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Food, Sex and Salmonella

Cover of Food, Sex and Salmonella

Food, Sex and Salmonella

Why Our Food Is Making Us Sick
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What sex is to interpersonal relationships, eating is to the human-environment relationship: a consummation of humans’ connection to the living biosphere. But while sticking one’s tongue into a new and exciting environment may be an act as old as the planet, it can also lead to some nasty surprises. In this lively look at foodborne illnesses, David Waltner-Toews discusses food-related problems caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites, including death by puffer fish, rollicking tales of tapeworms, neurological problems brought on by ciguatera poison, and that old standby, botulism. He also examines the chemicals and antibiotics that have entered the food supply and the havoc they can wreak. And to help readers stop problems before they start, he offers common-sense solutions to confronting the complicated issue of foodborne disease. His witty approach makes a deadly serious subject accessible to all readers, while never minimizing the risk.
What sex is to interpersonal relationships, eating is to the human-environment relationship: a consummation of humans’ connection to the living biosphere. But while sticking one’s tongue into a new and exciting environment may be an act as old as the planet, it can also lead to some nasty surprises. In this lively look at foodborne illnesses, David Waltner-Toews discusses food-related problems caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites, including death by puffer fish, rollicking tales of tapeworms, neurological problems brought on by ciguatera poison, and that old standby, botulism. He also examines the chemicals and antibiotics that have entered the food supply and the havoc they can wreak. And to help readers stop problems before they start, he offers common-sense solutions to confronting the complicated issue of foodborne disease. His witty approach makes a deadly serious subject accessible to all readers, while never minimizing the risk.
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    From Chapter 1

    A one-year-old child will put anything into her mouth, just to taste what it is. As we get older, we get more squeamish and more sophisticated; we say, "Let me see what you've got," not "Let me taste what you've got." But we do continue to stick strange and wonderful things into our mouths and to stick our tongues into, and around in, amazing places, well into adulthood. We call it eating. And the more socially unacceptable our chosen food, the more apt we are to call it gourmet food or health food or an acquired taste, as if its acquisition implied a higher plane of evolution.

    Eating is one of the great sensual pleasures of life. It is where that fuzzy sense of mystical at-oneness with the world meets and celebrates hard biological necessity. When we eat we are, quite literally, turning the world outside in. Foods are nothing more or less than pieces of environments: bark, leaves, roots, sap of trees (maple syrup, date palm juice), and animals of all sorts from the land and the sea, even bacteria (think live-culture yogurt), algae. We even eat dirt. I have a report in my files of a woman who habitually ate earth, with its associated beetles and the like, from the graves of priests. She subsequently suffered infection with the cat roundworm Toxocara cati.

    Most of us do not eat dirt in that way, of course, although pica (abnormal appetites), which includes the eating of dirt, is more common than we realize. Ever watch a one-year-old child in the sandbox? But even adults are not immune to such behavior, and normality, particularly with regard to food preferences, is very much culturally conditioned. In the end, eating dirt in some African cultures is really no different from eating mineral supplements in North America.

    When we eat, we select portions of an environment and bring them into intimate contact with our bodies. They become one with us, and we become one with the earth. What sex is to interpersonal relationships, eating is to the human-environment relationship, a daily consummation of our marriage to the living biosphere.

About the Author-
  • David Waltner-Toews is a veterinarian and epidemiologist specializing in diseases people get from animals by living with them, sharing their environments, or eating them. He is a professor in the Department of Population Medicine at the University of Guelph in Ontario, founding president of Veterinarians without Borders/Veterinaires sans Frontieres—Canada, and author of numerous books of poetry and nonfiction, including One Animal Among Many: Gaia, Goats and Garlic and The Chickens Fight Back. He has also published two textbooks and one work of fiction. He lives in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.
Table of Contents-
  • Preface to the Second Edition
    Preface to the First Edition
    French Kissing on the First Date
    1. Food, Sex, and Salmonella: What's the Problem?
    2. The Voice of the Unseen Guest: How People Get Sick
    When She Stays for Breakfast
    3. Salmonella Reading in Turkey: Foodborne Infections Caused by Salmonella
    4. Cows, Cats, and Pure Country Water: E. Coli and Waterborne Infections
    5. The Young and the Retching: Foodborne Bacterial Intoxications (Except Botulism)
    6. Grandma's Revenge: Botulism
    7. It May Be Worms to You (But It's My Bread and Butter): Parasites
    8. Zombies from the Deep: Seafood Toxins
    When She Moves In
    9. Are We Safe Yet? Transforming Danger into Risk
    10. One Person's Cure, Another Person's Coffin: Antibacterials, Pesticides, and Preservatives
    11. Dancing Cat Meets Cadmium Carrot: Heavy Metals
    12. Breadwiches, Peanut Livers, and Cancer-free Airline Snacks: Mycotoxins
    13. There Is a Crack in Everything: Radioactive Contaminants
    Spicing Up the Long-Term Commitment
    14. Risks, Rights, and Righteous Eating: Revisiting Risk
    15. Montezuma Rules the World: Deal with It
    Further Reading
    Acknowledgments
    Index

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Food, Sex and Salmonella
Food, Sex and Salmonella
Why Our Food Is Making Us Sick
David Waltner-Toews
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