Food Safety

Organic Food, GMOs, the Safety of American Food, the Value of Use-By Dates, and More--Scientists Tell Us What They Think



Links to Parts 1 and 2 of this survey are at the end of this article.


We expected--and got--a range of opinions when we surveyed scientists about major food issues.  However, 5 of the 6 questions in Part 3 of the series elicited a significant majority preference for a particular answer. You'll find the statistics and the scientists' comments enlightening no matter what viewpoint you hold about GMOs, organic produce, use-by dates, grass-fed cattle, and the relative safety of American food.   

Raw chicken, Leftovers, Deli Meats, and More-- What Surveyed Scientists Said

ham and cheese


During the fall of 2013, Shelf Life Advice embarked upon an ambitious project: We emailed a survey to more than 800 scientists who teach and/or do research and are on the faculty of approved* food science programs. Faculty members from more than a dozen colleges or universities responded to our questions about food safety, nutrition, and controversial food issues. Some of their answers may influence how you grocery shop and handle food in your kitchen.


Conducting this survey taught us two things about asking scientists questions related to their area of specialization: 1) It seems that great minds do not think alike.  Our survey results rarely showed consensus. 2) Ask a scientist a seemingly black-and-white question, and the response is often gray. It's likely to begin with "It depends." Fortunately, our survey provided ample space for comments, many of which are included in the report below.  These should help readers to see the complexity of these scientific matters and to explain why there isn't total consensus. 

Tips on Water Safety During and After a Storm

waterEditor's note: Food process engineer Dr. Timothy Bowser, a faculty member in Oklahoma State University's Department of Biosystems and Agricultural  Engineering and an Advisory Board member of Shelf Life Advice, provided the following remarks for this site.



Water is one of the biggest food issues after any large storm.  Municipal water sources can be polluted and may endanger those that drink contaminated water or wash food or hands with it prior to treating the water.  After a major storm or disaster, assume that the water from your public water system is unsafe to drink or use for cooking until you've heard an official announcement that the water is safe.   

Tips About 4 Popular Beverages: Wine, Coffee, Water, and Soda

wineHere is some advice and even some good news about the beverages you may drink the most. 



Pairing wine with the right food--so that you don't destroy the taste of the wine--is a tricky business. I learned that from Bill St. John, a wine expert who writes regularly for the "Good Eating" section of the Chicago Tribune.  No doubt, his taste buds are more sensitive and judgmental than most people's. Still, his warnings and his simple solution to pairing problems may help you treat your guests to wine they'll really enjoy.

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