Tag Archives: pathogens

30 years after Jack in the Box scandal,
food safety issues still underreported

E. coli O157:H7

In 1993, hamburgers contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, pictured above, sickened hundreds and killed four children. Photo by Janice Haney Carr/CDC

Decades after fast food chain Jack in the Box served undercooked hamburgers, sickening 700 people and killing four children, lack of federal oversight of the nation’s food supply is still causing illness and death. Seattle-based food safety advocate and trial lawyer Bill Marler, who became nationally prominent on food safety issues after representing families in the Jack in the Box case in 1993, sees many of the same issues today.

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New tip sheet: High-risk pathogen research and resources for coverage

Image of the Lassa Virus by NIAID via Flickr.

A type of research in which scientists alter the genetic code of pathogens with pandemic potential to understand how they might become more dangerous will be in the political and scientific spotlight this year. We have a new tip sheet to help you cover this complex topic.

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Tips for covering the latest news about antimicrobial resistance

Drug resistant pseudomonas aeruginosa

Photo: CDCDrug resistant pseudomonas aeruginosa

The danger of antibiotic resistance became clearer in November with the release of new figures showing that antibiotic resistance is among the top ten causes of mortality in the U.S.

This information is a news hook for all kinds of follow-up stories, from examining the effectiveness of local hospital antibiotic stewardship programs, to parenting articles on the potential dangers of antibiotics to children as we enter the winter season. Continue reading

Deregulation of pork production highlights need to cover food safety

Photo: Anne Akers via Flkr

In late September 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture finalized rules to deregulate the safety inspection process in pork production and to increase the slaughter of animals, despite the opposition of consumer advocates and several former agency officials.

The new rules allow company employees, rather than USDA inspectors, to determine which parts of meat with defects can be removed from the slaughter process. Companies, instead of USDA inspectors, also will be allowed to determine slaughter speeds, based on their ability to prevent fecal contamination. Continue reading

CDC: Update of national antibiotic resistance figures due next month

Photo: Francisco Bengoa via Flickr

Since 2013, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been saying that, in their conservative estimate, at least 2 million people in the U.S. are infected with an antimicrobial resistant pathogen and at least 23,000 die from it.

But those numbers likely are much higher. By mid-November, the public will know more when the agency is expected to release its second antibiotic resistance threat report. The new numbers are likely to show that antimicrobial resistance is worsening and more people are dying from resistant pathogens than previously believed. Continue reading