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Freaky Food

Freaky Food

I was recently reading an article in SELF magazine about recent health scares resulting from contaminated food. The article highlighted the experience of Jenelle Dorner, 32, a woman who has suffered the extreme results of bacteria-laden chicken 14 years ago. Today, the Bloomington, IN woman has developed a condition called gastroparesis, where the food she eats is not able to get to her intestines to be digested. She can only eat her "food" through an IV.

Obviously, Dorner's case is an extreme one, but it makes me feel so icky about the foods we put into our bodies. How can eating become a harmful activity? It doesn't seem like something so delicious could bring with it so much doubt.

But can we worry too much? I looked at some of the comments that followed the SELF magazine article, and several readers felt that we are going into a frenzy with food fears. One reader wrote: "Food hysteria has gotten out of control. We can't be scared of EVERYTHING."

I don't think we should be scared. But I do think this article points to an issue that we cannot ignore. Remember the salmonella-infested tomatoes and jalapenos of this past summer?

And what about the speculation that actor John Travolta's son's death was possibly related to a condition caused by chemical exposure? No, it's not food-related, but it does make you think about what we are putting into our environment—food included—and how it affects our health.

I'm curious: Do recent outbreaks of food borne illnesses make you worry about what you are eating?

—Caroline Shannon

Posted: 1/6/09

They definitely make me worry! I already have intestinal issues, so I'm more sensitive as it is...I still eat out just as much and try not to worry too much, but when things tend to not "agree" with me, it's usually after going out to eat...often at less than stellar restaurants.


I'm a SELF magazine subscriber, and I know exactly the article you're talking about. It was the one I didn't read. When I saw the title and intro, I rolled my eyes and thumbed on. I tend to agree that these types of articles are more about inciting fear than education. Of course I think educating people about the possibilities of illnesses from contaminated food is important, and proper food safety and handling techniques should be taught. However, food poisoning cases are still pretty rare, and even fewer are life-threatening. It certainly doesn't warrant a giant feature in a magazine; I'd say a sidebar on the topic would be enough.


I definitely worry about this. I want to read Fast Food Nation (actually, I'm almost afraid to read it). Having watched SuperSize Me I have some sense of what's happening to food in this country ... our standards are being dragged down by the fast food industry and I'm afraid it's not going to get any better anytime soon, since the main impetus is saving money, which generally leads to cutting corners and relaxing standards.


All this food news has actually made me eat at home more than eating out, since I keep hearing about people going to restaurants and getting sick. I am fearful in moderation!