Archives for category: October 2010

Fox News has a clear, straight to the point, report of the salmonella outbreak in Iowa reported from the House of Representatives. Chief Peter DeCoster who is in charge of the egg operation is found quoted in this report. This type of media coverage is an unbiased report to the pubic and is also an apology to those affected by the outbreak. This article can be found HERE. The article “Health Officials: 1,300 Sickened in Salmonella Outbreak” published by FOX News and contributed by The Associated Press goes into details of the salmonella breakout. There are direct quotes from officials and information gathered from health officials such as the CDC and FDA. This article also informs the readers of the most common symptoms of salmonella, how eggs can get infected with this bacteria, and recommendations for consuming eggs safely. This article can be read HERE.

A similar coverage of egg recall in Iowa can be found HERE, this one reported by the Los Angeles Times. The article published by the LATimes focuses more on explaining to the readers the investigation process of this issue and presenting their report with actual numbers such as giving the readers an estimated number of possible salmonella infections. This article is an unbiased report and gives you factual information.

CNN approaches this issue in a different way. CNN reports the salmonella outbreak as a story and presents it in the perspective of a woman who has been directly affected by salmonella. The article describes how she is handling her illness and there are direct quotes from her throughout the article which makes the article “her story.” More can be read HERE. This type of coverage targets the readers through emotions and sympathy by presenting a follow up cause and effect story of a woman who was affected by this infection.

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Unfortunately for the public’s health and well-being, salmonella breakouts have been reported in the media much too frequently. Salmonella is a commonly known bacteria which causes diarrhea and can create long-term illnesses. It is transmitted when food that has been contaminated with animal feces is consumed by humans. Salmonellas is present in unsanitary areas such as poorly-kept food processing factories, or can be the cause of rodent infestation. General information of salmonella can be found HERE.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states in their news report published in October 19, 2010, the outbreaks can be referred from May 1 to October 15 of this year with an estimated number of 1,813 illnesses due to the eggs. This article can be read HERE. This report thoroughly investigates the sudden outbreak of the salmonella infections. It lists into detail of how the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service,  and the CDC are joining forces in order to further their research of how this outbreak might have started and the general question of where it came from. This report also provided the readers additional informations and even had a graph to show how many outbreaks there were within this year. The report is informative and reports on all factual information without the “fluffs.”

News coverage of salmonella is easily accessible through online news sources. Several articles of salmonella have been published by major online media channels just within this year due to the frequent outbreaks.

In September, The Washington Post presented an article in a shocked tone that the FDA does not require a label of genetically modified food (salmon). In this article, the problem was that the public has the right to know whether or not a particular food, in this case salmon, is organically or inorganically processed. The reporter covers this issue by presenting direct quotes from a a democratic representative, a professor, a director at the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and receiving resources and interviewing the FDA. This article can be found HERE.

The Los Angeles Times covers this topic written by Andrew Zajac in his article, “No agreement imminent on salmon labeling.” He addresses the concern that the public may not know which is genetically modified salmon versus the natural Atlantic salmon. The writer criticizes and makes the public know that the FDA wont require a certain label in order to distinguish the two type of fish. Under FDA rules, they’re not obligated to do so unless there is a significant difference in appearance or in the nutrient values. In which, the FDA in the briefing packet did state that the consumers cannot distinguish the difference between the GE salmon with Atlantic salmon. The writer also refers to a similar incident with labeling issue back in 1990s about milk. Overall, the writer addresses his concern for the public of not knowing what is real and genetically modified salmon in which it makes the readers scared and nervous of what they might be eating.

The issue was also covered in The New York Times, written by Paul Voosen called, “Panel Advises More Aggressive FDA Analysis of Engineered Salmon.” This article covers the entire process in which the FDA is trying to achieve in order to approve the application of GE salmon. The writer has direct quotes and informations from several professors specializing in the biological, environmental aspects and AquaBounty. Overall, the article warns the FDA to take precaution in the approval process and to thoroughly investigate the issue.

The day the FDA issued the briefing of GE salmon, Reuters had published an article called, “Biotech salmon faces scrutiny at FDA panel” written by Susan Heavey, which can be found HERE. The writer presents the issue in a quizzical manner. She questions the FDA and gives evidence of why GE salmon should not be allowed. The writer backs her criticizing opinions of GE salmon by interviewing groups such as the Center for Food Safety and Food & Water Watch and Consumers Union. Also, she reports that there were protesters to President Barack Obama against the public meeting which was on the same day when the FDA approval briefing had been issued. The writer also quoted a member of Aqua Bounty concerning of the genetically modified labelings.

The Atlantic addresses the same issue. Barry Estabrook reports on a similar topic called “Feds on GMO labeling: Don’t Tell, Don’t Ask.” This article is particularly interesting because he directly addresses how United State government officials approach this topic. He reports to the readers of what the Obama administration thinks of this certain issue. The writer directly attacks President Barack Obama and his administration accusing him of lying to the public and expresses negative opinions towards the government not doing their job in protecting the public.

GMO, short for genetically modified organism or genetically engineered, is a term used to describe a living organism (plants, bacteria, animals, etc) whose DNA has been genetically modified in a way that does not normally occur in nature. The modification of an organism requires a gene to be either replicated or transferred into another organism. The process of gene alteration requires skilled technicians, genetic engineers, and advanced technology.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an article called, “Regulation of Genetically Engineered Animals” in July 2010, which can be read HERE. This article is written in a positive tone for the genetically engineered animals. It outlines what the actual process and the benefits for the genetically modified animals. It also states that the FDA carefully regulates these GE animals and that they have to approve first before the product is out to the public. Something that has been a hot topic just dated few months ago is the question of allowing consumption of AquAdvantage Salmon which is another name for genetically modified Atlantic salmon. The FDA is reviewing an application of allowing or rejecting the genetically modified salmon for public consumption also known as AquAdvantage (AA) Salmon. The itinerary of what the FDA will be covering can be found HERE. On the day of the public meeting held on September 20, 2010, FDA addressing the controversy established a briefing of explaining their reasons to why these genetically engineered salmon, AquAdvantage salmon, is safe and even the Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee (VMAC) had approved their application. This briefing can be read HERE (pdf file). The packet includes complicated scientific processes displaying statistical analysis in tables and graphs and biological terminology for average readers. It is stated within the paper that the FDA approves these GE salmon and that it is safe for consumption. The purpose of this briefing is to let the public know that it is safe and that you won’t even know the difference between GE salmon versus the Atlantic salmon.

 

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