOC. In addition, there are over fifty state and thousands of local public health departments that monitor foodborne illnesses under diverse regulatory programs. The National Academies of Science in its recent 2003 report, entitled Scientific Criteria to Ensure Safe Food, found that the lack of integration among agencies and between federal and state governments is inhibiting the implementation and enforcement of good food safety policies. We agree.

An effective food safety system must extend from farm to table. Coupled with the ambiguity of "who is responsible" - or "Who's on First?" certain segments of the food production system have been virtually ignored. In fact, the current food safety system ignores some of the most obvious contamination entry points along the food chain. For example, while responsibility for the safety of produce lies primarily with the FDA, it has little role in supervising the growing and processing of produce. FDA conducts no inspections on farms, except in response to a foodborne illness outbreak. In a similar fashion, animal manure, which is frequently a vehicle of produce pathogen contamination, has no federal regulations that prevent its use in direct application on human food crops.

Transportation of Food Products

With today's global economy, your food travels great distances before it winds up on your dinner plate and the conditions in which it is transported can easily affect food safety. FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) are still debating which agency is responsible for inspecting food in transit.

This disjointed state of food safety regulations and enforcement prevents the development of consistent strategies and policies with regard to food safety measures. Gaps in our food production system will continue until there is a single, federal food safety agency whose mission is to protect public health, with enforceable jurisdiction that extends from the farm to the table.

"Will You PLEASE Recall Your Meat?" Mandatory Recall Authority

Most Americans are shocked to learn that all food recalls are voluntary and that the agency charged with that food product's oversight does not have authority to force a recall, even when scientific testing conclusively establishes the presence of deadly bacteria in food that is on its way to our kitchens. Our government can only "request" a recall, while food producers retain the right "to refuse to comply."

Even when it is agreed by both government and industry that a food is contaminated, there is a period of negotiations between the food producer and the agency charged with the food's oversight. Weeks may lapse before a recall is announced. As a result, bacterial contamination in our food supply is typically not brought to the public's attention until after the food has continued down the distribution pipeline towards our supermarkets and dinner tables. On the other hand, recall of contaminated food is often of critical importance, representing the last opportunity to protect public health by removing contaminated products from the food pipeline.

Congress and the President MUST give agencies, like USDA and FDA, the authority to order mandatory recalls of contaminated food products.

Accountability Fosters Responsibility: Traceability

Americans want clean, wholesome food that is traceable to its source and accountable for its safety. Americans do not want deadly pathogens in their food. The food inspection program is financed by the public's taxes for their protection. Taxpayers expect swift and sure action on the part of governmental agencies to remove defective products from commerce whenever it is identified.

When the prevention system fails and people are sickened by food that carries deadly pathogens, it is critical to quickly trace that defective product back to the original source. Information and accountability are essential to a successful system of food safety. If a product cannot be linked to its source, the entity responsible for the product cannot be held accountable for its quality.

Many food products, particularly fresh seafood, meat, poultry and produce, are not labeled to identify the producers or processors of the product. "Anonymous" food interferes with effective trace back in cases of foodborne illnesses and outbreaks. It is well known among food processors that foodborne illnesses are rarely traced to their source. The likelihood of finding and correcting contamination, therefore, is very slim. Allowing "anonymous" food into commerce contradicts a major food safety principle: food purveyors should be responsible for the safety of their products.

All food products should be labeled with a brand name, farm of origin, and subsequent processing information. This type of labeling would facilitate more accurate and effective recalls and would improve product recovery. In addition, food producers would benefit in the long run. When recalled food cannot be identified, sometimes a whole class of foods is implicated. Clear product identification would limit the negative consequences of a recall to those establishments that are identified as responsible for allowing contaminated food to enter the marketplace.

Traceability in food products is eminently reasonable and doable. Indeed, it is being done already in other jurisdictions. For example, the UK has adopted a nation-wide bovine tracking system. Closer to home, a Colorado-based meat company has implemented a bar code system that tracks food products from the individual animal to the final product. FDA requires origin labels on mulluscan shellfish to identify the harvester, date of harvest, and location of harvest.

Stronger accountability increases the likelihood that establishments will take precautions to avoid recalls. The irresponsible advantage that food producers have enjoyed to skirt this accountability must be eliminated. There is nothing "proprietary" about safely slaughtering animals, harvesting crops or packaging and distributing raw and/or fresh food products. Accountability is a goal that Americans demand on many levels and in many areas. Food producers should not be excluded from this aspect of market scrutiny.

Putting Science in the Mix: Enforceable Performance Standards

In 1998, the U.S. Department of Agriculture switched from its traditional sight, smell and probe meat and poultry inspection system to a process oriented, science-based system called Hazard Analysis at Critical Control Points (HACCP). The emergence of deadly new pathogens in the preceding years had made adoption of this new inspection system a critical priority. Only the microbial testing promised by this new system would be able to detect these powerful bacteria. Enforceable pathogen testing can verify that food safety systems are working.

The first step in pathogen testing begins with the establishment of performance standards through scientific baseline studies designed to provide objective and meaningful information with which food safety systems can be evaluated. Ideally, each segment of the food safety chain and each oversight area would have a baseline. However, due to the extreme cost of conducting baseline studies, USDA opted to start with the seven meat and poultry products that carry the heaviest load of pathogens harmful to people. The Microbiological Baseline Surveys were conducted in the 1990's to estimate national prevalence for selected foodborne pathogens and were used to establish performance standards in these seven products. As noted by the National Academies of Science, these studies were flawed in their design and scope, especially in regard to ground meat products, and need be reviewed on a regular basis in order to assess if pathogen contamination has decreased. Unfortunately, USDA has not yet repeated these studies. Without statistically appropriate baseline studies that are reviewed on a timely schedule, it will be difficult to gauge which processes and interventions are effective and what segments of the food safety chain require greater attention

The second step is enforcing those performance standards so that contaminated products do not reach American consumers. The 1996 HACCP Final Rule gave USDA the authority to shut down plants that failed Salmonella's end-product performance standards three times. Shortly after HACCP's implementation, Supreme Beef, a large supplier for the national school lunch program, failed the Salmonella test three times. USDA attempted to shut down the plant. Supreme Beef responded with a court injunction and the shutdown lasted just one day. In December 2001, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Supreme Beef, thereby challenging HACCP's end-product performance standards.

In addition, HACCP's Final Rule called for E.coli testing for sanitation purposes. According to the USDA's Office of Inspector General (OIG) Audit of the 2002 ConAgra Recall, within weeks of HACCP's implementation, a number of large establishments were granted exemptions from the E.coli testing. The enforceability of the E.coli testing was further compromised in January 2003 when USDA settled with Nebraska Beef after attempting to shut them down for not meeting these very same E.coli tests.

Without enforceable, microbial, critical control point testing and end-product microbial performance standards, it is unlikely that HACCP will achieve its goal of reducing pathogens on raw meat and poultry products.


A single food safety agency, mandatory recall authority, traceability and enforceable pathogen testing. These are the four cornerstones for safe food. We need to work together to improve food safety standards in this country - because not one more child should suffer the kind of death my son Kevin did. On behalf of Kevin, my family and all victims of foodborne illness, I urge all of our presidential candidates to protect consumers by supporting these four cornerstones.

Safe Tables Our Priority 

P.O. Box 4352 

Burlington, VT 05406

Media & Business (802) 863-0555 

Victims & Victims' Families (800) 350-S.T.O.P.



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:yes: It all is based on how the food is prepared...Sheri, I am shocked you left off botulism!

The CDC is taking steps to help prevent, stop, and educate people on food poisoning.

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:yes: It all is based on how the food is prepared...Sheri, I am shocked you left off botulism!

The CDC is taking steps to help prevent, stop, and educate people on food poisoning.

OH and how is that Frog??????

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Through public awareness, the weekly MRM, and many, MANY other ways.

You still forgot the most common type of food-poisoning, botulism.

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Through public awareness, the weekly MRM, and many, MANY other ways.

You still forgot the most common type of food-poisoning, botulism.

Frog it wasn't on the list but good point......

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