06-21-2018  1:17 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

Girl, 14, drowns in pond near Silverton

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Authorities say a junior camp counselor drowned in a pond near Silverton.The Marion County Sheriff's Office says deputies arrived Wednesday night to find lifeguards and camp counselor searching the pond for 14-year-old Naomi Rudolph of Keizer. Her body was pulled from the...

ICE office in Portland closed another day

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Portland was closed again Thursday because of a demonstration against Trump administration immigration policies.Agency spokeswoman Carissa Cutrell said people who had appointments scheduled at the office will be...

Washington, other states plan to sue over family separations

SEATAC, Wash. (AP) — Washington and more than a half-dozen other states said Thursday that they plan to sue the Trump administration over a policy of separating immigrant families illegally entering the United States.Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson made the announcement Thursday...

Walla Walla podiatrist charged with unprofessional conduct

WALLA WALLA, Wash. (AP) — A Walla Walla podiatrist has been charged with unprofessional conduct for allegedly failing to meet the standard of care in treating two patients who developed infections which later required amputations.The Union-Bulletin reported Thursday that Washington state's...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

3 men face hate crimes charges in Minnesota mosque bombing

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A grand jury has added civil rights and hate crimes violations to charges three Illinois men face in the bombing of a mosque in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington.Federal prosecutors announced the new five-count indictment Thursday against 47-year-old Michael Hari,...

Governor orders probe of abuse claims by immigrant children

WASHINGTON (AP) — Virginia's governor ordered state officials Thursday to investigate abuse claims by children at an immigration detention facility who said they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete...

Abloh's historic debut at Vuitton is a big draw in Paris

PARIS (AP) — The debut Louis Vuitton collection by Virgil Abloh, the first African-American to head a major European fashion house, drew stars of all stripes to Paris for his rainbow-themed menswear show.Kanye West was there with his wife, Kim Kardashian West, who had returned to Paris for...

ENTERTAINMENT

Q&A: Sam Smith on touring, therapy, smoking and lip syncing

NEW YORK (AP) — Sam Smith knows his music is melancholy and emotional, but he's hoping his live shows will be uplifting and feel "like a fistful of love," as he put it.The singer, known for down-tempo hits like "Stay With Me" and "Too Good at Goodbyes," is launching "The Thrill of It All...

AP PHOTOS: Toasts, kisses and laughs at Clooney AFI gala

LOS ANGELES (AP) — George Clooney, this is your life.The American Film Institute hosted a star-studded gala earlier this month to honor the Oscar-winner's achievements as an actor, director and activist. The evening kicked off with a video message from former President Barack Obama, and...

Mike Colter brings the pain as the indestructible Luke Cage

ATLANTA (AP) — "Black Panther" broke box office records, but "Luke Cage" once crashed Netflix.The streaming service suffered a massive outage for more than two hours in 2016, one day after the premiere of "Luke Cage," a drama-action series starring Mike Colter who plays the show's superhero...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Dig it: Archaeologists scour Woodstock '69 concert field

BETHEL, N.Y. (AP) — Archaeologists scouring the grassy hillside famously trampled during the 1969 Woodstock...

Canada's legalization to offer pot by mail, better banking

Mail-order weed? You betcha!With nationwide marijuana legalization in Canada on the horizon, the industry is...

Koko the gorilla, who learned sign language, dies at 46

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Koko the gorilla, whose remarkable sign-language ability and motherly attachment to...

Cuba slightly loosens controls on state media

HAVANA (AP) — Minutes after a plane carrying 113 people crashed on takeoff from Havana airport, Cuban state...

Pope, in Geneva, says Christians must work together on peace

GENEVA (AP) — Pope Francis journeyed Thursday to the well-heeled city of Geneva to encourage all...

South Sudan's armed opposition rejects 'imposition' of peace

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — South Sudan's armed opposition on Thursday rejected any "imposition" of a...

Marilynn Marchione AP Chief Medical Writer

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Avoid foreign produce. Wash and peel your fruit. Keep it refrigerated. None of these common tips would have guaranteed your safety from the deadliest food outbreak in a decade, the one involving cantaloupes from Colorado.

Whether it's sprouts or spinach, turkey or hamburger; whether the government doubled, tripled or quadrupled inspections, the truth is that no food will ever be completely free of risk.

And a few foods have become so risky that certain people such as children, pregnant women and the elderly may do best to avoid them altogether until growers and the government figure out how to make them safer, some food experts say.

An unappetizing fact: Although the current cantaloupe outbreak has been tied to just one farm in Colorado, it's at least the 19th outbreak involving that melon since 1984. It's also the first one caused by listeria, a germ that actually likes to be in the refrigerator and thrives in this fruit, which cannot be cooked unless you want to eat melon mush.

Listeria also prompted a California farm to recall bags of chopped romaine lettuce on Thursday because of possible contamination, though no illnesses have been reported. The greens from Salinas-based True Leaf Farms went to an Oregon distributor and possibly at least two other states - Washington and Idaho.

So what should you do if you see cantaloupe on a salad bar or at the grocery store? Can you be sure all of the tainted stuff has been pulled from the market, since the last bad melons were shipped on Sept. 10? What if no one knows where the cantaloupe was grown?

"If the store can't tell them or the restaurant can't tell them, I would not buy it at all," said Chris Waldrop, director of the Food Policy Institute at the Consumer Federation of America.

Laura Anderko, a Georgetown University public health expert, went a step further.

"Honestly, as a nurse, I would tell people don't eat the cantaloupe until this thing resolves itself," she said. "This stuff happens because our system is not as tight as it needs to be."

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has confirmed 13 deaths and 72 illnesses in the outbreak so far, has not told people to stop buying cantaloupe. However, the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration cannot even say where all of the tainted melon went, because it was sold and resold to many distributors across the nation.

"When in doubt, throw it out," is the CDC's advice to consumers who have any cantaloupe whose origins they can't determine.

"Even if the cantaloupe is gone, you need to wash the drawer or shelf it may have been on" to make sure other foods don't become contaminated, said Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of food safety at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Beyond that, each outbreak brings fresh lessons on how to make produce safer. And while some of these things aren't guarantees, they can cut the odds you'll lose at the food safety lottery.

Some new tips food experts offered Thursday:

- Shop more often and consume fresh fruits and vegetables within a few days. This gives germs less chance to multiply and gives you more nutrients from your food, too.

- Don't just wash a melon. Scrub it under running water to rinse off any dislodged germs, and let it dry. If you cut it while it's still wet, "you may be sliding the pathogens more easily from the outside to the inside" on the knife, DeWaal said.

- Keep the fridge cold, 40 degrees or lower. Higher than that can let germs grow.

- Don't get a false sense of security if you buy organic produce. That just means less pesticide - not necessarily fewer germs.

- Consider dropping especially risky foods from your diet. Bean sprouts are not safe for children, pregnant women or people with weak immune systems and certain diseases, but that doesn't mean they're OK for everyone else, said Michael Doyle, a microbiologist who heads the University of Georgia's Center for Food Safety.

Doyle also consults for a lot of food companies, including a major spinach producer that sought help after outbreaks involving that vegetable. He has chaired a food safety advisory council for McDonald's for many years.

"I don't eat sprouts at all," he said. If harmful bacteria are in the seeds "they grow in the sprouting process, and there's nothing to kill them unless you cook them."

You can go too far with this, though. Even Dr. Robert Tauxe, the CDC's top food-germ sleuth, once confessed over lunch that he refused to live in fear of the fork, and that there were only a few foods he absolutely wouldn't eat, such as raw oysters and unpasteurized milk.

Beyond that, safe handling and cooking can generally keep most foods safe, he said.

The big picture is important, said Robert Gravani, a food scientist at Cornell University.

A gazillion pounds of produce are consumed each day, and only a tiny fraction cause problems, he said.

"I have a hard time saying, `Don't eat produce,' because of all of the health benefits," he said. "Everything we do has some degree of risk attached to it."

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Online:

Food safety tips: www.cspinet.org , http://www.fightbac.org

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Marilynn Marchione can be followed at http://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP

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