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Food safety, food danger.

Following Tommy Thompson's resignation and surprise press conference remarks about the vulnerability of our food supply to terrorism, we asked a cross section of our shoppers if they shared his concern and how they felt about food safety and the FDA's report that there were 76 MILLION cases of food poisoning in the U.S. last year.

Those responding to our question had two things to say:

1-No, they didn't think that our food supply was nearly as vulnerable to terrorism as Thompson suggested. As one respondent said: "Water yes, food no." Another said: "I think we have more to fear from ourselves than terrorists."

2-Yes, they believed food poisoning was widespread and that the 76 million was a believable number of cases for last year.

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They put most of the blame for widespread food poisonings on consumers themselves.

* "Many people do really ignorant things with their food. They allow food to cool for hours on the counter or stovetop before putting in the fridge, or leave the roast or pot of chili on the counter while they eat, and for the next hour or more it takes them to get around to putting it away."

* "Many people do not hand wash in very hot water so their containers are not clean. Many do not WASH their HANDS before touching food. Too many people use dishcloths, towels and sponges improperly. Many people will eat directly from a container of food and put the same utensil back in to get more."

* "Seems to me that we've had a lot of evidence recently of poor sanitation, particularly as far as meat (particularly hamburger) is concerned. I think meat packer problems are of much greater concern than terrorism."

* "I definitely find the number of cases of food poisoning believable. Not long ago my husband was in the men's room at a fast food restaurant when an employee wearing plastic gloves came in. He rinsed the outside of the gloves to remove food debris, used the restroom, blew his nose, and left the restroom having not removed the gloves or even washed them"

* "To be vulgar about food terrorism: 'hell, no.' The logistics would be pretty cumbersome."

* "This world is made up of people who get a feeling of importance by inventing or repeating scary stuff. I hate to think that Tommy Thompson is one of them. In the meantime, why don't we all just use as much common sense as we can muster when something scary comes to our attention -- and how about being our brother's keeper and look out for our neighbors as well? I'll be careful, but I'll be darned if I'm going to spend my whole life in fear and worry."

* "I don't believe that terrorism has any food safety dangers, except possibly contamination of a city's water supply in a sneak attack. I believe the true dangers are in poor handling, poor refrigeration, poor sanitation, AND poor attitude."

* "When the FDA says there are 76 million cases of food poisoning--I surely DO believe them. What about the cases that aren't reported--like mine?"

A Happy & Safe 2005!
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Author:Doyle, Mona
Publication:The Shopper Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2005
Words:519
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