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

The House took a new approach to passing the long-stalled farm bill on Thursday: it passed a version that included farm programs, but left off the nutrition section, which represents 80 percent of the bill’s price tag. While much of the focus in Washington is on the political implications of splitting the farm bill into two, food safety advocates are concerned because the version that cleared the House could further delay implementation of the Food…
American consumers will not be impacted and the safety of pork products will not diminish if Smithfield Foods is acquired by Shuanghui International, Smithfield’s CEO Larry Pope told the Senate Agriculture Committee at a hearing Wednesday. The assurances come as the proposed $4.7 billion sale, which would be the largest ever Chinese acquisition of an American company, is facing an interagency government review and increased scrutiny on Capitol Hill. Fielding tough questions from lawmakers about…
The rapid detective work that linked a four-state Listeria outbreak — which has killed one person, caused a miscarriage, and hospitalized four others –- to cheese sold nationwide could prevent many illnesses, according to health officials. Dr. Barbara Mahon, deputy chief of the Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Food Safety News that Minnesota state health officials played a critical role by quickly detecting a cluster of illnesses. According…
While the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has been requiring meat and poultry plants use Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, or HACCP, systems since the late 1990s, the details of how exactly plants validate those systems to ensure they work has been a topic of recent debate and increasingly a focus of the agency. According to FSIS, the initial roll out of HACCP across the industry was focused on making…
Figuring out that pomegranate seeds from Turkey are likely what is responsible for infecting at least 132 people with Hepatitis A was unusually difficult, according to investigators at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The ongoing investigation into the outbreak, which spans 8 states, is “very, very complicated,” said Carla Tuite, the lead on the response team handling the outbreak at FDA. Tuite is part of the agency’s Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation (CORE) Network,…
Updated July 30 with expanded recall information: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Saturday it will detain shipments of pomegranate seeds from Turkey as health officials have narrowed the likely cause of a Hepatitis A outbreak that has sickened at least 127 people in 8 states. On Sunday, one of the frozen berry recalls associated with the outbreak expanded. The agency has worked with the Centers for Disease Control and state and…
The Hepatitis A outbreak linked to frozen mixed berries continues to grow. On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said five more illnesses have been confirmed as part of the outbreak, bringing the total to 127 ill in 8 states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it thinks it has identified a common shipment of pomegranate seeds from Turkey that may have been to blame. According to CDC, all of…
More than six months after a big defeat in California, the movement to label foods containing genetically modified organisms appears to be picking up steam across the country. In the past three weeks, Connecticut and Maine passed labeling bills, the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the first time approved a non-GMO label claim for meat products, Chipotle began voluntarily labeling menu items containing GMO ingredients online, and, perhaps most notably, the Senate Appropriations Committee…
Fifteen U.S. senators from both sides of the aisle are urging the government to consider food safety as they review the proposed sale of Smithfield Foods, America’s largest pork company, to Shuanghui International, China’s largest meat processor. The $4.7 billion deal, which would be the largest Chinese takeover of an American company, will be reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an interagency committee chaired by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew…
Surprising many, the House on Thursday failed to pass its version of the farm bill taking down with it a $20 billion food stamp cuts and a provision that could have further delayed the implementation of Food Safety Modernization Act. Late Wednesday night, the House had agreed by voice vote to add an amendment by Rep. Dan Benishek (R-MI) that would have required the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to conduct “a scientific and economic…