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Spend a Moment with Richelle Shields

How has your experience with foodborne illness shaped the way you think about food today?

I am still very surprised and disappointed at how often people today are unaware of the severe risks and consequences of unsafe food. There are many restaurants that will still ask how you would like a hamburger cooked and are very willing to serve ground meet not fully cooked (even rare). Stores and roadside stands still sell unpasteurized juices. These products have devastated lives and induced lasting health effects on many people, including our son. Some people and companies are still not careful about the dangers of cross-contamination such as failing to sanitize surfaces following preparation of uncooked meats.

Why did you get involved with Stop Foodborne Illness?

I had no personal knowledge of E. coli and HUS before my son got sick. Stop Foodborne Illness helped provide information, answers and resources that helped me through our crisis.  With the near fatal consequences and lasting effects that my son experienced from consuming an unpasteurized juice product that was marketed as a health product, I couldn’t help but get involved with Stop Foodborne Illness. They’ve done so much to advocate, to help shape laws, and spread the word about the dangers of food borne illness.

Talk about a time when you spoke to a roomful of people.

I talked to a group of family and friends about food safety and passed out Stop Foodborne Illness pamphlets so that the group could be informed about food borne illnesses and actions that can be taken to make food safer. Another time, Stop Foodborne Illness invited me, my husband, and son to speak at an FDA commission hearing on food safety. They were there advocating for changes to food safety laws.