by Marion Nestle
Sep 23 2007

Food safety advocacy

Today’s question: “Dr. Nestle, any suggests of a group fighting listeria/listeriosis to fund? Given your expert stature, you are my best source. ..My father was Dxd [diagnosed] with this around May 1 after being admitted to hospital apr 19 – But the suffering from it and cost of it – what if my mom hadn’t had a spare $100,000 – unbelievable. And I am sure insurance covered another million or so. In 5 mos.”

Here’s my thought: Listeria are among those newly emergent bacteria that arrived along with industrial food production. They are especially nasty because they grow happily at cold temperatures. I’m not aware of groups specifically devoted to fighting this one, but there are excellent groups working on food safety issues in general. One is STOP–Safe Tables Our Priority–created by mothers of children who died from the effects of eating hamburgers contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7. The food safety issues are the same. Both bacteria would be less of a problem if we had a better food safety system. But let’s ask: does anyone know of any groups working specifically on Listeria issues?

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  • Hello. As Executive Director of S.T.O.P.-Safe Tables Our Priority, please be informed that S.T.O.P. supports people who have suffered from all types of foodborne diseases, not just E.coli O157:H7. Thank you for your kind words. We can be contacted through email at or by calling 1-847-831-3032.

  • Lewis Fineman

    1) Are there any corrections to the book, What to Eat, published 2006?

    2) On page 114, in the book What to Eat, there is a statement that vitamin A is only found in food of animal origin? Is this truly the case? No vitamin A in vegetables?

    3) On page 145, in the book, What to Eat, it states, if a meat is 80% lean, then it is 20%fat by weight, and this fat makes up more than 2/3 of its calories. Could you explain the math. I assume that lean meat is 4cal./gram and fat is 9 cal. /gram.

    Thank you for your time. Can you respond to me at

  • Stella Coffey

    You say E. coli 0157:H7 is a food safety issue – wouldn’t it be more accurate to describe it as a ‘food production system’ issue? If looked at from this perspective, surely a solution to future contamination by E. coli 0157:H7 is more likely to be found.