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The time of year is upon us where social media and our lives in general are full of people being extra thankful for everything they have. The obvious things come to mind and like most I am focused on those things such as family, friends, health, etc. Thanksgiving food safety is always something to be thankful for. But we are thankful for other things, too.
Working for Make Food Safe over the last year has given me even more things to be thankful for and they are not your average ones. Before I began this journey (and I do say journey because it was a huge step for me to even consider accepting this and of course wondering if it was the right thing for myself, my family and if I would even be good at it), I had no idea what Legionnaires Disease was. I had no clue about certain aspects of food safety when it came to types of food that I was not accustomed to eating such as oysters. I didn’t know what vibrio was either. I really felt like I had been left out of some type of food safety loop. I had even worked in professional kitchens and a bakery and was still very much unaware of certain things. Tonight as I write this post, I am thankful for now knowing more about these things and how to prevent them should the need arise.
I never knew about certain food recalls and how very closely my family and friends could be to becoming very sick because of recalled foods. Our weekly roundup posts are amazing for getting the word out and of course the more urgent things get their own posts on the blog as well. This makes learning about recalls so much easier than relying on social media and hoping you are getting accurate information.Information found on the internet is often dated and can be considered old news that gets shared over and over and often becomes viral more than once. I found myself recently seeing a recall on social media that was over 2 years old. MakeFoodSafe brings us the most up to date information possible thanks to great writers.
Speaking of recalls, I am thankful that this year none of my family or friends were sickened by any of the recalls while some hit Virginia and our neighboring states very hard. In 2018, we saw everything from cereal, favorite snacks, meats, salad greens and *gasp* even cake mix being recalled and pulled from shelves. Some of these were seriously frightening especially for a mother like myself with young children and elderly relatives who are often hit the hardest by the illnesses that come from recalls.
This year, I am thankful for the knowledge that has been added to my bank on diseases that as I said above I had absolutely no idea about. This knowledge helped me recently when finding out that there was a boil water advisory at our winter vacation home and I knew the proper questions to ask to ensure that my family was going to be safe going there. Instead of just signing a waiver to say we were all going to be safe and take the risk I was able to seriously question why the advisory was in place and how long the advisory was going to be in place.
With everything we are thankful for one of the biggest for me when it comes to “out of the box thankfulness” is the fact that I can cook. I have the ability to take ingredients and turn them into edible creations for my family to come together and enjoy. While this year my table will be far from full I feel that we will keep the holiday as similar as possible and rejoice in the fact that we can be salmonella and e.coli free thanks to things that can be learned right here on this blog. Whether I am following proper ways to thaw out the bird or creating some delicious cranberry sauce I know there are dos and don’ts to cooking.
Lastly, I am thankful there are people in this world such as Jory Lange who go to bat for people who have been affected by food recalls or other serious diseases related to food safety. People like this are an absolute blessing when it comes to knowing there is someone with the knowledge to defend people when often we are unable to defend ourselves. Often cases of serious illness result in the unthinkable and it is great to know that Jory is there to come to the rescue for families who have lost someone to a food related illness or disease.
Contributing writer Dwight added what he was thankful for when it comes to food safety as well “If I had to pick one thing I am thankful for as far as food safety is concerned is awareness. Before I came to MakeFoodSafe, I knew very little about the dangers of preparing and eating tainted food. Through research, writing, and working with a wonderful group of like-minded bloggers, I have come to see how important it is for us to share our knowledge. In my family, I am now the “go to guy” for food related issues and I love it! My biggest triumph so far is being able to inform others about how to stay safe when cooking – being someone who loves to cook myself.”
Looking back on 2019, I am left feeling like while we did have some speed bumps which life often throws our way we are truly very blessed. I have the ability to work from home and enjoy being with my kids and I am constantly learning something new in the meantime. I could go on and on about the things that I am thankful for but that would take up many pages and I would still not cover them all.
Make Food Safe wishes each and every one of you a very Happy Thanksgiving! We hope that this year has given you lots to be thankful for, and we hope that 2020 continues to do the same.
By: Samantha Cooper, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)