In 2006, I almost died after eating spinach contaminated with E. coli. I spent nearly a month in and out of multiple emergency rooms and urgent care facilities. When I was able to return home, I had lost nearly 20 percent of my total body weight, and my recovery lasted five additional months of continuous treatment.More info
"The first thing Pocatello resident Jeff Allgood will tell you about his son Kyle is that he was always in a hurry. Kyle was born in the Allgood family's upstairs bathroom because he arrived faster than an ambulance could. He was a quick learner and walked and talked well before he was expected to.
"He was pretty excited to get into this life, I guess," said Allgood. "That's kind of how his whole life went. He was always in a hurry to grow up."
Kyle was a strong, healthy and active 2-year-old when he fell ill with what appeared to be a bad stomach flu.
"It didn't really worry us at first," said Allgood. Kyle's older sister had been ill for several days, and Kyle didn't begin to show symptoms until after she had recovered. But in the first few days of his illness Kyle's symptoms worsened, and Allgood suspected he knew why.
"We had heard the reports that there was E. Coli in spinach and we were eating it regularly," he said. "We said that we think that it's E. Coli, so that's how we were treating him the whole time."
"Since Kyle's death, Allgood has become an advocate for better food safety regulations. He is currently involved in a campaign to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act, a law signed by President Barack Obama in January 2011. The act is a consolidation of several laws drafted gradually over the last 15 years and serves mainly to update food safety provisions upheld by the Food and Drug Administration. According to Sandra Eskin, project director of the Pew Health Group's Food Safety Campaign, certain food safety regulations haven't been changed since the 1930s.
"What you were dealing with in terms of food safety threats at that point are very different than what we deal with now," Eskin said."
For more insight on the death of two-year-old Kyle Allgood, this is his family's story.
When you spice up your food, you may be adding filth with flavor, according to a new report by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA found that 12 percent of imported spices are contaminated with insect parts, rodent hairs, animal feces and other debris like twigs, plastic and rubber bands. Nearly 7 percent of the tests turned up Salmonella.More info
Food safety advocates are urging members of a House-Senate conference committee to strike down a pair of GOP-backed amendments to the farm bill now under consideration. The Make Our Food Safe Coalition and the Safe Food Coalition take exception at a pair of measures attached to the House’s version of the legislation, approved in July.More info
The Make our Food Safe Coalition and the Safe Food Coalition sent a letter expressing opposition to actions that would further delay implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act to Frank Lucas (R-OK), Chair of Overall Farm Bill Conference. The correspondence, which went to all Farm Bill Conferees as well, voiced concerns specifically with amendments offered by Representative Steve King (R-IA) and Representative Dan Benishek (R-MI).More info
The government shutdown has caused staff reductions at two important federal health agencies, increasing the risk of serious harm to American consumers from food-borne illnesses. The two agencies — the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — have decided to focus their remaining resources on imminent threats. But they have shut down very important work that allows them to spot potentially serious problems in advance and take steps to head them off. The longer Congressional Republicans allow the shutdown to continue, the greater the danger of harm.More info
The following Q&A—prepared by the food and medical products programs at The Pew Charitable Trusts–helps explain how the federal government shutdown is affecting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other agencies and departments with responsibility to protect the public’s health.More info
"Six years ago, I learned a painful lesson. I bought Veggie Booty for our triplets, who were 20 months old at the time. That purchase ultimately opened my eyes to the need for better oversight of food that comes from abroad."More info
Consumers across the United States are demanding meat and poultry raised without antibiotics—and large producers, restaurants, and other institutions are listening. Following is a list of some leading companies offering responsibly produced food.More info
"The public will have its first chance Thursday and Friday to weigh in on new federal rules aimed at improving the safety of food imported into the United States. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's first public meeting on imported food safety rules that the agency initially proposed in July is taking place in Washington, D.C."More info
On Thursday, February 28 and Friday, March 1, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will hold public hearings in Washington, D.C., on FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) draft rules released earlier this year. The public will also have the opportunity to testify at agency meetings in Chicago and Portland on March 11-12 and March 27-28, respectively.More info
"For three days after Merrill Behnke ate the tainted Italian cheese she felt fine. On the fourth night, Behnke developed an intense headache. She awoke the next morning to severe body pains and a temperature of 102 degrees. A lumbar tap and a CT scan indicated meningitis. A test of her spinal fluid linked the illness to Listeria, a rare but deadly bacterium. Behnke, 31, will recount her bout with food poisoning in Washington, D.C., Thursday at a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hearing on how to ensure that foods from abroad are safe."More info
"As we have become a nation of aspirational gourmets, we like to import our coffee beans, cheeses and wines. We want them to be exotic, connoting adventure and an appreciation for the extraordinary. Thanks to globalization, an increasing number of less-fancy foods are imported, too. But there is a problem with this bounty. We want to eat well and not die of food poisoning."More info
"Proposed new rules aimed at improving the safety of imported food were bottled up so long that some advocates were worried that the Obama administration had lost the political will to put them into effect."More info
"As a physician in Aurora training to care for children with injuries or illnesses that impact their ability to move, I am used to helping my patients recover from all sorts of ailments; spinal cord injury, cancer, and neurologic disorders. However, I was surprised to learn about another extraordinarily common health threat that may bring patients to my hospital: food-borne illness."More info