Helena Bottemiller

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Helena Bottemiller is a Washington, DC-based reporter covering food policy and politics for Food Safety News. She has covered Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court, and several high-profile food safety stories, including the half-billion Salmonella egg recall and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Helena’s work has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, NBC News, and elsewhere. She has appeared on BBC, CNBC, and is widely cited by mainstream and niche media. She tweets about food and agriculture policy at @hbottemiller.

Latest Articles

At an FDA lab in Denver, Microbiologist Melissa Nucci preps for testing peanut butter samples for Salmonella. Photo courtesy of FDA’s flickr. With a globalized food supply brought to us by increasingly complex supply chains, foodborne illness outbreaks are notoriously tough to solve. These outbreaks often involve multiple states and dozens of illnesses, which are chronically underreported. They include patients who can’t remember what they ate for lunch last week, and, while food products are…
Food safety experts are scratching their heads after a Washington Post article suggested last week that certain chemicals used in poultry processing might be masking the presence of Salmonella. It’s a scandalous theory that could explain why government data show big reductions in Salmonella rates in poultry plants while human illnesses have held steady – but is it a real concern? According to the Post’s report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection…
In response to growing frustration and increased media attention surrounding the response to the ongoing Cyclospora outbreak, which has now sickened at least 418 people in 16 states, Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) on Thursday “demanded” answers from federal health officials about why they have not given the public more information. Citing concerns raised by a handful of high-profile food safety experts, DeLauro, a key appropriator, wrote a letter to both the U.S. Food and…
Nearly 200,000 pounds of Chilean chicken is being recalled in the United States for dioxins only because the levels found violate Chile’s domestic limits, according to federal food safety officials. In other words, the 126,000 pounds of chicken currently being held at the border is there only because Chile recalled it, not because the U.S. Department of Agriculture thinks it’s a public health risk. In fact, when the same dioxin levels are found in U.S.…
Food & Water Watch, a Washington, DC-based advocacy group, said Monday it’s concerned about the way the U.S. Department of Agriculture is regulating meat imports following last weekend’s recall of nearly 200,000 pounds of imported chicken for dioxins — toxic pollutants that can pose a public health risk. On Saturday, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a public notification announcing that health authorities in Chile had recalled 188,522 pounds of chicken that had been…
Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is releasing two long-awaited rules aimed at improving the safety of imported foods, which now make up about 15 percent of the U.S. food supply. The measures, mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act, will require that importers verify their suppliers are employing prevention-based food safety practices and create a system for certifying third-party auditors. The agency is also extending the comment period for two other key rules,…
The U.S. government will extend its review of the proposed sale of Smithfield Foods to Shuanghui International, which would be the largest Chinese takeover of a U.S. company, Smithfield said on Wednesday. The Virginia-based company said the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the interagency group charged with reviewing the national security implications of foreign acquisitions, notified all parties that it will take an additional 45 days to review the deal that…
Clover Food Lab, a popular group of restaurants and food trucks in the Boston area that sells locally sourced vegetarian food, had a “really pitiful” food safety program leading up to a local Salmonella outbreak tied to the company, according a leading food safety and restaurant inspection expert. After the Boston Globe reported that the restaurant group was shuttered after being linked to a 12-person Salmonella outbreak and posted the restaurants’ health inspection report online
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday stepped up its outreach to small- and medium-sized growers by launching more resources to help explain the sweeping new food safety rules. The move comes after several news outlets ran stories highlighting farmers’ concerns about the costs of the regulations, which were mandated by Congress in the Food Safety Modernization Act enacted in early 2011. After being extended, the comment period for two major proposed…
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday proposed a limit for arsenic in apple juice, two years after testing by Dr. Oz and Consumer Reports spurred widespread consumer concern about the presence of the compound in juice products. The Environmental Protection Agency already has an arsenic limit for tap water, but the FDA’s new proposal is the first such federal standard for a food product. The proposed limit, or “action level,” for inorganic arsenic…