Monday, August 15, 2011

Summertime Food Smarts

The American Dietetic Association (ADA) and ConAgra Foods are jointly sponsoring an initiative to get bloggers to write about food safety.  In return, the bloggers are entered to win an iPad in a raffle.

To be eligible, the blog entries must be at least 400 words, and they must link back to the ADA / ConAgra sponsored website  This website offers advice on how consumers can protect themselves from foodborne illness by washing hands, heating cooked foods to the right temperature, chilling foods properly, and throwing food out at the appropriate time.

The ADA / ConAgra sponsored website makes no suggestion whatsoever that food manufacturers should take care to ensure that their food is safe.  There is no mention of past food safety problems for ConAgra.  I could find no advice for consumers on what foods or food sources have the highest rate of contamination with pathogens.  There is a ticker applet in the right sidebar of the website, listing recent food recalls from USDA.  Yet, for this website, the burden of ensuring food safety rests with the consumer's kitchen practices alone.

Participating blogs adhered to this same uncritical convention, as far as I can see.  You can find all the participating blogs by googling "summertime food smarts" and "iPad" together.  The blogs were required to disclose their participation in the raffle.  If any reader can find any mention in any participating blog post that manufacturers share any responsibility for food safety, please report your findings in the comments.

In 2002, ConAgra recalled 19 million pounds of beef trim and fresh and frozen beef products (.pdf) in connection with an E. coli outbreak that involved 28 illnesses and 1 death.  This was one of the top 6 worst such recalls ever.  I believe ConAgra subsequently spun off its beef operations.

Although this post would have been eligible, U.S. Food Policy did not enter the ADA / ConAgra raffle as compensation for writing on this topic.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Interesting. Thanks very much for the post.