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Personal update: new job!

So it’s happened.  After waiting for over a year to get a job, especially a job in my field, I’ve finally got one!

I am now a microbiological technician for Lab Support, signed on for a six-month contract with Silliker, Inc., a food safety company right here in Columbus.  Although I’m not working closely with any bacteria yet, I’m enjoying the work enough that I hope Silliker hires me at the end of the six months.

To close this update, I have a word of advice for anyone who’s struggling to find jobs by online search engines.  Try looking for jobs the old-fashioned way, using employment agencies, and if you can, try contacting those employment agencies the old-fashioned way, using your phone.  Because that’s how I found my new job, when I was about ready to give up on Monster and Indeed.com.

Factory Farms and Chicken Abuse

Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times journalist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, has written a shocking article about how Perdue, a company which puts a “humanely raised” label on its chicken products, really raises its chickens.

Spoiler alert: it’s not humane, and it’s not pretty.  See this link for details.  It just goes to show that when it comes to buying humanely raised meats, it’s always best to do your research first.

Shocking News About Ramen Noodles

I bet at least one of my readers has lived on ramen noodles all through college.  Some of you probably still eat them regularly, as they’re cheap, easy, and filling.  I know I like to cook ramen noodles when I have colds, since they’re hot and the spicy ones clear my sinuses.  But according to researchers at Baylor University, they’re really unhealthy.  The more ramen noodles you eat, the more likely you are to get metabolic syndrome.

The National Institutes of Health define metabolic syndrome as “the name for a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke. The term “metabolic” refers to the biochemical processes involved in the body’s normal functioning. Risk factors are traits, conditions, or habits that increase your chance of developing a disease.”

Ramen noodles are not only high in calories, saturated fat, and sodium, but they also contain Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), a toxic preservative.  Plus the noodle containers are made with bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical which has been linked to cancer and hormone disruptions.

Check out the Food Revolution Network to learn more: http://foodrevolution.org/blog/ramen-noodles/

Foods Banned in Other Countries that are Still Allowed in the U.S.

If you still had any doubts that the current FDA cares only about profits and not your health, those doubts will soon be erased.  Here are 10 foods that are so potentially dangerous for humans that other countries have banned them…and yet they’re still sold in this country.

1. Farm-raised salmon, which is full of antibiotics, drugs, and chemicals, and may be infected with fish viruses.  Banned in Australia, New Zealand, and Russia.

2. Genetically-engineered papaya.  Banned in the European Union.

3. Ractopamine-tainted meat.  Ractopamine is a drug given to livestock to enhance muscles and reduce fat content in meat.  Unfortunately, not only is it linked to loss of reproductive function and increase in disability and death in dairy herds, but it also may cause behavioral changes, chromosome abnormalities, and and hyperactivity in humans.  Banned in 160 European countries (including Russia), mainland China, and Taiwan.

4. Brominated vegetable oil, which was originally patented by chemical companies as a flame retardant.  Now it’s used in citrus-flavored sodas and sports drinks!  It’s also linked to problems in the human body, from rashes and acne to major organ damage, birth defects, and even schizophrenia.  Banned in Japan and 18 European countries.

5. Processed foods with artificial food coloring and dyes.  These foods include macaroni and cheese, Jell-O, and kids’ cereals.  The additives have been linked to behavioral changes, birth defects, cancer, and allergy-like reactions in children.  Banned in Norway and Austria.

6. Arsenic-laced chicken.  Believe it or not, arsenic, the traditional poison of murder mysteries, is used to make drugs that cause growth in chickens, as well as making the meat appear pink and fresh.  I truly wish I was kidding, and I don’t think I need to go into the negative effects here.  Banned in the European Union.

7. Bread enriched with potassium bromate, which commercial baking companies claim makes dough more elastic.  Unfortunately, it’s also been linked to problems in the kidneys, the nervous system, and the thyroid, as well as cancer.  Banned in Canada, China, and the European Union.

8. Olestra/Olean.  This is a fat substitute used in fat-free snacks such as potato chips, and it may cause intestinal problems such as diarrhea and cramps.  Banned in the U.K. and Canada.

9. BHA and BHT, which are preservatives found in beer, breakfast cereal, butter spread, mixed nuts, dehydrated potatoes, and chewing gum.  BHA, known to cause cancer in rats, triggers allergic reactions and hyperactivity in humans.  BHT may result in organ system toxicity.  Banned in the European Union and Japan.

10. Dairy products full of rBGH.  This is a synthetic version of a natural hormone in cattle used to increase milk production.  Not only does it cause adverse health conditions in cattle and contaminate milk, but it’s been linked to cancer in humans.  Banned in Australia, New Zealand, Israel, the European Union, and Canada.

Are you disgusted and outraged?  I know I am.  See the link below for more details:

http://foodrevolution.org/blog/10-banned-foods-americans-stop-eating/

My Interview

My interview went well, overall, except when my interviewers asked me some questions about kitchen safety that I didn’t know the answers to.  I felt like I was being given a pop quiz.  Also, it turns out the job mostly covers food safety on the retail level, not on the farm level, which I’m used to.

I just found out that I didn’t get the job.  I didn’t really expect too much, but I’m still very disappointed.  At least they actually let me know.

Interview at the Ohio Department of Agriculture

On Friday morning, I have a job interview in Reynoldsburg.  It’s for a position with the Ohio Department of Agriculture: Food Safety Specialist.  I’m pretty excited about it, especially since I’m lucky to be having it (the original candidate for the position declined).

I’ll let you all know how it goes later.

What Fuels Salmonella’s Invasion Strategy?

What Fuels Salmonella’s Invasion Strategy?

Once you eat meat, eggs, or vegetables contaminated with Salmonella you get sick; it’s inevitable.  But how exactly does Salmonella make you sick?  What happens to the bacteria when they enter your body?  What is their plan of attack?

This short article traces the pathway of Salmonella infection.  Click on the link to learn about this pathway and what scientists are researching to prevent it.