Topics in the news: food safety, coal ash

Some resources that could be helpful in reporting on a couple of hot topics today:

Peanut butter is suspected in an outbreak of salmonella that appears to have affected about 200 people in 42 states, prompting a recall of two kinds of peanut butter. Thomas Hargrove of Scripps Howard News Service wrote about foodborne illness outbreaks in a 2007 article for AHCJ. He found that some states did a good job of diagnosing and tracking down the causes of outbreaks, while other states “are virtually blind in detecting outbreaks of food illness.” Read more about the findings and get links to some related resources.

Following the failure of a retention pond for the TVA Kingston Fossil plant, dumping fly ash over 400 acres in Tennessee, Sen. Barbara Boxer has said she plans to file legislation calling on the federal Environmental Protection Agency to regulate coal fly ash ponds across the country. The National Library of Medicine has information about potential effects of fly ash exposure on human health following the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant Coal Ash Spill in December 2008.

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