Bea Riemschneider, Editorial Director
MaryBeth DiDonna, Editor
Editorial Advisory Board
Charles W. Berndt, C. W. Berndt Associates Ltd.
Adam Giandomenico, Particles Plus Inc.
Scott Mackler, Cleanroom Consulting LLC
Gregg A. Mosley, Biotest Laboratories Inc.
Robert Nightingale, Cleanroom Garments
Bipin Parekh, Ph. D., Entegris Inc.
Michael Rataj, Aramark Cleanroom Services
Howard Siegerman, Ph. D., Siegerman and Associates LLC
Scott Sutton, Ph. D., Microbiology Network Inc.
Art Vellutato, Jr., Veltek Associates Inc.
Bob Vermillion, CPP/Fello w, RMV Technology Group LLC
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Vol. 19 • No. 6
This is the final issue of Controlled Environments for 2016, which means that it’s time to look back on the past year and see what stories have been trending with our readers. Food-related contamination was the hottest topic of the
year for CE readers. The top blog of 2016 was about fast food chain
Chipotle, which received a grand jury subpoena in January as part
of a criminal investigation by the Department of Justice and the
FDA ( http://bit.ly/2emx3dc). Dozens of people were sickened
due to outbreaks of E. coli, salmonella, and norovirus. Chipotle
lost millions of dollars and saw its stock price tumble following
the outbreaks. A February blog detailed Chipotle’s attempts to rectify the situation with a
company-wide virtual meeting about food safety ( http://bit.ly/2dJjfcI).
Canned tuna also presented a health crisis this year, along with pistachios and tea
( http://bit.ly/2dvCLvK). And Chipotle found itself in the news yet again because of an
illness outbreak in a Boston-area store — later they sent out millions of coupons for free
food in a desperate attempt to win back customers. Frozen produce possibly contaminated
with Listeria had been shipped to every state in the U.S., plus Mexico and Canada. (http://
bit.ly/2e21LxI) Nature Made, Clif Bar, and Hershey’s were also among the brand names
affected by contamination recalls in 2016 ( http://bit.ly/2emVbMH).
New York State’s “Buffalo Billion” project — a $1 billion investment in the Buffalo-area
economy, which promised to create thousands of jobs and spur billions in new investment
and economic activity over the next several years — was marred by corruption probes
focused on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and members of his staff ( http://bit.ly/1ro6mdR).
During the summer, voters in the United Kingdom elected to leave the European
Union, in a move dubbed “Brexit.” Back in March ( http://bit.ly/2e2lpty), CE discussed
the opinions of prominent British scientists such as Stephen Hawking, who argued that
British research institutes would benefit from EU funding and access. After Brexit passed
by a slim majority in the June referendum, we covered reactions from the British scientific
community ( http://bit.ly/28SeP3b), and talked about what Brexit could mean for funding,
a lack of new researchers coming in from the Continent, and Scotland’s future in the U.K.
Actor Charlie Sheen made the news after he endorsed a line of condoms inspired by
the “honeycomb” structure of graphene ( http://bit.ly/2e2mvFB). Sheen, who last year
revealed that he is HIV positive, stated that the endorsement is him doing his part to
raising awareness about sexual health and safety.
Finally, electronics and semiconductor giant Samsung was said to have intentionally
withheld deadly chemical information from its ill employees ( http://bit.ly/2aM0aux).
Samsung workers alleged they were exposed to deadly chemicals at the company’s computer chip and liquid crystal display factories. Ill employees should be able to access data
about these chemicals through the government or courts, in order to provide proof when
they apply for workers’ compensation. Without this information, though, it’s next to
impossible for people to get compensation. Court documents show that Samsung denied
workers this information, alleging that doing so would expose trade secrets.
Controlled Environments will continue to track these topics, and others related to
cleanrooms and contamination control, in 2017.
See you next year!