The Problem with Knowing it All


In a handful of conversations I’ve had over the last couple months (with people schooled in food safety and those who are, at best, consumers), I’ve been prompted with, “Well, don’t people already know all of that,” when discussing stories I was writing or editing.

That thought bought some real estate in my head as I worked on stories such as this month’s “Pathogen Detection and Prevention Tips, Tricks and More." Like, a lot. We’re talking New York City ultra-high-rise-type investment property. Ask the writers in your life. They’ll be able to relate.

It’s absolutely true that most food safety professionals are going to know why it’s a pretty good idea to reduce pathogens such as E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria and Campylobacter, how and where to test for them and how to prevent them. It’s also unfortunately true that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, foodborne illnesses have not declined, and outbreaks are still making headlines.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James knows how to shoot a basketball. He has for a long time. But there’s a reason he takes hundreds of shots during practice. We all need to continue to work on what we do to get better at it, and sometimes that involves practicing the basics while studying up on the next frontier. (After all, James adapted his game when the analytics-led 3-pointer became the trendiest shot in the NBA.)

I don’t think you can be too cavalier with food safety.

One more conversation brought it all home. While talking with a mentor and former colleague, I was reminded that great articles solve a problem for the reader. But we know all of our readers are at different points in their careers and thus have different problems. As such, our content is designed to be twofold: First, we want to help educate all the newer QA professionals out there. But we also want to provide a gentle reminder to our more seasoned readers about the “what” and “why” of food safety issues.

A little practice can keep your game in superstar form.

Whether you’re flummoxed by flying insects or getting the lowdown on the burgeoning market for cannabis edibles, at the end of the day, what I hope is that each article in this issue helps solve a problem — even if it’s something you already think you know.

March April 2021
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