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November 15, 2008 (Vol. 28, No. 20)

The Bad Bug Book

  • Abundance of well-organized info on nanotech
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If you’ve ever had food poisoning, your thoughts about foodborne pathogenic organisms are probably something less than objective. The Bad Bug Book is the FDA’s attempt to cover this important subject, and they get a thumbs-up here for the effort. Organization is not exactly what the site will be noted for, though, at least in its current configuration. The opening page starts with links to a set of pathogenic bacteria. Following any of the links leads to informative descriptions of the organism, the symptoms it causes, foods it is found in, and a description of selected outbreaks. The list of organisms causing these problems is extensive, though this is not exactly a surprise. It includes bacteria, protozoans, worms, viruses, and natural toxins such as aflatoxin or tetrodotoxin—the bad guy of puffer fish that is rather poisonous. One section even deals with prions, although the nature of this as a food pathogen is not exactly fully established. Though I’d like to see the information better organized, The Bad Bug Book has a big bad bounty of bug information.
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