Nancy Donley is a dedicated consumer activist with a
single objective – to make food safer. Tragically, she lost her 6 year old
son, Alex in 1993. He died from an E. coli O157:H7 infection from
contaminated ground beef http://www.barryyeoman.com/articles/food.html.
death of her son, Nancy helped form the consumer group – Safe Table Our
Priority (S.T.O.P.). Like Nancy, this organization has acted to improve
food safety and has promoted no other agendas.
A few months ago, I called Nancy to ask her to
write the forward for a book I’m writing on food safety for consumers.
During the conversation, we discussed recent food safety improvements. I
enthusiastically told her about a company that I work with that has
implemented an excellent food safety system.
This company produces pathogen-free raw products. They accomplish this by
treating their raw meat ingredients using high hydrostatic pressure and
further processing the product into patties in a controlled, aseptic
environment. They use state-of-the-art technologies to continuously
decontaminate conveyor belts, patty makers and other equipment during processing.
In addition, this company tests every lot of raw materials and finished
products for Salmonella and other pathogens. The finished product
tests results are posted on the company’s web site for their customers to
I told Nancy
that the owner of this company is a young woman who came from the fashion
industry into the food industry and didn’t know that a pathogen free raw
product was “impossible”. She decided that her product had to be safe and
implemented the technologies required to systematically eliminate
microbiological pathogens and prevent their reintroduction.
When I reached the end of my story, it occurred to me
that I was talking about a pet food company.
This company has achieved the food safety objectives
that Nancy has been promoting for 16 years. I was embarrassed to tell her
that these wonderful food safety interventions are being used to make safe
raw pet foods. The same technologies are available across the meat
It is time that we recognize that safe raw products
are possible. It isn’t easy and it may be expensive, but it certainly is