What do car safety requirements, vaccination programs and food preparation hygiene laws have in common? The unnecessary loss of life because people become complacent.
It's sobering to wander through an old section of a cemetery (just 100 years ago) and observe all the children's graves - a forgotten witness to how many young children died from illnesses that are now rarely experienced thanks to public vaccination programs and antibiotics. Nowadays some people avoid vaccinations because they are concerned about experiencing some usually minor discomfort for a few days*. They're not aware of how many children never made it to adulthood before we had vaccines against childhood infections and don't see classmates with legs in callipers or getting around on crutches - a legacy from childhood poliomyelitis IF they survived.
Cars are far safer nowadays due to all the legislated safety requirements, yet motorists still kill themselves when their car gets out of control. Why? Because motorists rarely get their car in a skid nowadays and push their car's road holding ability to the edge - and sometimes fatally beyond it.
People wish to drink unpasteurised milk nowadays, no longer appreciating how much food borne illness was eliminated by the pasteurisation process in which milk is heat treated to kill off bacteria.
So what prompted this post? The news that some Aussies in New South Wales wishing to follow a United States trend, are objecting to the legal requirement that hamburger meat must not be undercooked.
Many years ago I was very tempted to become vegetarian after reading Robin Cook's book 'Toxin': 'Dr Kim Reggis takes his daughter for a special night out to a fast-food restaurant. But the good time turns to tragedy when the young girl becomes ill and dies as a result of E coli poisoning. Kim devotes all his energies to tracing the cause of contamination, against even violent opposition.' Now while this was a dramatised, fictional account, the science behind it is real.
'In the United States, where undercooked hamburgers have been a trend for “some time”, there have been “a number of outbreaks of E. coli and a total of five deaths” since 1993, according to the NSW Food Authority.': thenewdaily.com.au/life/201...
As the article points out, 'The surface of solid cuts of raw meat was most likely to have any contamination. Unlike with mince, this is easily remedied during the cooking process.'
Food for thought,
* Some of us risk dangerous complications from vaccinations because of the very real allergy risk. If you are in that situation then obviously the reward vs risk benefit doesn't work for you.
Photo: Lamb chops and mince on the hoof near sunset