Poisons on Our Plates: The Real Food Safety Problem in the United States

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The safety of our food supply is an environmental health issue that affects every American citizen. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than 76 million people in the United States suffer from foodborne illnesses every year. Microbiological contamination—bacteria, viruses, and parasites—is the leading cause of foodborne illness. Morrone faults the media for focusing the anxieties of the American public on such issues as irradiated food, genetically modified foods, and mad cow disease, while ignoring the microbial foodborne pathogens that are running amok in our food supply—except when point-source outbreaks of E. coli in spinach and green onions or salmonella in peanut butter sicken thousands of people at once.

Many readers will be alarmed to learn from Poisons on Our Plates that there is no federal environmental health policy or agency that controls the bacteria and viruses in our food supply. The FDA Food Code and various voluntary systems overseen by local health departments are woefully inadequate. Drawing on disturbing stories told by food safety professionals as well as on statistical studies, the author paints a grimly fascinating picture of the impact of bacteria and viruses on our food supply and how they can make us sick. Morrone examines the increased risks that come with the rise in food imports from high-contamination countries such as China and Mexico. She advocates major changes to our nation's environmental health policies in order to control the growing dangers that foodborne illness pose to public health.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Poisons on Our Plates addresses serious, significant public health and economic issues related to microbiology, food safety, regulation, inspection, and the lack thereof. Laudably, Morrone (Ohio Univ.) extols the importance of environmental health, personal hygiene, and immunization while being cynical about food-borne outbreaks she labels as 'scare of the moment.' . . . Recommended. General readers and all undergraduate and two-year technical program students."



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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313349751
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/30/2008
  • Series: Politics and the Environment Series
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

MICHELE MORRONE is Associate Professor of Environmental Health Science and the Director of Environmental Studies at Ohio University. She is a registered sanitarian and a credentialed food safety professional. She is the past Chief of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Education and has served on the boards of numerous environmental organizations. She has authored or co-authored more than 45 publications on issues related to educating the public about environmental health risks, including Sound Science, Junk Policy: Environmental Health Science and the Decision-Making Process (Greenwood, 2002).

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Table of Contents

Series Foreword     ix
Introduction     xiii
Food Microbiology 101     1
Vegetables Can Be Hazardous to Your Health     25
Rotten Eggs and Peanut Butter     45
Floating Viruses     65
There Is Something in the Water     81
Ready-to-Eat?     99
Consumer Beware     117
Unusual Priorities: From Bad Apples to Mad Cows     133
Bibliography and Further Reading     153
Index     165
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