It’s all go, go, go for STOP

New Food finds out about US non-profit Stop Foodborne Illness’ monumental 28-year history and its future plans for putting a stop to contaminated food.

The 1993 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak on the west coast of the US, caused by contaminated Jack in the Box hamburgers, resulted in the deaths of four children and hundreds more sickened. This event was a watershed moment. It put food safety in the national spotlight and catalysed a long-overdue conversation. It forced the food industry and regulatory agencies to examine and evaluate food safety standards and practices in the US. The outbreak was also the impetus to create Safe Tables Our Priority (STOP) – the non-profit consumer advocacy organisation today known as Stop Foodborne Illness.

How STOP began

After the tragic loss of their children, the founding mothers and fathers of STOP banded together to increase awareness of deadly foodborne pathogens, research how they are introduced into the food supply and how they could be curtailed. As the grieving parents began to examine the regulatory environment, they learned that as early as 1982, scientists and pathologists had been warning the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Congress and the media that a food safety disaster was imminent.1