Op/Ed: "How I Changed the Way I Look at Food"

By Jeff Benedict

For a couple of years my wife, Lydia, had been encouraging me to write a book on the food industry.  I resisted, saying guys like Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser did that.  I write nonfiction stories, usually ones built around legal disputes.  I couldn’t see how to do a compelling legal story around food.

Then something happened.  Lydia’s concern about food safety revolutionized the way our family eats.  This did not happen gradually.  One week she cleaned out our cupboards and refrigerator, getting rid of everything from brand-name cereal to frozen meat to staple products like butter, flour, and sugar.  Even the salt and pepper went.  Then she restocked our kitchen with organic foods.  We also started going directly to small local farms to purchase our meat, poultry, and dairy products.

We didn’t stop here, though.  My wife convinced me to convert our 20-acre property into an organic fruit and vegetable farm.  For a guy who grew up in a beach community in Connecticut, this was culture shock.  But our four children loved it because we added horses, guinea fowl and chickens.  We now collect close to twenty farm fresh eggs per day.  On top of that we plant, water, weed, harvest and can.  Now when we say grace, we mean it.

Besides improving the way I look and feel, this lifestyle dramatically changed the way I look at food.  The transformation got me searching earnestly for a food-related book topic.  That’s when I came across Bill Marler, a personal injury lawyer who has emerged as the country’s most influential advocate for food safety.  Today, food safety is a serious public-health problem.  The CDC estimates that food-borne disease causes about 48 million illnesses per year.  Roughly one in six Americans get sick from bad food.  Many of these cases are mild gastroenteritis, commonly referred to as the stomach bug.  But too many food poisoning cases are more serious, resulting in approximately 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths annually.  The fatalities are often children and the elderly.

At the same time, food recalls happen often enough nowadays that we practically have a ho-hum attitude about them.  That is, unless more than a half a billion eggs are recalled and over two thousand people become sick with salmonella poisoning, which happened last year.  One year before that, nine people died from a salmonella outbreak linked to a peanut-manufacturing plant, leading to the largest food recall in U.S. history.  Then there’s E. coli, a potentially deadly pathogen that is no longer contained to meat.  E. coli outbreaks have now been linked to spinach, unpasteurized apple juice, peppers, bagged lettuce, sprouts, raw milk, cilantro, and cheese.  In 2009 E. coli even found its way into raw cookie dough.

But none of this was known back in 1993 when scores of children began showing up in Seattle-area emergency rooms with severe abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea.  At that time, E. coli wasn’t a reportable disease in most states.  The USDA didn’t test for it in meat.  Most consumers had never heard the term.  That all changed when public health officials in Seattle announced that E. coli-contaminated hamburgers sold by Jack in the Box restaurants was responsible for a rash of children in Seattle hospitals.

Before the dust settled, the outbreak had spread throughout the West.  Over seven hundred and fifty children were poisoned and four died.  All three national news networks tracked the story, as did every major newspaper.  The idea that a hamburger could be deadly was a chilling wake-up call.  Amidst this environment, Bill Marler, a fledgling personal injury lawyer in Seattle, got a call from a mother of one of the children swept up in the outbreak.  Marler and his wife had just had their first child.  When he went to Seattle Children’s Hospital and witnessed first-hand what E. coli can do to a child, his entire approach to law and food changed.

The more I learned about Marler, the more I realized what a compelling and important story I could tell about him and the first food safety case he won.  I flew out to Seattle to meet him.  He picked me up in his red Volkswagen convertible – license plate “ECOLI” – and took me to his home for two days of face-to-face interviews.  Before I knew it I was wrapped up in the throes of the Jack in the Box case.  For the past two years I conducted over two hundred interviews with all the major players in that outbreak: the families whose children were swept up in the outbreak; the Jack in the Box executives who were at the helm at the time; the physicians and public health officials who figured out the source of the poison; and the lawyers for both sides in what became the first class-action case linked to an E. coli outbreak.

Today, E. coli is a household term and the Jack in the Box case is one that virtually every American adult remembers.  But few people realize how much that case changed the way food is processed and regulated in this country.  And for some of us, it changed the way we eat.    But regardless of whether you remain a consumer of fast food or eat strictly organic, all of us can agree that efforts to improve food quality and food safety in the U.S. should not get short shrift from legislators and policymakers.

Jeff Benedict is an award winning journalist and bestselling author whose latest book is POISONED:  The True Story of the Deadly E. Coli Outbreak That Changed the Way Americans Eat.

For more information about Jeff Benedict visit his website at www.jeffbenedict.com or www.facebook.com/jeffbenedict.author.

Click here to buy a copy of Poisoned:  The True Story of the Deadly E. Coli Outbreak That Changed the Way Americans Eat

Megyn Kelly pulled her sons out of the private elementary school they attended after she learned that the boys were asked "weekly" if they were still sure they were boys. But that's not all that this "experimental transgender education program" taught.

Megyn joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to tell the story, which she thought had ended when the school apologized, and to talk about what's next for America as our leaders refuse to promote actual psychological support for our kids and instead "parade" transgenderism as the solution to their problems.

"When [my son] was in third grade, I found out they unleashed a three-week experimental transgender education program on these boys, with really inappropriate videos. The kids were confused. These are 8- and 9-year-olds, Glenn. They have no idea what the school is even talking about with the trans thing. They got really in-depth, with really in-your-face videos — and then parents complained. And the school did something it hasn't done in its 400-year history, which was they apologized. Even they realized they had done wrong," Megyn explained.

"But, then I said to my son a year later, so did they ever round back to the trans thing? Like, whatever happened with it? And he said ... they bring it up every week. ... [They ask] how many people here still feel confident that they're a boy? Do you still feel sure you're a boy?" she continued. "This is not support. This is not nonbullying. This is indoctrination. And it's deeply confusing to the children, and wrong."

Megyn went on to give examples of how she's seen trans ideology turn "support, nonbullying, kindness, friendship, allyship, on its head."

"The absolute surrender of the medical community to this insanity is a scourge on this nation. It's disgusting what is happening with our doctors," she added. "There are people who are legitimately transgender, or who have gender dysphoria. And for those people, we should be supportive and they should get the care that they need. But what we've done instead, is taken everyone who expresses any kind of gender confusion and said, you're trans. You're trans. And we have our psychiatrists doing this."

"It's crazy," Megyn asserted. "The fact that we're doing this so willy-nilly in the name of allyship and support, it's abusive. It's criminal."

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation:

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"Never forget" is not only a tribute to those we've lost, it's a warning that it could happen AGAIN. On "Glenn TV" Wednesday, Glenn Beck looks back 20 years ago to the modern generation's Pearl Harbor moment. A day of infamy we're STILL feeling repercussions from.

But in remembering 9/11, we need to look toward the future because the Biden administration is setting us up for the NEXT 9/11. They bungled the Afghanistan withdrawal, and now we have video of top al Qaeda commanders — who served with Osama bin Laden — returning to the country. But could America survive another terror attack?

Glenn asks former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the leader who brought America back from the brink. He tells Glenn about the moment he learned the Twin Towers were struck, the actions he took to prevent more terrorism, and if he thinks NYC could survive another attack under Mayor de Blasio's leadership.

Glenn is also joined by Rev. Johnnie Moore, author of "The Next Jihad." He warns that Biden's policies in the Middle East are Obama 2.0, and "if you thought ISIS was bad, you haven't seen anything yet. We must keep our eyes on Iran."

Watch the full episode of "Glenn TV" below:

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Glenn Beck and The Nazarene Fund have been working tirelessly to evacuate Americans and our allies from Afghanistan, thanks to the U.S. government's failure to do so. But it's been far from easy. A recent Newsweek article, titled "Taliban Holds Up Glenn Beck Group's Planes," addressed some of the most recent challenges. The article claimed that six planes — filled with Americans and SIVs ready for takeoff — were "grounded by the Taliban amid negotiations with the U.S. State Department." So, what's actually going on? Why is the State Department meddling in the rescue? And what are the next steps to get these Americans home?

Watch the video clip below to hear Glenn breaks down the whole story:

UPDATE: Leaked Email Shows State Department STILL Blocking Afghanistan Rescue Flights

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