Where’s the fun in that? BPI settles with ABC in pink slime defamation case

There’s no settlement details; both sides claim victory; lawyers get rich – pink slime and media are both disappointing.

4 T

BPI said: “We are extraordinarily pleased to have reached a settlement of our lawsuit against ABC and Jim Avila. While this has not been an easy road to travel, it was necessary to begin rectifying the harm we suffered as a result of what we believed to be biased and baseless reporting in 2012. Through this process, we have again established what we all know to be true about Lean Finely Textured Beef: it is beef, and is safe, wholesome, and nutritious. This agreement provides us with a strong foundation on which to grow the business, while allowing us to remain focused on achieving the vision of the Roth and BPI family.”  

ABC said, “ABC has reached an amicable resolution of its dispute with the makers of ‘lean finely textured beef.’ Throughout this case, we have maintained that our reports accurately presented the facts and views of knowledgeable people about this product. Although we have concluded that continued litigation of this case is not in the Company’s interests, we remain committed to the vigorous pursuit of truth and the consumer’s right to know about the products they purchase.”

This after three weeks of jury trial and testimony in a courtroom in South Dakota.

What can be learned?

Not much that isn’t already known.

People want to know about their food. Where it was grown, how, what’s been added and if it’s safe.

The N.Y. Times, as usual, gets that little bit right in a commentary in 2012, but wrongly thinks right-to-know is something new, that media amplification is something new because of shiny new toys, and offers no practical suggestions on what to do.

The term pink slime was coined in 2002 in an internal e-mail by a scientist at the Agriculture Department who felt it was not really ground beef. The term was first publicly reported in The Times in late 2009.

In April 2011, celebtard chef Jamie Oliver helped create a more publicly available pink slime yuck factor and by the end of 2011, McDonald’s and others had stopped using pink slime.

On March 7, 2012, ABC News recycled these bits, along with some interviews with two of the original USDA opponents of the process (primarily because it was a form of fraud, and not really just beef).

Industry and others responded the next day, and although the story had been around for several years, the response drove the pink slime story to gather media momentum – a story with legs.

BPI said pink slime was meat so consumers didn’t need to be informed, and everything was a gross misunderstanding. BPI blamed media and vowed to educate public. Others said “it’s pink so it’s meat” and that the language of pink slime was derogatory and needed to be changed. USDA said it was safe for schools but quickly decided that schools would be able to choose whatever beef they wanted, pushing decision-making in the absence of data or labels to the local PTA. An on-line petition was launched.

Sensing the media taint, additional retailers rushed to proclaim themselves free of the pink stuff.

BPI took out a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal, the favored reading choice for pink slime aficionados, and four mid-west governors banded together to repeat the same erroneous messages during a media-show-and-tell at a BPI plant. Because political endorsements rarely work, and the story had spread to the key demographic of burger eaters, others sensed opportunity in the trashing of BPI. Wendy’s, Whole Foods, Costco, A&P, Publix and others launched their own media campaigns proclaiming they’ve never used the stuff and never would.

Guess they didn’t get their dude-it’s-beef T-shirts.

These well-intentioned messages only made things worse for the beef producers and processors they were intended to protect.

Here’s what can be learned for the next pink slime. And there will be lots more.

Lessons of pink slime

  • don’t fudge facts (not really 100% beef?)
  • facts are never enough, although facts are the underpinnings of journalism, ABC
  • changing the language is bad strategy (been tried with rBST, genetically engineered foods, doesn’t work)
  • telling people they need to be educated is arrogant, invalidates and trivializes people’s thoughts
  • don’t blame media for lousy communications
  • any farm, processor, retailer or restaurant can be held accountable for food production – and increasingly so with smartphones, facebook and new toys
  • real or just an accusation, consumers will rightly react based on the information available
  • amplification of messages through media is nothing new, especially if those messages support a pre-existing world-view
  • food is political but should be informed by data
  • data should be public
  • paucity of data about pink slime that is publicly available make statements like it’s safe, or it’s gross, difficult to quantify
  • relying on government validation builds suspicion rather than trust; if BPI has the safety data, make it public
  • what does right-to-know really mean? Do you want to say no?
  • if so, have public policy on how information is made public and why
  • choice is a fundamental value
  • what’s the best way to enable choice, for those who don’t want to eat pink slime or for those who care more about whether a food will make their kids barf?
  • proactive more than reactive; both are required, but any food provider should proudly proclaim – brag – about everything they do to enhance food safety.
  • perceived food safety is routinely marketed at retail; instead market real food safety so consumers actually have a choice and hold producers and processors – conventional, organic or otherwise – to a standard of honesty.
  • if restaurant inspection results can be displayed on a placard via a QR code read by smartphones when someone goes out for a meal, why not at the grocery store or school lunch?
  • link to web sites detailing how the food was produced, processed and safely handled, or whatever becomes the next theatrical production – or be held hostage

Corned beef and pastrami with poop: New York deli flooded with ‘fecal matter’ due to bad pipes, suit says

Maya Rajamani of DNA Info reports the basement of the Stage Door Deli & Restaurant was deluged with “sewage and fecal matter” after the building’s owner failed to inspect and maintain the eatery’s pipes, a new lawsuit charges.

The restaurant at 360 Ninth Ave., between West 30th and 31st streets, was no longer able to use its basement after the pipes connecting to the city’s main utility lines broke on July 30, 2016, the suit filed against the landlord Thursday in Manhattan Supreme Court claims.

Building owner 30th Street and 9th Avenue Enterprises LLC was supposed to inspect and maintain the pipes but failed to do so, the suit notes.

The diner, known for the corned beef and pastrami sandwiches it has served for the past 17 years, moved into the Ninth Avenue space after a rent hike forced it out of its longtime home across from Penn Station in 2015.

When the pipes broke last year, “sewage and fecal matter” seeped into the basement, “causing both substantial health concerns and damage to food products, food supplies and food preparation areas,” the complaint says.

 

AI and dairy

Why did I write the other day about an artificial intelligence dude who I knew 25 years ago, and whose primary application at the time was ensuring elevators in skyscrapers were efficiently dispersed to floors that needed them – oh, and vision?

Because he made the N.Y Times with an hyperbaric headline about making Toronto a high-tech hotbed (he didn’t write the headline) and because his AI basics are making their way into food safety.

Caroline Diana of Inquisitr writes IBM and Cornell University, which primarily focuses on dairy research, will make use of artificial intelligence (AI) to make dairy safe(r) for consumption.

By sequencing and analyzing the DNA and RNA of food microbiomes, researchers plan to create new tools that can help monitor raw milk to detect anomalies that represent food safety hazards and possible fraud.

While many food producers already have rigorous processes in place to ensure food safety hazards are managed appropriately, this pioneering application of genomics will be designed to enable a deeper understanding and characterization of microorganisms on a much larger scale than has previously been possible.

Only a PR thingy could have written this paragraph: “This work could eventually be extended to the larger context of the food supply chain — from farm to fork — and, using artificial intelligence and machine learning, may lead to new insights into how microorganisms interact within a particular environment. A carefully designed informatics infrastructure developed in the IBM Accelerated Discovery Lab, a data and analytics hub for IBM researchers and their clients and partners, will help the team parse and aggregate terabytes of genomic data.”

Better than a poorly designed informatics infrastructure.

7 sick: Outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to raw frozen breaded chicken thingies in Canada, again

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with lotsa other bureau-types to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections in four provinces with cases of human illness linked to frozen raw breaded chicken products.

PHAC feels compelled to tell Canadians the risk is low and illnesses can be avoided if safe food handling, preparation and cooking practices are followed when preparing these types of food products. This outbreak is a reminder that frozen raw breaded chicken products contain raw poultry and should be handled and prepared no differently from other raw poultry products.

It’s the just-cook-it stance, which doesn’t account for cross-contamination, and utterly fails to account for the BS marketing that companies use to market this shit (see video below, when we had no idea how to shoot video).

Currently, there are seven cases of Salmonella illness in four provinces: British Columbia (1), Alberta (4), Ontario (1) and New Brunswick (1). Two people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Individuals became sick between April and May of this year. The majority of cases (71%) are male. The average age of cases is 26 years.

It’s the end of June. How much time is needed to go public with an identifiable foodborne risk? And no company identified? A public health disgrace.

Direct video observation of adults and tweens cooking raw frozen chicken thingies (not the real title)

01.nov.09

British Food Journal, Vol 111, Issue 9, p 915-929

Sarah DeDonder, Casey J. Jacob, Brae V. Surgeoner, Benjamin Chapman, Randall Phebus, Douglas A. Powell

http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContentItem.do;jsessionid=6146E6AFABCC349C376B7E55A3866D4A?contentType=Article&contentId=1811820


Abstract:

Purpose – The purpose of the present study was to observe the preparation practices of both adult and young consumers using frozen, uncooked, breaded chicken products, which were previously involved in outbreaks linked to consumer mishandling. The study also sought to observe behaviors of adolescents as home food preparers. Finally, the study aimed to compare food handler behaviors with those prescribed on product labels.


Design/methodology/approach – The study sought, through video observation and self-report surveys, to determine if differences exist between consumers’ intent and actual behavior.


Findings – A survey study of consumer reactions to safe food-handling labels on raw meat and poultry products suggested that instructions for safe handling found on labels had only limited influence on consumer practices. The labels studied by these researchers were found on the packaging of chicken products examined in the current study alongside step-by-step cooking instructions. Observational techniques, as mentioned above, provide a different perception of consumer behaviors.


Originality/value – This paper finds areas that have not been studied in previous observational research and is an excellent addition to existing literature.

Poison customers, it’s good for business: Burger row hits the grills in New Zealand; try a thermometer

New Zealand’s oldest licensed premises has pulled a burger that’s been the cornerstone of its menu – blaming it on bureaucratic red tape gone mad.

Dan Fraser, executive chef at the Duke of Marlborough restaurant in the Bay of Islands, was left stewing after a visit from a Ministry of Primary Industries inspector on Thursday. 

Nicole Lawton of The Sunday Star Times reports new food preparation guidelines from MPI state minced meat and liver needs to be cooked at high temperatures for a longer amount of time than previously, to avoid contamination. 

Fraser said the new rules were a raw deal and will now prevent him serving his signature burger The Governor’s Burger which is pink and juicy in the middle. 

The Governor’s Burger features bacon, cheese, pickle, tomato, chipotle mayonnaise and a medium rare beef mince patty.

“It’s a really good burger, we really pride ourselves in presenting it to our customers,” Fraser said.

“Basically, the ministry is telling us how our customers need to eat their food.”

MPI food and beverage manager Sally Johnston, said the new rules didn’t entirely ban medium-rare meat – but chefs would have to change how they cooked it.

“If they do want to serve a medium-rare burger, it is possible, it just might take a little more forethought and planning,” Johnston said.

“It is possible to cook a medium-rare burger safely, it just means that they need to think about the processes that they are using to do that. It might not be necessarily possible to do that on a BBQ or grill.”

She suggest sous vide methods of cooking instead – what people used to call boil-in-the-bag.

“Who the f*** wants a sous vide burger?”, Fraser said.

The new rules state meat should have an internal minimum temperature of 65°C for 15 minutes while cooked, 70°C for three minutes, or 75°C for 30 seconds.

But Fraser said those were rules drawn up by a bureaucrat and not a chef. They meant a beef mince patty would always be “rubbery and devoid of flavour”.

Johnston insists the new rules are necessary. “People have died from under cooked burgers, there is a genuine food safety risk here, we’re not doing this to take the fun out of food. Bugs that have caused people to die (such as E. coli) are frequently found in New Zealand meat.”

The new MPI guidelines detail how restaurants and food businesses should prepare, store and serve their food, and supplement the 2014 Food Act. 

Top chef Ray McVinnie told Stuff NZ that serving a medium-rare burger is “dangerous and dumb” and that any chef who complains about such regulations does not understand basic food safety.

Yesterday, the Ministry for Primary Industries decided they will be talking to chefs about ways they can serve medium rare burgers and still keep food safe for consumers.

“We’re happy to work with chefs wanting to develop a custom Food Control Plan that covers their specific menu items. It might need different methods of sourcing, storing, and handling meat to make sure consumers are still protected.”

The move by MPI to regulate chefs’ kitchens brought howls of outrage and ridicule from those interviewed by the NZ Herald.

Labour’s Damien O’Connor said it was “ridiculous overkill”.

“We’ve got strict controls on how you kill and process meat. To then look at the cooking of it is nanny-state gone mad.

Northland MP Winston Peters, who has eaten at the Duke of Marlborough often over the years, said “paternalistic bureaucrats” were killing New Zealand businesses.

Sick customers ruin biz.

I look forward to the microbiologically-based arguments the talking heads will bring to the public discussion.

Assessment of risk communication about undercooked hamburgers by restaurant servers

Ellen M. Thomas, RTI International; Andrew Binder, Anne McLaughlin, Lee-Ann Jaykus, Dana Hanson, and Benjamin Chapman, North Carolina State University; and Doug Powell, powellfoodsafety.com

Journal of Food Protection

DOI: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-16-065

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration 2013 Model Food Code, it is the duty of a food establishment to disclose and remind consumers of risk when ordering undercooked food such as ground beef. The purpose of this study was to explore actual risk communication activities of food establishment servers. Secret shoppers visited restaurants (n=265) in seven geographic locations across the U.S., ordered medium rare burgers, and collected and coded risk information from chain and independent restaurant menus and from server responses. The majority of servers reported an unreliable method of doneness (77%) or other incorrect information (66%) related to burger doneness and safety. These results indicate major gaps in server knowledge and risk communication, and the current risk communication language in the Model Food Code does not sufficiently fill these gaps. Furthermore, should servers even be acting as risk communicators? There are numerous challenges associated with this practice including high turnover rates, limited education, and the high stress environment based on pleasing a customer. If it is determined that servers should be risk communicators, food establishment staff should be adequately equipped with consumer advisory messages that are accurate, audience-appropriate, and delivered in a professional manner so as to help their customers make more informed food safety decisions.

Food safety is not simple

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada correspondent, Rob Mancini, writes:

I’ve been told many times from various sources that Mancini’s always a cheerful guy, you can’t upset him… this is only because I find happiness with my family. I have an amazing wife and 2 incredible kids (6 years old and 19 months), all healthy.  What more can I ask for: nothing.

But when I read stories of kids dying from hemolytic uremic syndrome due to an E. coli infection, in particular when it could have been prevented, I get mad.

“We can’t hold him. We can’t love on him. All we can do is just stand at the bedside,” Lindsey Montgomery, Huston’s mom, told WFAA.

Heartbreaking.

Fox News reports A 2-year-old boy is on life support after contracting an E. coli infection from an unknown source while on vacation in Oklahoma with his family. Landon Huston, of Ennis, Texas, was experiencing stomach virus-like symptoms when a fecal sample tested positive for E. coli, WFAA reported.

Huston was taken to Children’s Medical Center Dallas where doctors discovered the infection had progressed to Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), an abnormal destruction of red blood cells that leads to kidney failure, WFAA reported.

Huston underwent the first of two surgeries on June 14 and has had a blood transfusion. He was placed on life support after doctors discovered fluid in his lungs, a post on the family’s GoFundMe page said.

The Texas Department of Health Services is investigating any potential source of the bacteria. E. coli can be found in the environment, foods, and intestines of people and animals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Most parents like us had no idea, you know, the dangers of something like this,” Montgomery told WFAA. “And it’s everywhere. E. coli is something that’s everywhere.”

While most strains of the bacteria are harmless, others can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia. About 5-10 percent of patients who contract E. coli will develop (HUS), which could present as decreased frequency of urination, feeling tired and losing color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids. Patients can recover in a few weeks but others may suffer permanent damage or die.

“I have faith he’s going to come out on top,” John Huston, the toddler’s dad, told WFAA.

I’ve taught many food safety courses and have lectured on the importance of food safety to many. I’ve used different techniques in teaching, heavily based on behavioral science amongst other antics, to stress the importance of certain food safety principles. Even did a TV show on the subject.  All of this doesn’t matter if your inherent belief system is contrary to the information provided.  Need to be compelling and understand how human behavior operates. At times I wish I know more psychology but it’s never too late.

Food safety is not simple, it is hard and anyone who says otherwise is clueless.

I always try to share personal stories and current relevant food safety stories in an attempt to connect with my audience or readers and gauge their interest. Doug taught me this and it works.

 

Satire: Rookie USDA Agent vomits after seeing first rotten orange

Unable to contain his nausea at the horrifying scene before him, rookie USDA agent Michael Dunn vomited Friday after seeing his first rotten orange.

“As soon as the kid caught a glimpse of that produce lying there decomposing, he turned away, hunched over, and started throwing up like crazy,” said supervisor Carl Webster, adding that it was not uncommon for brand-new agents to react in such a manner when suddenly confronted with a putrefying, fly-covered rind. “He’ll get past it, though—you build up your tolerance after a while. The key is to not let it faze you but also never forget that this rotting pulp was once a sweet, delicious part of someone’s fruit bowl or lunchbox.”

At press time, Dunn had steeled himself and looked at the orange once more, but was vomiting again before he could make it back to the car.

‘Rockmelon nearly killed my unborn son’ (that’s Australian for cantaloupe)

Jane Hansen of The Northern Star reports that when Amelia Liddy-­Sudbury was pregnant with her third child, she was extra careful with her diet, never eating raw fish or soft cheese.

But she didn’t think twice when she bought some pre-cut rockmelon.

“I bought it, cut up and I think that was the source,” the 35-year-old Mosman mum said.

Thirty three weeks into her pregnancy, Mrs Liddy-Sudbury picked up a Listeria infection – one that could have killed her and her baby.

A fortnight later baby Theodore was delivered – five weeks premature – and would need weeks of intravenous antibiotics to stem meningitis.

“It is a deadset miracle he is alive, once you are diagnosed with listeriosis, that’s usually it, the baby is dead,” Mrs Liddy-Sudbury said.

Listeriosis, caused by the food-borne listeria bacteria, kills one out of every five ­unborn babies it infects.

Two weeks ago another pregnant mother tragically lost her baby to listeriosis.

The woman arrived at hospital with abdominal pain, headache and mild fever. Her baby was ­delivered by caesarean section but was stillborn as a result of the ­infection.

Including Mrs Liddy-Sudbury, it was the third ­pregnancy­-­related case this year in NSW, three times the usual rate.

NSW Health director Dr Vicky Sheppeard said the three cases represented a concerning spike.

“Around the country there have been more cases in the past six months as well,” she said.

Health authorities are now urgently reminding pregnant woman to be extra careful with their food choices.

Listeria bacteria is found in a variety of foods, including cold meats, cold cooked chicken, raw fish, soft-serve ice cream, soft cheeses and unpasteurised milk.

Most pregnant women know to avoid these foods, but the bacteria is also found in pre-cut fruit and pre-bagged salads, products that are highly popular in supermarkets and convenience stores.

“Those products are becoming more common and anything that has been cut and left is a risk, you have to wash and peel fruit and salad yourself if pregnant,” Dr Sheppeard said.

Uh, maybe.

There are benefits to having an abundant supply of fresh fruits and vegetables.

However, the evidence does lean toward pre-cut anything being a heightened risk.

So if cutting up a whole rockmelon at home, refrigerate immediately.

This makes a mockery of the supermarket chains and fresh produce venders who sell half-sliced melons or cut up produce, usually at room temperature, which in Brisbane, is warmer than most places.

Norovirus in frozen raspberries: Quebecers sick

My grandfather, Homer the Canadian asparagus baron, always said if it wasn’t asparagus, he figured raspberries would be a good cash crop.

He had a patch out front and as a child I could often be found in the raspberry patch, picking a few and eating many.

So I’m disappointed (how Canadian) whenever cheap raspberries are the culprit in transmitting norovirus or hepatitis A.

I’m even more disappointed when taypayer-funded bureaucrats in government and public journalism fail to ask basic questions or provide basic information so consumers can make actual food choices, away from the hucksterism.

CBC News reports the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ) has issued a warning list of raspberry and raspberry products that may have been contaminated by norovirus.

Several cases of illness have already been reported to the ministry.

Those who have products on the list are asked to avoid consuming them and return them to the facility where they were purchased, or discard them.

Media coverage notes the bad batch of raspberries that is the likely culprit has been recalled by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Oddly, the only recall on the CFIA website involving norovirus and frozen raspberries happened on June 20, 2017, with almost no supporting information, other than, media should call.

Gelsius brand IQF Whole Raspberries were recalled due to norovirus,and were distributed by Farinex (113712 Canada Inc.), a Quebec-based distributor of all things food.

Here’s some questions to ask:

Where were the frozen berries grown?

Were they covered in human shit?

Why so little info from CFIA?

Montreal locations affected by the recall:

Crémerie Gélato Cielo (10414 Gouin Blvd. W.)

Raspberry gelato

Raspberry sorbet

Berry sorbet

C’Chô-Colat Inc. (1255 Bishop St.)

Raspberry gelato

Raspberry sorbet

Berry sorbet

Les Délices Lafrenaie Inc. (8405 Lafrenaie St.)

Frutti di bosco

Heavenly berry

Les gourmandises de Marie-Antoinette (4317 Ontario St. E.)

Marie-Antoinette cake

Glaces et Sorbets Kem Coba inc. (60 Fairmont Ave. W.)

Raspberry sorbet

Boulangerie Et Pâtisserie Lasalle R.D.P. Inc. (8591 Maurice-Duplessis Blvd.)

Berry cake

Gourmet Bazar inc. (9051 Charles-de-la-Tour St.)

Whole raspberries

Me thinks something is going on here.

Homer would be ashamed that raspberries got a bad name.

Adjectives rule ‘Organic scrotal braisin’ Gwyneth Paltrow’s first Goop health summit

It’s lazy to poke holes in the wellness industry.

So here’s to fun and laziness.

Dr. Kellogg has been an easy target for two centuries, other shamen and woman date back to antiquity, when who knew why anyone had explosive diahhrea, other than the ether or the gods.

Anyone who likes Coldplay enough to marry the singer has serious problems, and should not be dispensing advice for anyone.

Andrea Mandell of USA Today reports Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle website, tested its first summit in the gluten-free city of Los Angeles last Saturday. The price was steep: Roughly 600 attendees paid anywhere from $500 (for a “Lapis” pass) to $1,500 (for a “Clear Quartz” pass) to experience all things Goop for over nine hours. From crystal therapy to organic bone broth sampling, here’s how our experience went down at Paltrow’s first conference.

8:45 a.m. This is technically the time I’m allowed into “Goop hall,” where I’ve been promised a long list of vendors showcasing goods for me to try. But I’m still at home, trying to figure out if the dress code will be more athleisure or free-spirited sundress. The first session doesn’t start until 10 a.m., so what’s the harm in arriving a tad late?

9:30 a.m. Huge mistake. After being given my entry pass for the day – a bracelet of brown worry beads with a blue tassel, signifying my lowest-tier status (Lapis), I enter Goop hall and it is immediately epic. There’s a woman giving crystal therapy readings seated on cushions, the line for aura photography (a thing!) is 25 people deep, the flavored oxygen bar is packed and Dyson blowouts are in full swing.

9:35 a.m. Mildly panicked, I quickly get to breakfast, sampling in quick succession: Bulletproof Coffee Plus (coffee blended with something called Brain Octane Oil, grass-fed Butter and pasture-raised collagen protein), a tiny pink glazed donut from Erin McKenna’s Bakery and a sushi-inspired breakfast lox burrito from Kye’s.

9:40 a.m. I spot Gwyneth Paltrow walking in and hugging her staff as she takes in the peak Goopdom. (She wore a pink sundress, and I feel vindicated, but in truth anything went, as the dress code varied from athleisure to jeans.) The crowd here is mostly female, white, and between the ages of 30-50.

10 a.m. We assemble into the “chat room,” a forum style hall in which Blythe Danner’s pre-recorded voice welcomes us over the PA. Paltrow takes the blush-tone stage to greet us and explains how she became interested in this space in 1999, after her father was diagnosed with throat cancer. “I was trying to get him to eat healthier and I made him this batch of zucchini bread that was everything-free and I thought it was delicious,” she says. “And he bit into it and went, ‘Well, it’s like biting into The New York Times’.” As the audience chuckles, she says luckily gluten-free sugar-free food “has made a lot of progress since the ’90s.”

10:15 a.m.. Paltrow introduces us to the “the guy responsible for the term conscious uncoupling,” Dr. Habib Sadeghi, who will be instructing us on something called Cosmic Flow. But it’s a rough start: Sadeghi’s hour-long session proves to be a puzzling, extemporaneous jumble of his battle with testicular cancer, “the ontological experience called your life,” queries on why water is wet and how birds know how to fly (my 8-year-old could deliver this talk; get out there and earn your keep). He reads thank you notes from his patients and holds an existential discussion on how we chew our lunch. “I am one of the most authentic beings you will ever meet!” says Sadeghi, which immediately makes me question whether he is authentic. “Because I will never sell you short.” Somewhat deflated, I await the next session on gut health.

I’ve always told my daughters, when someone says “trust me,” run away.

11:35 a.m. Dr. Alejandro Junger (known for his Paltrow-approved master cleanses) takes the stage with Dr. Steven Gundry and Dr. Amy Myers. I know nothing about gut health, so I’m here for this: Teach me about my gut! But the first 10 minutes meander so much I get antsy and sneak out to try more of the samplings in Goop hall. There goes my gut.

11:45 a.m. Living the high life, I try Belcampo’s organic bone broth (unsalted, it’s hospital-like, but becomes more appetizing once you stir in offered mix-ins like apple cider vinegar and honey), before moving onto Moon Juice’s Blue Tonic with Brain Dust. There’s also a progressive display of pre-filled vape pens from hmbldt and an area called The Pharmacy, where you can buy Paltrow’s pre-packaged vitamins ($90).

12:05 p.m. Scooting back into gut health, it seems I’ve missed Gundry advising the audience to go hungry: “Don’t eat. I can’t stress that enough. We have the ability to store fat,” he instructed, according to my colleague at the Los Angeles Times.

12:15 p.m. Break! Though all of the activities available in the courtyard booked up for the day by 10 a.m. (an annoyance to many who paid hundreds if not thousands to be here) I luck out and get my aura photographed (a purple-y red, as it turns out, signifying I’m both a “visionary” and “passionate”). I sample “kale cookies ‘n cream” vegan ice cream. (Pass.) Two women I run into from Kansas City have told me they’re not super into the panels so far, and might try a nearby hike.

12:35 p.m. Onto a psychotherapy panel called The Tools! Paltrow moderates this one herself, and the session features her go-to doctors, Dr. Phil Stutz and Barry Michels. Initially, I’m worried they’re going to espouse more why-do-birds-fly generalities, but suddenly a red-headed woman volunteers to go up on stage for a session of LIVE THERAPY. (Paltrow gives up her seat and sits cross-legged on the floor.) It’s a remarkably raw, honest 30 minutes and closes with a talk about positive entitlement. “60 to 80 percent of the women in my practice don’t feel that basic sense of entitlement, that ‘I deserve this,’ ” says Michels. At their prompting, the room of women shout, “I’m an animal!” The hour ends with Paltrow opening up about her struggle with perfectionism. The doctors coin our fear The Shadow. “It’s whatever you wish you weren’t,” says Michels, no matter how much success you have.

1:15 pm Lunch is a yogi’s dream: Kale salads from Sweetgreen, poke bowls from Sweetfin, the matcha bar in full swing. Paltrow is off in an enclosed garden space having a catered meal with those who shelled out $1,500. This is not me, but I’m cool, I get to watch people willingly submit themselves to electrolyte IV drips in the courtyard.

3:45 p.m. The sex panel! Just when I thought I couldn’t take any more advice, renowned relationship expert Esther Perel (whose podcast I will now subscribe to), takes the stage with Girls showrunner Jenni Konner and “orgasmic genius” Nicole Daedone. Konner explains she and Lena Dunham depicted mostly bad sex on Girls because “we showed what sex is like in your twenties.” Perel disputes the common belief that women have lower libidos than men. “I don’t think women don’t want sex, I think women don’t want the sex they have,” she says. The session gets the biggest applause of the day.

5:05 p.m. Cute servers circle the chat room with trays of refreshing fruit smoothies. I’m starting to think Paltrow is a genius.

5:15 p.m. After a brief Q&A with Tracy Anderson, we’re onto the celebrity-packed keynote panel called Balls in the Air, which features Cameron Diaz, Tory Burch, Nicole Richie and Miranda Kerr, with Paltrow moderating. The convo is focused not on how these successful, beautiful women do it all, but how they choose what not to do. Diaz reveals why she hasn’t made a movie in over three years.

After being on the road continuously for her film career, “I just went, ‘I can’t really say who I am, to myself. Which is a hard thing to face up to,” says the actress, who married Benji Madden in 2015. “I can’t do the same things I’ve been doing for two decades…if I want to have a full life.” Richie’s tip on how she stays sane? “I like to wake up an hour before my kids, just so I can be alone.” The session ends on a classically Goop note, with Kerr revealing she once tried leech facials, and brought the leeches home because they kill them otherwise. “They’re in my koi pod,” she says.