Kyle Wolden, a nine year old boy from Mount Vernon, Washington and the son of a baseball coach at Stanwood High School, got to run the bases at Safeco Field before the Seattle Mariners’ game yesterday.  45,876 fans of Seattle Mariners baseball became even bigger fans of Kyle’s, and now probably have a better understanding of

Not exactly fresh out of committee, but out of committee nonetheless, senate bill 510 (a/k/a the Food Safety Modernization Act) makes its way to the senate floor soon, possibly this week.  The full senate debate and subsequent vote is certainly timely, as just today Michael Moss was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his story on Stephanie Smiths E. coli O157:H7 illness and Linda Rivera’s long-awaited emergence from a Nevada hospital where she has spent almost a year after also being infected by E. coli O157:H7.  Stephanie was sickened by a hamburger made by Cargill, and Linda by contaminated cookie dough made by Nestle

The Food Safety Modernization Act is truly an important piece of legislation, in that it affects every citizen of this country, and even some abroad, on a daily basis.  The bill substantially modifies the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetics Act, and generally gives the Food and Drug Administration better authority and ability to monitor the safety of our food supply, and take quicker and more effective action for food companies that don’t adequately protect against foodpoisoning risks. 

Among other, more specific, things, the Food Safety Modernization Act:


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 In 1999, several states reported clusters of Salmonella Newport, an antibiotic resistant strain of the bug, with an indistinguishable PFGE pattern and the same anti-microbial resistance pattern.  The states reported to PulseNet, the national database for foodborne disease surveillance, which prompted an investigation into the cause of the outbreak.

In the investigation, health officials found that


According to Cargill and FSIS press releases: Cargill Meat Solutions said it is voluntarily recalling approximately 1,084,384 pounds of ground beef produced at its Wyalusing, Pa., Cargill Regional Beef facility because of the possible presence of E. coli O157:H7. The ground beef products subject to recall were produced at the Wyalusing plant between Oct. 8 and 11, 2007, and were distributed to retailers nationwide.  In addition to the below listed products, there are various weights and varieties of ground beef, ground chuck, and ground sirloin product that were distributed for further processing and repackaging and will not bear the same establishment number on the package.  Products subject to recall are:


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