Nosestretcher alert: Illinois paper perpetuates stereotypes about local food

The reporters at the Rockford Register Star in Illinois probably meant well, with a feature about the important role of local food inspectors, but they sorta ruin it by beginning the story with:

If you haven’t grown it, cleaned it and cooked your food yourself, you’re eating at your own risk.

It is entirely possible to grow food, and clean it and cook it all by yourself – and completely mess things up and make people barf.

Back to the story, Winnebago County Health Department sanitarians Gail Goldman and Karen Hobbs and four colleagues work to cut the risk of foodborne illness by checking out more than 1,600 establishments such as restaurants, grocery stores, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, gas stations, concession stands and other places offering food and drinks for public consumption.

In 2009, the Health Department’s sanitarians performed 5,109 inspections the most important part of which, Goldman and Hobbs said, was education.

Hobbs said the last thing that made her think she has seen everything on the job was “a towel used to wipe a cutting board and then used to wipe a face. There was quite a bit of education going on that day.”