How can I tell a rumor from the truth?
on the menu when you see stray cats (or a rat!) slinking around behind a restaurant? Is that poached egg you had for breakfast going to make you sick? Can the hamburger you ate after the movies give you "mad cow" disease? Are the bananas in your fruit bowl toxic? And what about meat infected with E. coli bacteria? With all you hear about dangerous food and dishonest cooks, how do you know what to believe?
Well, you can't always
know. But you can start with a little common sense—those food legends that sound too creepy to be true probably aren't! The critter behind the restaurant was probably searching for scraps in the garbage and the toxic bananas rumor was false. Educate yourself about food safety. Yes, there have been numerous outbreaks of E. coli illness linked to unpasteurized cow's milk or undercooked hamburger meat. No, there have been no reported cases of "mad cow" disease in this country. When in doubt, get the facts! back to top
Who protects our food supply?
In the United States, there are several federal agencies that help to safeguard our food supply and provide information to consumers like you. Among them are the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, to make sure the government is doing its best to protect consumers, there are "watchdog" organizations like the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which publishes Nutrition Action Healthletter. Each of these organizations has a Web site that provides up-to-date information on food safety issues and food scares. back to top