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Why is Food Still Making Us Sick in the 21st Century?


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Bill Marler's presentation at the Association of Healthcare Journalists' 2012 Health Journalism conference. Marler shares information about foodborne illness outbreak litigation with journalists who write about healthcare and the food industry.

Published in: News & Politics
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Why is Food Still Making Us Sick in the 21st Century?

  1. 1. Why is Food StillMaking Us Sick –“Killing Us” - in the21st Century?
  2. 2. Food Production is a Risky Business • Competitive Markets • Stockholder Pressures for Increasing Profits over Long-term Safety • Lack of Clear Reward For Marketing and Practicing Food Safety • Brand Awareness Risks
  3. 3. Sometimes People are Just Bad
  4. 4. It is a Global Food Economy
  5. 5. What we all want to Avoid
  6. 6. Litigation as Incentive Odwalla Jack in the Box
  7. 7. New England Journal of MedicineMarch 24, 1983 We investigated two outbreaks of an unusual gastrointestinal illness that affected at least 47 people in Oregon and Michigan in February through March and May through March and May Through June 1982. The illness was characterized by severe through crampy abdominal pain, initially watery diarrhea followed by grossly bloody diarrhea, and little or no fever.
  8. 8. New England Journal of MedicineMarch 24, 1983 In Oregon, 25 of 26 cases and 47 neighborhood controls were interviewed. During the two weeks before onset of illness, 21 of 25 cases (84 per cent) but only 13 controls (28 per cent) had eaten at Restaurant 1, one of a chain of fast- food restaurants (Chain A) … three of the four who did not recall having eaten at Restaurant 1 had eaten at another Chain A restaurant within a week before the onset of illness. In Michigan, 18 of 21 cases and their age- matched neighborhood controls were interviewed … Seventeen of 18 cases and 4 of 16 controls had eaten at either Restaurant 2 or Restaurant 3 of Chain A within 10 days before the onset of illness …
  9. 9. Something for Summer Reading "A stunningly researched work, "Poisoned" reads as though Clarence Darrow had written "The Jungle.” "Just in time for BBQ season, an investigative journalist traces the path of a devastating outbreak of food-borne illness linked to hamburger meat.”