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Entries in food safety (4)


Understanding new poll about safety of GMO food

Is GMO food (containing genetically modified organisms) generally unsafe to eat? Yes, say 57% of the general American public but only 11% of "scientists," according to a widely misquoted study from Pew Research. The polls addressed in Public and Scientists' Views on Science and Society asked both groups about thirteen core topics, from animal research to vaccines, with separate questions for each group. The gap between the two groups was largest for GMOs, but key questions were not asked and even the results have been twisted.

Here are some key points to help you think about and discuss this topic.

What was asked: are GMOs generally safe to eat?

After defining GMOs in terms of their benefits, the survey asked a limited question: can most people safely eat GMO food?

The public was given a glowing definition of GMOs, including popular benefits but no concerns, then asked the first question. Here's the wording from the survey with the results:

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Preparing for a power outage and winter storm. Safe eating tips.

At any minute, I expect to lose electricity. The snow is drifting outside and coming down hard. Ice is on the way. Here's how I got ready for living without heat and electricity for several days. I hope this checklist can help you when a winter storm approaches. [Update: we only lost power for a few hours in 2014, but the first big storm of 2016, Jonas, is outside right now. I just packed the cooler shown below and am hoping for the best.]

cooler packed for winter storm

Plan for safety -- keep food out of the danger zone between 40˚ and 140˚F

  • Perishable food that's been in the danger zone for over four hours may cause food poisoning.
  • Put a day's worth of perishable food in a cooler

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SNAPcut Challenge Day 3: disaster strikes! and strikes again!

Ai yi yi! Last night, I posted my SNAPcut Challenge grocery list, watched The Voice, and paid my bills online. Then I staggered off to bed.

This morning, I woke up to find that I'd left two (two!) pots of food on the stove over night and three sweet potatoes in the oven. Would I have to throw out four servings of split-pea soup, two servings of red cabbage with apples, and those precious sweet potatoes?

#SNAPcut Challenge Dinner night 2 - split-pea soup, red cabbage with apples, corn bread from

Then I called to check a mysterious automated response I got when ...

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NC Food Safety Forum: Good Laws & Actions, but Budget Cuts Ahead

When I registered for the  North Carolina Food Safety Forum, held today in the Research Triangle Park, I asked whether the free lunch would be vegetarian friendly. We haven't thought about the menu yet, came the reply, but we'll keep that in mind. When I saw the tchotchkes, snack cakes, soft drinks, and bowls of candy awaiting participants this morning, I decided not to stay for lunch.

But I am glad that I attended this interesting forum on illness caused by food-borne bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants, even if it didn't address illness caused by eating unhealthy but sanitary food. When people talk about cutting funding to the government, I always wonder if they realize the importance of food inspectors and the work that goes into creating a safe and reliable food supply.

Read below for highlights of how the U.S. budget may affect food safety, how the FDA's new powers will lead to safer food, how good agricultural practices make produce safer, and how the Food Safety Taskforce reacted to recent tornadoes in North Carolina.

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