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Death by Food

Why More People in North America Die By Food Poisoning than Were Murdered in 9/11

By: Iain Williamson






If youíve ever suffered from food poisoning, youíre certainly not alone. About 76 million Americans and between 11 and 13 million Canadians suffer from a foodborne illness every year. That means that over one-in-every four suffers from some form of food poisoning on an annual basis. Food poisoning is now one of the leading causes of illness in both Canada and the United States. Deaths due to foodborne pathogens total about 5,000 annually for the US. That means that more people die every year than were murdered in 9/11. Yet, we donít hold memorial services for them.

This book alerts you to the most common bacteria, spores, parasites and viruses that could kill you. It then covers some of the more recent tragedies: the 2008 listeriosis crisis in Canada which killed 22 innocent people; the peanut salmonella outbreak in the US which killed 8 people and the melamine milk scandal in China where more than 294,000 children became ill and six died.

If you examine the regulatory systems governing food safety in both Canada and the US, you will uncover a jurisdictional "fuddle muddle". If you look at the response to listeria monocytogenes crisis in Canada you will find the confessions of "lessons learned" from various government agencies. This resulted in a secret investigation by a $2.7 Million Bird with No Wings. It resulted in hearings by a Parliamentary Subcommittee that turned into a Political Brew Ha-Ha. Finally, a Judicial Enquiry was killed and buried and there appears to have been no police investigation into the 22 deaths.

The industry hides behind the veil of HACCP, which is a methodology for anticipating hazards, and uses it as an excuse to avoid thorough end-of-production line testing, with the result that contaminated foods are entering the food chain. This was clearly illustrated by the 2009 listeriosis crisis in Canada where the contaminated products were produced by a HACCP accredited facility.

New and inexpensive packaging technology exists that can detect pathogens in plastic wrapped food. Industry and government are basically ignoring this leading-edge Canadian technology by keeping their fingers crossed in the blind hope that another tragedy will not occur; but it surely will!

Of course, illness and death due to food are not confined to the presence of bacteria, spores, parasites and viruses; they could also be caused by colour additives, environmental contamination and the Mountains of Sugar, Canyons of Salt and Pools of Fat that are featured in the canned and prepared foods in your local supermarket, which can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart failure and stroke.

This book suggests that much of your food may not be healthy. It may not be safe!

Six common sense initiatives are covered that could greatly improve food safety in both Canada and the US. The biggest tragedy is that solutions already exist for many of the problems, yet industry is reluctant to use them and governments fail to act. Itís up to you to make sure that your voice is heard by your political representatives! However, the greatest power you have as a consumer, is that you can decide what to buy and what not to buy when you go grocery shopping!



Chapter 1 - Our Food is One of the Leading Causes of Illness: The Scope of the Problem

Chapter 2 - Our Industrial Society Gets More than Indigestion: The Real Costs of the Problem

Chapter 3 - Death by Foodborne Bacteria, Parasites and Viruses: Some Deadly "Bugs" You Really Don't Want to Meet!

Chapter 4 - Where Do These "Bugs" Usually Lurk? A Detective's Guide to Locating the Bad Guys

Chapter 5 - What's on the Menu? Cold Slices to Kill, Peanuts from Hell or the Milk of Death!

Chapter 6 - Insecticide and Other Residues: If it Kills Bugs - It Could Kill You!

Chapter 7 - If You're Really Hungry: Don't Swallow a Horse!

Chapter 8 - Mountains of Sugar, Canyons of Salt, Pools of Fat: Welcome to Your Local Supermarket!

Chapter 9 - Why Are Your Kids Ten Times Bigger than They Should Be? Hormones and Other Additives

Chapter 10 - The Real Grapes of Wrath: The Threat of Bioterrorism

Chapter 11 - Built Like a Rock, Travels Like a Rock, Tastes Like a RockĖIs it a Rock?'s a Tomato! Will Genetically Altered Foods Harm You?

Chapter 12 - Death by Food Label: The Little White Lies of Incorrect or Misleading Labelling

Chapter 13 - Have Another Cup of Coffee and Pray (HACCP): "Science-Based" Standards of Convenience for the Food Industry

Chapter 14 - Excrement Extravaganza: The "Dime Test"

Chapter 15 - The Fuddle Muddle: Who Was in Charge in the 2008 Listeria Crisis?

Chapter 16 - A Sick Joke: The Canadian Government Response

Chapter 17 - Crocodile Tears: The Confessions of "Lessons Learned"

Chapter 18 - The Quick Settlement: A Bargain at $120,000 a Corpse

Chapter 19 - The $2.7 Million Bird With No Wings: A Secret Enquiry is Hatched

Chapter 20 - A Political Brew Ha-Ha: The Subcommittee on Food Safety Holds Hearings

Chapter 21 - A Judicial Investigation: Killed and Buried

Chapter 22 - The "Obvious" Fixes that Only a Few Want to Support: New Technologies that Could Correct the Problem

Chapter 23 - The Industry Says Your Food is Safe: What do YOU Think?

Chapter 24 - A New Vision for Food Safety: Six Common Sense Steps to Stop the Next Tragedy

Chapter 25 - The Victim Nobody Wants to Talk About: But....Could it Have Been You or Me?


Death by Food: Why More People in North America Die by Food Poisoning then Were Murdered by 9/11 by: Iain Williamson:  softcover; 156 pages; ISBN: 978-1-55270-383-0; published December 2009;  Canadian: $24.95.  



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