Of all non-profit organizations involved in the improvement of food handling, S. T. O. P or Safe Tables Our Priority deserved to be supported by the government as it had effectively acted as public health organization dedicated to preventing illness and death from food-borne pathogens. Since 1993, S. T. O. P had advocated changes in US public policy, widely educated and had done massive outreach, provided assistance to the victims of food-borne diseases, and implemented in-depth studies based on victims’ experience and listed them in the organizations’ registry so as for them to study the long-term consequences of food-borne disease.
Historically, the organization was borne out of united anguish of parents of E. coli O157:H7 victims brought about the mishandling of foods by Jack in the Box hamburgers. Given its substantial numbers of victims, it has reached a nationwide attention of the public and the media. The group has presented itself with a clear mission of propagating food safety rules and regulations that would safeguard and inform the American populace on the seriousness of the illness. And since there was no existing organization as such, S. T. O. P. ’s membership had radically increased.
Now everyone worries about the nutritional implications of excessive dining at fast-food restaurants and food safety issues. Moreover, their national visibility has soared as they were frequently contacted by media sources. Since then, new programs across the nation had run five different shows discussing meat, seafood, poultry, produce and even fruit juice safety guidelines for the sake of public education. Because of the mass media channel, food industry and legislative officials had taken action and highlighted the issue of food safety whereas before none had done at all.
Through the media mileage S. T. O. P. ’s mission had a pivotal momentum as media had effectively assisted its advocacy and legislative efforts that had resulted to reform of food safety in the United States. Current food safety strategy followed by both the government and industry places far too much emphasis on consumer behavior. This over-emphasis on consumer education fosters the misleading impression that it is the consumers’ responsibility to make sure their food is safe, and if people get sick, it is their own fault.
Furthermore, through their research they had found out that there were government agencies that lacked efficient communication when the said outbreak happened. They also found out that there were agencies of the government that are aware of the emerging food-borne pathogens however they lacked propagation of the knowledge nor do they have any comprehensive plan to resolve it. According to their study, the USDA (Department of Agriculture), the Congress and the media had failed to inspect these food products and aren’t aware of the massive growth in numbers of its victims.
Moreover, S. T. O. P. had joined Safe Food Coalition, an organization with twelve consumer groups that advocated food safety. After several, extensive communication with USDA S. T. O. P. had became a catalyst for change as they were invited to join at policy making table and became a key player in assisting and promoting the launching of food handling inspection after ninety years. They endorsed microbial testing for animal fecal contamination like Salmonella and E. coli. They implored government agencies to reform their policies and address improved food handling.
They implored that medical professional for humans and not just veterinarians to work at USDA. They implored for USDA to eradicate conflict of interest in view of the fact that both the marketing and the inspection of food handling is under the same department. In addition, the organization had promptly become the shelter of food-borne victims. They had received frequent telephone calls inquiring about the disease and S. T. O. P. had distributed packets of information from consumers to households.
Members had helped try save victims and their families through anchoring various lectures for those struggling with the medical and emotional repercussions of the disease. Then in 2003, S. T. O. P. had launched a groundbreaking report entitled, “Why Are People Still Dying from Contaminated Food. ” It reports the food safety challenges and their recommendations. They advocated that everyone should address the problem from the start of food handling fro instance by keeping pathogens out of the food supply.
Also, they had distributed this information through mailings, newsletters and currently through E-alerts. These medium had discussed numerous food-borne diseases such as Pathogens 101, E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria, viruses like Hepatitis A and Norovirus among others, parasites from foods such as Cryptosporidium and others, other syndromes and conditions like Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), nvCJD (Mad Cow Disease) and reactive Arthritis/Reiter’s among others, numerous miscellaneous illnesses from digested metals, toxins, prions or wasting diseases and even plastics.
Suffice it to say in its endeavor to combat food-borne bacteria S. T. O. P. has had many successes as they focus on advocacy, victim support, outreach, and safe food education. For more than fifteen years they already had worked with both national and local media, responsive food industry trade groups and firms, government agencies such as the Congress, USDA, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Through various television segments such as S. T. O. P. in the News, numerous newsletters, teleseminars and podcasts, press releases, media kits, special events and reports, speaking engagements, and online educational resources, the organization had brought about a drastic change in the eating lifestyle of Americans. Thus, the government should be supporting such agencies that clearly promote safety on its constituents.
Courtney from Study Moose
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