Newsweek’s Jessica Bennett recently interviewed Debra Hotzman, a food safety expert, about what people can do to prevent illness when dining out:
Q: "We often see children as the victims of food illness. Why are they so much more at risk?
A: Anybody can get a food-borne illness. But the people who are at risk for severe complications are anyone who has a weakened immune system—young children, older people, pregnant people, people who are post-operative. Those are the people who should take real [care].
Q: This is the second E. coli outbreak in just a few months. What does that say about our food industry?
A: We need more stringent regulations in place. I think there should be a single agency in charge of all food safety.
Q: How long did it take for people eat spinach again—and do you think it’s safe?
A: Spinach is one of the most wonderful foods that you can eat. And when you buy it, like with all leafy vegetables, there are things that you can do. You can remove the outer leaves at first and throw them away and then really spend time washing them under clear, clean, running water. Also keep up to date on recalls and safety alerts. The truth is that bacteria are sticky—hard to remove. But if you’re really concerned, if you’re somebody with a weakened immune system, then cook the spinach."