About Listeria

From the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of listeria and other foodborne illness outbreaks.

Chapter 16

Consumer Resources

S.T.O.P - Safe Tables Our Priority - S.T.O.P. -- Safe Tables Our Priority is a non-profit grassroots organization devoted to victim assistance, public education, and policy advocacy for safe food and public health. The organization was founded in 1993 by family and friends of people who became ill or died from exposure to E. coli O157:H7 and other pathogenic bacteria in meat and poultry. S.T.O.P.'s mission is to prevent unnecessary illness and loss of life from foodborne contamination. This is an excellent informational site, but also a critical resource for people whose lives have been affected by this deadly bacterium.

Outbreak Inc. - Started by three of the attorneys at Marler Clark, Outbreak Inc. is a resource for companies in the food industry. In their roles as Outbreak consultants, the Marler Clark attorneys visit food companies, and attend food industry conventions and trade shows, offering practical advice on how to avoid litigation related to foodborne illness outbreaks.

The Journal Watch Infectious Diseases - Edited and reviewed by more than 80 physicians, JWatch regularly combs 180 medical journals for important findings in infectious diseases.

National Institutes of Health - The National Institutes of Health web site is huge, with links to countless other sites, all having to do with (you guessed it) HEALTH. In particular, the sections having to do with HEALTH INFORMATION and SCIENTIFIC RESOURCES are both impressively vast, and typically quite helpful. You can do no-cost MedLine searches here as well, and link to on-line catalogs, journals, and learn about ongoing research projects. You could spend hours surfing this site, and learn tons.

Foodborne Illness: What Consumers Need to Know - Part of a website designed to provide health and safety information for HIV-positive individuals, and persons living with AIDS, this web-page provide simple, yet important, information about foodborne illnesses and how best to avoid them.

Government Accountability Project - This excellent site is for the rabble-rouser in all of us, providing an internet resource for information about whistle-blowing, government wrongdoing, and official misconduct of all kinds. Be sure to check out the excellent section on food safety, which features an expose' of the substandard food that sometimes makes its way into the National School Lunch Program. Do you REALLY know what your kids are eating at school?

Institute for Food Safety and Health - The Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH) at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) is a world-class food science research institute that produces knowledge-based outcomes in the areas of food safety, food defense, and nutrition for stakeholders in government, industry, and academia.

Ask a Food Safety Expert - Web site designed to answer common food safety questions with more than 600 frequently asked questions and answers. More than 100 food safety experts available to provide peer-reviewed answers to consumer and foodservice food safety questions.

International Food Information Council Homepage - The International Food Information Council (or, IFIC) provides reliable scientific information on food safety and nutrition to journalists, health professionals, educators, government officials and consumers. Because this website is updated regularly, the information it provides is always quite current.

The National Safe Kids Campaign (Safe Kids) - The National Safe Kids Campaign operates with the beliefs that there is no such thing as an "accident", and that ALL unintentional injuries of children are preventable. Their website offers many practical and useful tips on preventing even the most common childhood injuries.

FOODNET - Sponsored by the Food Institute of Canada, this web-site provides a wealth of information on the food industry, while also offering a global perspective. The Food Safety resource page is quite good, as is the site's section on laws and regulations.

Institute of Food Technologists - The Institute of Food Technologists (or, IFT) was founded in 1939, and is a nonprofit scientific society with 28,000 members working in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia and government. On several occasions, the attorneys at Marler Clark have been asked to give presentations at an IFT national or regional convention. THE IFT IS AN EXCELLENT ORGANIZATIION, AND WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS WEBSITE AS AN IMPORTANT SOURCE OF RELIABLE SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL INFORMATION.

The Handwashing For Life Institute - The Handwashing for Life Institute offers practical and focused information and training for reducing the risk of food-contamination through improper hygiene. The Institute and its founder, Jim Mann, are best known for the blue hands language-free video and the accompanying Hands-On System of Best Practices. Through Hands-On, handwashing moves from being the most important unmeasured risk factor to being the heart of auditing practices for both operators and regulators. The Institute’s emphasis is: What gets measured gets done.

The Food Research Institute - The Food Research Institute (or, FRI) is based at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and is both an independent research institute and an academic department in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Usually on the cutting-edge of food safety research, the FRI is a top-notch resource for obtaining the most recent scientific information about food microbiology and toxicology. The attorneys at Marler Clark regularly retain the experts here at the FRI for help in ongoing foodborne illness litigation.

Food-Safety-News.com - Is a monthly online newsletter produced by food-safety.com.au for the retail food industry: e.g. restaurants, fast food outlets, hotels, motels, cafeterias, etc. Their newsletter focuses on a wide range of issues such as food safety plans, food poisoning, food safety, contamination, and customer service improvements. Advice of each issue is sent via E-mail to registered users.

Grocery Manufacturers Association - The Grocery Manufacturers Association is the principal scientific and technical trade association for the food industry. While we normally advise people to be cautious when relying on information provided by trade associations, we have found that the GMA remains an excellent source of information on food safety issues of all kind, both scientific and regulatory.

Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management homepage - This excellent website is packed with food safety information and research, with a particular focus on the retail food industry. There is also lots of information about food safety at home. Created by Dr. Pete Snyder, one of the country's leading and most outspoken food safety advocates, this website is a treasure trove of useful and important information.

American Meat Institute homepage - The American Meat Institute (or, AMI) is a national trade association that represents approximately 70% of the Nation's meat packers and processors. The AMI provides legislative, regulatory, and public relations services on behalf of the meat industry, and also sponsors scientific and economic research, and some public education programs. While this is not a website that we would recommend for researching food safety issues, or seeking unbiased information (there are several better sites for that), it is still an excellent way to find out what the meat industry is up to.

The Inspector.Com - Sponsored by the Midwest Council of Food Inspection Locals, a labor union that represents meat, poultry & egg inspectors, this site is informative, eye-opening, and unabashedly opinionated. With a perspective developed on the front-lines of the food safety war, this site does not pull many punches. For example, if you want to be shocked (and maybe even appalled),check out the article entitled "Edible S**t".

Food Marketing Institute homepage - Like the AMI, the Food Marketing Institute (or, FMI) is a national trade association, this one representing food retailers. This website has limited utility unless you are interested in learning more about the food retailing and the laws that regulate it.

Economic Research Service: Product Liability and Microbial Foodborne Illness (pdf) - This report examines how product liability law treats personal injuries attributed to microbially contaminated foods. The risk of lawsuits stemming from microbial foodborne illness and the resulting court-awarded compensation may create economic incentives for firms to produce safer food. It is not known how many consumers seek compensation for damages from contaminated foods because information about complaints and legal claims involving foodborne illness is not readily accessible, especially for cases that are settled out of court. Reviewing the outcomes of 175 jury trials involving foodborne pathogens, the analysis identifies several factors that influence trial outcomes.

Foodsafety.gov Educational Resources - This page on foodsafety.gov provides information about foodborne illness prevention to education, trainers, and organizations in a number of different media. Here you can find everything from posters, games, computer software, and teaching guides for elementary and secondary schools.

U.S.D.A. Economic Research Service - The Economic Research Service (or "ERS"), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides economic analysis on issues related to agriculture, food, and the environment. Not all of its research reports are available (in full-text versions) on-line, but the reports are easy to order, and definitely worth reading. Of particular interest is the ERS research on the medical and productivity costs of foodborne illness in the United States. So, next time you're hungry for some numbers, this is an excellent place to look for some.

Foodsafety.gov - This is the main government site related to food safety and consumer education. It provides a wealth of information from multiple government agencies on topics ranging from how to keep food safe at home, to recent recalls and news, to primers on foodborne illness bugs. This comprehensive site also includes videos, podcasts, and other multimedia on food safety.

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service - The Food Safety and Inspection Service (or, FSIS) is the public health agency that is responsible for ensuring (or trying to ensure) that the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled. Not without its critics, this website is still a helpful resource for finding out more about the regulations that govern food inspection.

USDA Food Safety Index - This is a list of websites that the USDA selected as being of interest to persons in the food safety field. It has been our experience that this page is not routinely updated, so several links no longer work. Still, if you are looking for food safety information on a particular topic, this is a good place to start.

FDA Food Safety Information - This government website provides food safety information on a wide range of topics. Included are food safety widgets and apps provided by the FDA, information on food allergens, foodborne illness, Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point (HACCP), recent recall lists, and much more. The side also links to recent news and studies on food safety and product-specific information and concerns.

HSE (Health & Safety Executive) Reducing Risks - Protecting People - The UK Health and Safety Commission (HSC) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are responsible for the regulation of almost all the risks to health and safety arising from work activity in Britain.

The International Food Safety Network - The International Food Safety Network (iFSN), housed at Kansas State University and the University of Guelph, provides research, commentary, policy evaluation and public information on food safety issues, from farm-to-fork. In addition to four daily listserves, FSN offers consumer, student and industry outreach services, information research, on-line resources, collaborative projects, evaluation and analysis, and a capacity to address current and emerging food safety concerns.

The Penn State Food Safety Web Site: Food Safety Throughout the Food System - The Penn State Department of Food Science has recently created a new information resource for extension educators, the food industry, and consumers interested in the safety of our food supply. The Penn State Food Safety Web Site combines a user-friendly environment with a farm-to-fork approach for quick retrieval of food safety information pertaining to the entire food system. Unique to this site are two databases with over 1300 links to online food safety resources.

Ask a Food Safety Expert - Web site designed to answer common food safety questions with more than 600 frequently asked questions and answers. More than 100 food safety experts available to provide peer-reviewed answers to consumer and foodservice food safety questions.

Food Safety Information from Iowa State University Extension - Iowa State University Extension believes that resources are needed for consumers, educators and students to access research-based, unbiased information on food safety and quality. The goal of the Food Safety Project is to develop educational materials that give the public the tools they need to minimize their risk of foodborne illness.

Kids World - Food Safety Page - A beautifully animated site that is full of helpful food safety information for children. We especially like the food safety coloring book and the quiz, both designed for school-age children. Along with the FIGHT BAC! program, this site is an excellent resource for families who are trying to educate their young children about food safety.

University of California Food Safety - Sponsored by the University of California at Davis, this website provides an incredible amount of useful information about food safety issues. Two things make this site stand out: (1) a huge food safety database with powerful search capabilities, and (2) the most extensive links page we've yet managed to find. We use this website all the time at Marler Clark.

Bugs in the News! - Both lighthearted and informative, this is a great site to learn all about "bugs" of all kinds -- and we don't mean flies, and spiders, and bees! Don't be fooled, however; this site contains load information -- science, even! The creator of this web-site is John C. (Jack) Brown, Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences at the University of Kansas. While you are there, be sure to check out the GREAT article "What the Heck is E. coli??????"

The Food Safety Consortium - This consortium combines the collective talents of researchers from the University of Arkansas, Iowa State University, and Kansas State University. The Consortium was established by Congress in 1988, and was charged to conduct extensive research in all areas of poultry, beef, and pork meat production, from the farm to the table. Most of the information contained at this site is scientific and technical -- but it is important information, and worth the time it takes to understand and appreciate it.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest - The Center for Science in the Public Interest (or, CSPI) is a nonprofit education and advocacy organization that focuses on improving the safety and nutritional quality of our food supply and on reducing the damaging health affects associated with the abuse of alcoholic beverages. CSPI promotes health through educating the public about nutrition and alcohol; it represents citizens’ interests before legislative, regulatory, and judicial bodies; and it works to ensure that advances in science are used for the public’s good. This site is an excellent clearinghouse for up-to-date information on food regulations; it is also a good way to participate in grass-root lobbying efforts.

Food Safety for Consumers - Washington State University - Teaches consumers about the importance of washing hands properly, cooking foods to adequate temperatures high enough to kill bacteria and viruses, avoiding cross-contamination, storing foods at proper temperatures, and avoiding risky foods and water.<p>

Food Safety Cooperative Extension Service - Washington State University - Washington State University now has two food safety information resources relating to Food Safety for Consumers and a web site for their Food Safety Cooperative Extension Service.

The Food Research Institute - The Food Research Institute (or, FRI) is based at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and is both an independent research institute and an academic department in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Usually on the cutting-edge of food safety research, the FRI is a top-notch resource for obtaining the most recent scientific information about food microbiology and toxicology. The attorneys at Marler Clark regularly retain the experts here at the FRI for help in ongoing foodborne illness litigation.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency: Listeria - Fact sheet on Listeria infection, including symptoms, risks, and what producers are doing to try to protect consumers.

The Virtual Museum of Bacteria: Listeria monocytogenes - Provides pictures of Listeria bacteria and links to other photo sources, fact sheets, lectures, and scientific sites about Listeria monocytogenes.

Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention (CFI) - Founded in 2006 to help America create innovative, science-based solutions for the food challenges of the 21st Century, CFI believes that it is imperative that federal, state and local government, as well as farmers; food processors/distributors/retailers; medical providers; educators; policy makers and consumers share the responsibility of building an environment that promotes food safety throughout the farm to fork continuum. No one sector can achieve this goal alone. CFI is dedicated to working together through research, education and advocacy to develop better food protections and ultimately improve public health.

Centers for Disease Control: Frequently Asked Questions about Listeria monocytogenes - Answers questions such as: How common is Listeria monocytogenes? What sort of germ is Listeria? How is the infection diagnosed? How does food or water get contaminated with Listeria? What can be done to prevent the infection? What are public health agencies doing to prevent or control Listeria?

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Listeria Recalls

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References

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