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Making Sense Of The Food Safety Alerts, Warnings Bombarding Consumers

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Everything we put in our mouths we trust will do no harm. But, it seems, a day does not go by when we are not hit with another point of concern.

"You know social media and the computer give you so much information," says Nigel Neal from Braddock.

A good example is the study that came out of the State University of New York that found microscopic pieces of plastic in bottled water. The report was released in mid-March and showed, on average, 10.4 microscopic pieces of plastic in the bottles of water.

SUNY chemistry professor Sherri Mason says, "It is not catastrophic, the numbers we're seeing, but its concerning."

So far, there is no evidence there are any negative health impacts, and many calls for further study.

So what do you do with that kind of information?

Charles Griffy II says, "To just shut it down completely, I can't see that, but it does put you in a curious state."

The fact is we put a lot of faith in those who monitor the safety of our food supply.

"I don't think about that," says Nancy Holzapfel, of Overbrook, as she headed into the grocery store. "I don't. You want to go get your food and get your meals done."

Dr. Kristen Mertz, of the Allegheny County Health Department, says, "I think people should go about their daily lives, eat what they usually eat. If there is a warning from CDC, there's a reason for it and it shouldn't be ignored."

That's exactly what happened with the CDC's romaine lettuce warning when the CDC said don't eat it unless you know it didn't come from Yuma, Arizona.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Just as the feds watch the food supply, the health department tracks restaurant issues. When it finds a problem, alerts are issued and the public advised. That's what happened at Peter's Place in Collier Township last week when mouse droppings were found. The restaurant had a bright alert sign on the door, but it didn't keep Millie Paff, from Canonsburg, from enjoying her lunch.

"The food is always good here, so if there's a mouse in there, what the heck," she said.

Not an inappropriate reaction since the health department says if the condition of the restaurant was a critical health threat, it would be shut down until it was safe again.

Dr. Mertz says, "Most of the time, our food supply is very safe."

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