April 25th, 2012
10:45 AM ET
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After Tuesday's announcement confirming a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), sometimes referred to as "mad cow disease," in a dairy cow in California, you may want a refresher course in mad cow basics.

It's important to keep in mind that U.S. health officials said the public risk posed by BSE is extremely low, and that residents don't need to take any specific precautions.

Here are the facts:
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Filed under: Health News • Mad Cow • Tainted Food


Grandma-trained chef spices up Houston
August 12th, 2011
08:00 AM ET
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This summer, CNN's Defining America project is traveling the country with the CNN Express bus and iReport to explore the stories behind the data and demographics that show how places are changing.

To hear Lakesha Reed describe her cooking talents she's not classically trained as a chef, "I'm just grandma trained."

Reed, a New Orleans native, moved to Houston, Texas, in 2005 as one of the city’s thousands of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. We met her last month when CNN’s Defining America project hit the trail for Texas to find out how the Lone Star State has changed over the past decade.
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Filed under: Cuisines • Defining America • Feature • New Orleans • New Orleans • Texas • Travel


July 15th, 2011
09:15 AM ET
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This summer, CNN's Defining America project is traveling the country with the CNN Express bus and iReport to explore the stories behind the data and demographics that show how places are changing. This week, CNN brings you coverage from Texas.

Barbecue.

In Texas, that's a word worth fighting for.

Just ask the owner of City Meat Market in Lee County, Texas, where folks have been wolfing down beef, chicken and pork served on traditional pink butcher paper for nearly 70 years. Texas Monthly Magazine ranked it among the Top 50 BBQ joints in the state.
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Filed under: Barbecue • Bite • Defining America • Feature • Think • Video


March 21st, 2011
01:15 PM ET
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Photographs from iReporter felixlace show Tokyo store shelves with dwindling food resources.

As Japan struggles to find footing after an earthquake and tsunami devastated much of the country, a nuclear threat now looms over the land as reactors suffer physical damage, allowing the release of radiation into the atmosphere.

Today, World Health Organization spokesman Peter Cordingley claimed that short-term exposure to food contaminated by radiation from Japan's damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant poses no immediate health risk. This echoes Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano's stated belief that the levels of radiation in food - while above the legal standards - do not pose any immediate health risk, and that they are mostly dangerous only if consumed repeatedly over one's lifetime.

While Dr. James Cox, an oncology professor at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, tells CNN's Thom Patterson that he believes the radiation levels measured in milk and spinach that tested positive for radioactive cesium-137 and iodine-131 isotopes pose a "nonexistent" immediate risk to humans, and "very low" long-term risk, he concedes that "radiation doses ingested through food is really very poorly understood."
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