Ever heard of someone being paralyzed by their food? I hadn't. Ok, I could imagine it happening if someone slipped on a banana peel ;) But seriously, I wouldn't have thought it possible.
But then I read about Stephanie Smith, a 22 year old dance instructor who suffered such severe seizures from eating a hamburger that doctors had to put her in a coma for 9 weeks. And when she woke up, she was paralyzed!
What could Stephanie have possibly eaten to cause that? An 'Angus Beef Patty' contaminated with E. coli - a bacteria found in faecal matter (or should I say poo particles). And how would faecal matter end up in food? Take your pick: rubbed onto the meat from dirty skin, from unclean tools, or from an intestine being knicked whilst carving up the corpse.
Granted, not all E. coli is harmful to humans, and Stephanie's reaction was severe, but all the same, EEK! And while E. coli contamination may be a gamble, one thing that is a sure bet is increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and strokes. Hmm .. no thanks!
So anyway, if you've got some time to spare, the NY Times article about Stephanie and food safety is very interesting. As is this one by Jonathon Safran Foer (author of Everything is Illuminated) about his experience of becoming vegetarian. They're both long, but they're worth the read.
And if you've still got some time to burn after that, then you probably need to find yourself some friends (yes I know that includes me!). But also, you might like to check out the Larry King Live debate on the safety of eating meat in response to these articles.
Now that oughta keep you out of trouble for a while ;)