Here are two stories by Ian Cumming, originally published in the Ontario Farmer in 2007, sent in to the Bovine by Michael Schmidt, as an example of how media releases from government health officials are not always based on fact. For more on how this story unfolded, see “2007 Story of the Bogus Bad Cheese and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit“. More evidence to support the theory that you shouldn’t believe anything until it’s been officially denied.
Column 315, by Ian Cumming:
In mid – July, a press release from the Eastern Ontario Health Unit about a group of people getting sick from eating on farm manufactured cheese, was printed – as fact – in a host of a papers from the Glengarry News to the National Post.
A press release is a quick and easy way to file a story – too quick and easy. Not a single reporter asked to see the test results of the cheese. Which incidentally showed no campylobacter in either of the samples sent to a licensed lab by both the on farm cheese maker and the Health Unit themselves.
Despite no verifiable proof the press release linked the campylobacter infection in the dozen sick people to the on farm made cheese they consumed, but forgot to mention the chicken and mayonnaise – also great carriers of campylobacter – they might have ate. Continue reading