Watching What You Eat

After all of the food borne illness scares of the past few years, do you still approach spinach and peanut butter with the same trepidation that I do? If so, you’ll be relieved to learn that congress has recently approved a bill that will allow for a much needed overhaul of the food safety system in the U.S.

In recent years, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has earned the reputation of being inconsistent and ineffective when it comes to managing and controlling the various food production systems in the U.S. As a result of this poor management, tens of thousands of people become seriously ill each year from contaminated or improperly handled food, many of whom die as a result. In my opinion this is inexcusable and it appears as if congress finally agrees.

According to the new bill, the Food and Drug Administration will be given more power to not only regulate food that is produced in the U.S., but also products that enter the U.S. from abroad. This means more oversight on farms, more frequent and thorough inspecting of processing plants, clearer guidelines for food produced outside of the U.S. and more systems put into place that will help to prevent future outbreaks of food related illnesses before they occur.

I’m certain that books like Omnivore’s Dilemma and Fast Food Nation and films like the recently released Food Inc. have all played a part in increasing public awareness around this subject and helped to show people what a poor job the FDA has been doing with regard to food safety. The folks on Capital Hill seem to finally be getting the message as well.

The optimist in me believes this is the first of many steps, and that any change in the right direction is a good thing. The pessimist in me can’t help but wonder how, with the financial issues confronting Washington right now, the FDA is going to possibly be able to fund the the workload and staff increase that putting this bill into effect will most certainly require.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see and hope for the best. In the meantime, there is plenty that we as consumers can do to protect ourselves from food related illnesses by ensuring that we are being responsible and smart in the ways we purchase, handle and prepare food.

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            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
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            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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            • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
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            • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
            • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
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            • Received the 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            L'Ecole Culinaire , Kansas City
            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
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            • First opened its doors in 1980 as the Academy of Medical Art and Business.
            • Students can choose from a variety of diploma or degree programs, as well as continuing education courses.
            • Provides programs in massage therapy, dental assisting, criminal justice, cake decorating, and more.
            • 7.5 acre campus is located in the foothills of Blue Mountain, north of Harrisburg, PA.
            • Involved with many community service organizations, including the Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank (CPBB), March of Dimes, and Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
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            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
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