Food Poisoning

Food safety information from

Other Food Illnesses @ Campylobacter | E coli | Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome
Hepatitis A
| Listeria | Norwalk Virus | Salmonella | Shigella

Advocate for food safetyFood Safety

Even though some cases of food borne illnesses seem to be unavoidable, most of them are preventable. Simple hygiene and cooking guidelines are the most important ways to prevent food borne illness for you and your family in the short-term, but there's much more that can be done to help prevent injury to yourself and others in the long-run. Taking action to improve food safety is not as complicated as you might suspect. Read on for some easy ways to take action against food borne illness.

Food Safety Education

What temperature should you cook your meat to make sure it is safe? Which foods are most prone to contamination? Who is most at risk to the severe effects of food borne illness? Although you can find food borne illness information on Web sites such as this one, most people don't know the answers to these questions. Education about how to eat and cook safely is the cornerstone of safe food practices. You are already taking step one in safe food education: making sure you and your family are knowledgeable about how to prevent food borne illness.

There's more you can do with food borne illness education. Encourage your friends and acquaintances to familiarize themselves with the basics of food safety and the importance of preventing food borne illness. Help organize food safety education campaigns in your local schools, newspapers and religious institutions. ^

Better Food Safety Standards

Proper food safety standards are the first line of defense against food borne illness in the U.S. The food safety regulations laid down by the government require a minimum standard to be followed by the people who make and prepare our food. For the most part the standards now in place provide a solid foundation for food safety. But there is always room for improvement. Writing letters to your elected representatives stating your support of strict safety standards will help keep our food safe. ^

Better Food Safety Enforcement

While strict standards are crucial to food safety, they are nearly worthless without adequate food safety enforcement. The U.S. has a substantial enforcement system to help ensure safety, but much of the burden of enforcing standards is left to the people who make or prepare the food. And, although there are stiff penalties for failure to maintain proper food safety, in some cases the penalties do not seem to be stiff enough. Many of the food recalls and outbreaks of food borne illness seem to be connected time and again with the same companies. In other words, these firms are not properly enforcing safety standards, and the penalty for enforcement failure is insufficient motivation to maintain safety. You can write to your elected representatives to tell them you believe enforcement agencies should be granted larger budgets and greater powers to keep our food safe. And let them know that you think the price of endangering the food supply should be too high to stay in business. ^

Support Food Safety Advocacy Groups

Courageous and vigilant food safety advocacy groups are already working to prevent illness for you and your family. You can help improve food safety by supporting these groups financially and getting involved with their efforts to help prevent illness. Here are a few groups that champion food safety:

  • S.T.O.P. - Safe Tables Our Priority: is a nonprofit consisting of food borne illness victims, their families and friends, and individuals and organizations concerned about the threat of emerging microorganisms in our food supply.

  • Center for Science in the Public Interest - This site has an excellent food advocacy section. CSPI is a nonprofit organization funded through private grants, donations, and newsletter subscriptions. They do not accept corporate or government grants.

  • Canadians Have a Right to Safe Food - This is a Canadian family's advocacy site, inspired by the wrenching experience of a daughter infected with E. coli.

  • Eric's Echo - This is an informative Web site devoted to the owner's son, who died as a result of an E. coli infection.

  • Lois Joy Galler Foundation - This foundation funds doctors and scientists to conduct research and develop methods of preventing or curing Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome. ^