food safety

A growing number of Americans are buying raw milk. That's milk that has not been pasteurized to kill bacteria.

Flickr Photo/La Piazza Pizzeria (CC BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds interviews Sarah Schacht, who has survived two bouts of E.coli, about her grassroots effort to make restaurant inspection results more public in King County.  

Flickr Photo/snowpea&bokchoi

On Monday, the USDA issued a warning for salmonella contamination in packaged Foster Farms chicken. Nearly 300 illnesses in 17 states have been reported.

Today, the USDA is threatening to close the three Foster Farms facilities linked to the outbreak. This latest outbreak is just one of the many contamination stories we hear about each year.

The Center for Disease Control estimates that every year, roughly one in six Americans get sick from foodborne illness. How can you protect yourself? Marcie Sillman talks with Scott Meschke, microbiologist and professor Health Sciences at University of Washington.

Contaminated Foster Farms Chicken Infects 278 People

Oct 8, 2013
Flickr Photo/Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH

The US Department of Agriculture reported on Tuesday that 278 people have been infected with salmonella following an outbreak likely originating from three Foster Farms plants in California.

Most of those people are from California, according to a statement, although the outbreak has reached 18 states. Fifteen are from Washington state.

Fishermen around the Northwest are enjoying some exceptional salmon runs this autumn. Puget Sound is teeming with pink salmon and there's a record-breaking fall Chinook run in the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

New advisories from health officials in Washington and Oregon warn that some fish in the Columbia River aren’t safe to eat.

Flickr Photo/Chris Martino

Salmonella is not just in poultry anymore; it's in our spices. In a recent study of more than 20,000 food shipments, the United States Food and Drug Administration found that nearly 7 percent of spice lots were contaminated with salmonella. That's twice the average of all other imported foods. Oregano, basil, cumin and black pepper are just some of the spices where salmonella contamination was found.

Marcie Sillman talks with FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess about the study. Burgess recommends adding spices to your food during the cooking process which will kill the salmonella bacteria and to follow basic food safety procedures.

Home canning is regaining popularity as part of the local food movement. If done right, families can enjoy home grown fruits, vegetables and even meat all through the winter. But if done wrong it can be devastating, if not deadly.

A lawyer for the state of Washington recently learned that lesson the hard way.

David Rakoff's book "Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish: A Novel"

David Rakoff's new book comes out this week. It's a novel written in rhyming couplets. In the book, the main character is dying of AIDS. Rakoff wrote it as he himself was dying of cancer. This American Life's Ira Glass was Rakoff's  friend. The two spent some of Rakoff's final days together recording the audiobook version of the novel. In the excerpts Ira plays us today, Rakoff's voice is frail. But his words still convey inexhaustible power.

Full list of stories from KUOW Presents, July 17:

Flickr Photo/Dan4th Nicholas

U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Voting Rights Act
The U.S. Supreme Court issued another of its long-awaited decisions, this one on the landmark 1964 Voting Rights Act. The Court ruled 5-4 to strike down a provision of the law that involves federal oversight for states with a history of racial discrimination in voter registration. How might the ruling affect current charges of voter suppression? We talk with attorney and voting rights advocate Brenda Wright.

New Music Recommendation
Are you stuck in a music listening rut?  We are surrounded by new music and innovative artists.  Branch out! Paul De Barros, critic for the Seattle Times, recommends jazz violinist Zach Brock.

What’s In Your Food?
Take a look at a food label. Under the list of ingredients there are sure to be items you recognize, but what about polyglycerol? Aspartame? Or phosphoric acid? The Food Additives Amendment of 1958 was enacted to make sure chemical ingredients were safe for consumption, but how does the FDA monitor all of the chemicals and ingredients food producers use? Professor Marion Nestle, from the department of nutrition food studies and public health, explains what goes into the food we consume and how to be a more informed consumer.

The Weather And Hike Of The Week
Michael Fagin suggests a hike that matches the week’s weather forecast.

The Business Of Toxic Fish

Apr 1, 2013
Flickr Photo/Steve Snodgrass

For almost 20 years Washington's Department of Ecology has known that the state's water pollution limits have meant some Washingtonians regularly consume dangerous amounts of toxic chemicals in seafood from local waterways.

The Environmental Protection Agency has urged the state to fix the problem. The Department of Ecology was close last year when Boeing and other business interests began lobbying against the changes. Robert McClure from Investigate West uncovered the story through interviews and government document requests and he gives an update to Ross Reynolds.

Marler Clark

Salmonella. E.coli. Listeria. Every year about 48 million Americans get sick from eating contaminated food. Some people become seriously ill and need to be hospitalized. More than 3 million of those illnesses are from tainted produce.

South Lake Union
Image Courtesy/Vulcan

Seattle is nearing the end of a years-long process to rezone its South Lake Union neighborhood. One of the final points of discussion is whether to increase a fee paid by developers in order to build taller than the city’s height limits. The money pays for affordable housing in the city. Some Seattle City Council members support a fee increase, but opponents say it’s too late in the game to make changes and risk cooling off growth in one of Seattle’s fastest growing neighborhoods. We talk it over with Councilmember Nick Licata and developer A-P Hurd.

Courtesy the Chrobuck family

The Food and Drug Administration recently proposed the most sweeping changes to food safety rules in 70 years. Now it wants to hear from the public.