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Chapter Ten
Hungry Planet: Stories of Plant Diseases

Questions for Discussion


1.  Ergotism was a dreaded disease for many centuries. Why did it take so long to discover its cause? Why is it unlikely that people will develop ergotism today?

2.  Mycotoxin contamination is an important public health problem. How can you minimize mycotoxins in your diet through the food choices you make and how you care for food after purchasing it? Why are mycotoxins so rarely discussed by the media?

3.  What are some fungal “contaminants” that many people welcome in their food?

4.  At this point, you are familiar with a number of potential health risks related to your food, including genetic engineering, genetic resistance through traditional breeding, natural plant defense compounds, pesticide residues, microbial contaminants, and mycotoxins. Based on what you have learned, how would you judge the relative risks of these factors to your health? How might these risks change where you shop and what you eat?