In this age of instant communication via texting and social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook, news that affects our lives travels fast. This past year there were many food-borne illness outbreaks reported in the United States. Pine nuts with salmonella made headlines when 42 people became ill. Five thousand pounds of nuts were removed from store shelves after that scare in the northeastern states. Salmonella was also found in ground turkey, which killed one and sickened over 70 people in 26 states. E. coli was found in ground beef and strawberries. The biggest scare in the U.S. this summer was when an outbreak of listeria was discovered in cantaloupe. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said 30 people died and 146 people in 28 states were taken ill from the contamination.
The death toll from salmonella, E. coli, listeria, and other disease-causing bacteria could have been much higher if not for the continual feed of twitter press releases from the major news networks, as well as our nightly news anchors keeping us up to the minute with the latest developments, and giving out warnings of the danger.
The public has a right to know the truth about the products they buy. They should expect those products to be safe to use and not cause harm or illness. Yet approximately 46.6 million U.S. adults buy a legal product called cigarettes whose ingredients may not be known to the user. Although warning labels are part of each package, most smokers do not understand the full extent of the hidden dangers. It is estimated that 443,000 people die each year from smoking or from their exposure to secondhand smoke. That means over 1,200 people die each day.
Why doesn’t this headline make our nightly news?