Trumped

If I paid $300,000 for a membership, the kitchen better be pristine and safe.

As President Donald Trump took office earlier this year, state health inspectors arrived at Mar-a-Lago, the new president’s “winter White House,” for their annual inspection of the the private club’s kitchens.
What they found was not pretty.
Just weeks before Trump began entertaining world leaders and other dignitaries during his frequent visits to the Florida club, Mar-a-Lago’s restaurant was cited for 13 health code violations in a single inspection, the Miami Herald reported.
The infractions included potentially serious violations, including serving dangerously raw fish and keeping raw meat in malfunctioning coolers. The minor violations included not having hot enough water for staff to wash their hands and employees failing to wear hair nets when preparing food.
So, how do the kitchens at Trump’s “summer White House” in New Jersey compare?
The kitchens at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster — where the president is wrapping up his working vacation — have been cited for at least 17 health code violations during routine inspections between 2011 and 2016, according to records obtained through the state’s Open Public Records Act.
The reports included mostly minor infractions in the main kitchen serving the clubhouse restaurant and a smaller kitchen serving the pool-side cafe. Both restaurants are open to members as part of their $300,000 membership fee.
The violations included “significant fly activity” in the pool kitchen and main kitchen, dirty wiping cloths, grease-covered fryer units, uncovered and spilled food storage bins, melons stored at the wrong temperature and dirty kitchen utensils with “old and encrusted food buildup.”
In each case, the violations were minor enough for the golf club to get a “satisfactory” rating and its restaurants were allowed to remain open.

Noro is serious shit: Hotel housing athletes in world-class fail

As the world seemingly lurches to World War III, I’m reminded it’s the little things that add up.

Especially compensating for little hands.

BBC Sport and CNN report that Botswana’s Isaac Makwala has withdrawn from the 400m final, “due to a medical condition on the instruction of the IAAF Medical Delegate (Rule 113).”

Public Health England says 30 athletes and support staff have been affected by sickness at the Tower Hotel in London.

The International Association of Athletics Federations said Makwala withdrew from Monday’s 200m heats “due to a medical condition on the instruction of the IAAF medical delegate.”

He admitted to vomiting before the heats, but said he was not tested.

“I could have run. I did my warm up well and I was ready to run. I feel ready to run today, tonight,” he said.

Several German and Canadian athletes staying at the Tower Hotel fell ill last week.

A further 30 Germans due to arrive on Tuesday will be moved to other hotels.

German triple jumper Neele Eckhardt collapsed but was well enough to compete on Saturday, and took part in Monday’s final.

The Ireland team, who are also staying at the hotel, have confirmed that one athlete – 400m hurdler Thomas Barr – has been affected.

The Tower Hotel said investigations conducted with environmental health officers and the IAAF had shown the hotel was “not the source of the illness”. That has also been confirmed by Public Health England.

Ireland’s Thomas Barr withdrew from the 400m semifinals, while German and Canadian athletes also staying at The Tower Hotel near Tower Bridge have reportedly been affected too.

In a statement to CNN, Dr Deborah Turbitt, Public Health England (PHE) London deputy director for health protection, said: “We have so far been made aware of approximately 30 people reporting illness and two of these cases have been confirmed as norovirus by laboratory testing.

“PHE has been working closely with British Athletics and the hotel to provide infection control advice to limit the spread of illness.”

Public Health England said most peopled made a full recovery from the illness — often caught through close contact with someone carrying the virus or by touching contaminated surfaces — within one or two days without treatment.

A spokesperson for The Tower Hotel told CNN it was “not the source of the illness,” and that “We have followed strict hygiene protocol, ensuring that those affected are not in contact with other guests and all public areas have been thoroughly sanitized.

Uh-huh.

The chill started in Kansas, I live in Australia: USDA scientists have been put on lockdown under Trump

For the many who have asked, barfblog.com is on hiatus while I chill and focus on other things.

But some things deserve a wide audience.

Buzzfeed reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture has banned scientists and other employees in its main research division from publicly sharing everything from the summaries of scientific papers to USDA-branded tweets as it starts to adjust to life under the Trump administration.

According to an email sent Monday morning and obtained by BuzzFeed News, the department told staff — including some 2,000 scientists — at the agency’s main in-house research arm, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), to stop communicating with the public about taxpayer-funded work.

“Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents,” Sharon Drumm, chief of staff for ARS, wrote in a department-wide email shared with BuzzFeed News.

“This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content,” she added.

Indeed, the last tweet from ARS’s official account was sent the day before Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

Though the terse internal note did not explicitly mention the new presidential administration, department scientists around the country interpreted it as a message from Trump that changes were coming to the department.

The memo was also met with some confusion. When asked if the notice constituted a halt on the publication of academic articles, one regional director told scientists that research papers could be published in academic journals and presented at conferences, but that all media interviews must be approved by the office of communications in Washington.

In a statement on Tuesday to BuzzFeed News, the department acknowledged sending an internal email that halted the release of “informational products like news releases and social media content” on Monday. “Scientific publications, released through peer reviewed professional journals are not included,” he added.

“As the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific in-house research agency, ARS values and is committed to maintaining the free flow of information between our scientists and the American public as we strive to find solutions to agricultural problems affecting America,” Christopher Bentley, a spokesperson for ARS, said in the statement.

The Netherlands thing is hilarious. Thanks, Amy.

Take a dump on Trump: Poo Haiku for World Toilet Day

 

 

Take a dump on Trump

I won’t change my toilet’s name

Your poo orange too.

trumptoiletSaturday is World Toilet Day, a serious effort by the United Nations focusing on the fact that one-third of the world’s population — or 2.4 billion people —  have no toilet at home. A third of those people are children. They are vulnerable to disease, malnutrition and other major problems because there is no clean way of going to the bathroom where they live.

Marylou Tousignant of The Washington Post writes the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other organizations want everyone in the world to have proper toilets and safe drinking water by 2030.

People living in present-day Scotland and Pakistan built the first indoor toilets about 4,500 years ago. Pipes carried the waste outdoors. Knossos palace, built 3,700 years ago on the island of Crete in the Mediterranean, had some of the first flush toilets. They used rainwater and water from nearby springs. A wooden seat kept users dry.

Medieval castles had toilets built high on an outside wall. There was a stone seat at the top, and gravity took care of the rest. Often the waste dropped into the castle moat. People living in towns, meanwhile, collected their waste in what were called chamber pots, and they emptied them by heaving the contents out a window. Public lavatories, which were not common at the time, were often just several toilet holes in a row built over a river.

In 1596, England’s Sir John Harington designed a flush toilet with a handle and a raised water tank. He said using it would leave rooms smelling sweet. He gave one to his godmother, Queen Elizabeth I, who didn’t like it. Instead, she used a pot in a box covered in velvet and trimmed with lace. The idea of an indoor flush toilet didn’t catch on until 200 years later.

The word “toilet” comes from the French “toile,” meaning “cloth.” It referred to the covering on a lady’s dressing table and, over time, to the dressing room itself and the primping that went on there. (Wealthy people in the 17th and 18th centuries often had rooms at home just for getting dressed.) In the 19th century, “toilet” got its modern meanings: the place where bathing and other private acts occur and the bowl into which human waste is deposited.

Over time, chamber pots and toilet bowls got fancier and fancier. One such pot, sold during the American Revolution, had an image of Britain’s King George III at the bottom of the bowl.

Thomas Jefferson, who used flush toilets while he was the U.S. ambassador to France in the 1780s, had three small rooms for toilets built at Monticello, his home in Virginia. But there is no proof that they were true flush toilets. And because most American homes did not have running water until a century later, the widespread use of flush toilets came later as well.

Chinese businessman Zhong Jiye will not give up the brand name on his Trump Toilet products, NBC News reports.

“We registered our company in 2002 and obtained approval from the trademark office in Beijing,” said Zhong, referring to Shenzhen Trump Industrial Company Limited, which mostly manufactures high-tech toilet seats. 

hanksy-dumptrump“If (U.S. President-elect Donald) Trump thinks our trademark violates his rights and interests, he can use legal methods because our company observes China’s laws,” CEO Zhong told NBC News, adding that he is prepared to defend his company’s legal rights to the Trump brand name.

In Chinese, the company name means “innovate universally.” 

Vicky Hallett of NPR reports that poetry may be one way of getting people to discuss diarrhea.

That’s the idea behind Poo Haiku, a competition created by Defeat DD, a campaign dedicated to the eradication of diarrheal disease.

Although everybody’s had the runs, it’s not something most folks talk about, says Hope Randall, digital communications officer for PATH’s Center for Vaccine Innovation and Access, which created DefeatDD to bring together resources on vaccines, nutrition, oral rehydration therapy, sanitation and more.

Kat Kelley of the Global Health Technologies Coalition, which references a recent study published in The Lancet:

Just six pathogens

But eighty percent of kids’

Diarrheal deaths.

Randall herself penned an entry:

A vicious cycle,

Gut damage, malnutrition

We can halt the churn.

And from Doug Powell:

Take a dump on Trump

I won’t change my toilet’s name

Is your poo orange too.

(Depends whether the word orange is one syllable or two.)

Idiot America: Donald Trump Jr. compares Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles

Donald Trump’s appearance on Monday in Estero, Fla., got eclipsed by comments made by his son, Donald Trump Jr., about Syrian refugees.

skittles-wrapper-smallTweeting an image with the “Make America Great Again” logo, he compared Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles:

“If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you.

Would you take a handful?

That’s our Syrian refugee problem.”

Donald Trump Jr. @DonaldJTrumpJr

This image says it all. Let’s end the politically correct agenda that doesn’t put America first. #trump2016

In addition to his deplorable politics, he knows nothing about food safety. Or Skittles.

 

100 sickened: Did Salmonella at Trump’s restaurant kill her dad?

After Samantha Allen of The Daily Beast had a chat with me the other morning, she did good journalism and went off on her own, and cited a Trumpism: He likes to eat fast food because “at least you know what they’re putting in it.”

trump-junk-foodKatherine Purgatorio-Howard wishes her father knew what was in the mousse he ate at Trump’s Castle in October 1989, three months before he died.

“It was six figures,” she told The Daily Beast of the settlement her mother reached with the Atlantic City property over the mousse, which New Jersey health officials identified as the source of a salmonella outbreak. “But it didn’t make my father un-dead.”

Last Thursday, the Trump campaign issued—and then quickly deleted—a rant against the “FDA food police,” listing it as one of several “specific regulations to be eliminated” in his new economic plan. Among other things, the campaign whined about the Food and Drug Administration’s standards for “farm and food production hygiene,” safe cooking temperatures, and even “dog food.”

But these are the exact safety measures that help prevent foodborne illness outbreaks like the one that affected the Purgatorio family in 1989. In fact, the Trump business empire has a long and illustrious history of food poisoning cases and safety violations.

According to a 1991 Associated Press report, Kathleen and Thomas Purgatorio, then in their sixties, ate the “salmonella-tainted mousse” at a restaurant called Buffet by the Sea in Trump’s Castle Hotel and Casino on Oct. 16, 1989. Kathleen felt sick afterwards, Purgatorio-Howard recalls, but nowhere near as ill as her father who she told The Daily Beast “went from walking into the hospital to being in intensive care on a ventilator in a coma.”

“He was in critical care from October to December,” Purgatorio-Howard recalled. “We brought him home. We kept him in the living room in a hospital bed. He was in distress the whole time and then, in January, he went back to the hospital and died.”

The following July, according to the AP, the newly-widowed Kathleen and three other plaintiffs sued Trump’s Castle for “nearly $11 million” over the mousse, which the New Jersey Department of Health said in a report had sickened over 100 people—including the Purgatorios—over the span of four days in October 1989. Hers was one of six food poisoning lawsuits filed over the mousse around the same time, the AP reported.

the-7-most-ridiculous-things-donald-trump-has-said-in-the-last-2-weeksThat same July, Trump told the New York Daily News that the Purgatorio lawsuit was “ridiculous” and refuted any link between Thomas Purgatorio’s death and the chocolate mousse.

“If you write that story, there will never be a dime of money spent by my casinos in the Daily News again,” Daily News staff writer Salvatore Arena recorded Trump as saying in a phone interview. “And you can print that.”

Alan Kaplan, an attorney for Trump at the time, told the AP that Thomas Purgatorio’s death was due to a “pre-existing heart condition.” Purgatorio-Howard, now a New Jersey nursing instructor, told The Daily Beast that her father had previously had a heart attack sometime before the trip to Trump’s Castle but maintained that “his symptoms and his organ failure came from the overwhelming salmonella infection.”

Kaplan also told the AP that the salmonella at Trump’s Castle was due to bad eggs from a vendor. If that’s the case, perhaps stricter adherence to FDA “farm and food production hygiene” standards could have prevented the eggs from ever reaching the restaurant.

“People have to be protected,” Purgatorio-Howard told The Daily Beast. “You really can’t have less regulation.”

The case file for Kathleen Purgatorio’s lawsuit was ultimately disposed, according to court records. Purgatorio-Howard told The Daily Beast that the case was settled out of court for “hundreds of thousands” of dollars but could not recall the figure. Attempts to reach attorneys for both parties in order to confirm her estimate were unsuccessful.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a detailed request for comment and the Trump Organization did not have comment at press time. The Atlantic City Licensing and Inspection Department told The Daily Beast that records from this time are no longer available.

But newspaper reports indicate that Trump’s food-related woes only continued in Atlantic City. In 1992, the AP reported that “Donald Trump’s properties have the worst track record for food-related health problems among Atlantic City’s 12 casinos,” citing statements made by city health officials. Between 1984 and that time, the AP noted, there were five salmonella outbreaks at Trump properties, resulting in several temporary closures.

 “We find it highly unusual that most of our problems in Atlantic City have been associated with the Trump properties,” then-Atlantic City health department official Denise Nelson told the AP. “The physical part of the [establishments] is top-of-the-line but it all boils down to extremely poor food handling.”

The AP report states that “Sharon Pearce, a spokeswoman for the Trump Taj Mahal, disagreed with [Nelson’s] assessment, but refused to elaborate.”

In his now-retracted anti-FDA screed, Trump complained about “inspection overkill” but restaurant inspections like these can prevent deadly salmonella outbreaks. The CDC estimates that 19,000 people are hospitalized and 380 people die due to salmonella every year. A total of 3,000 Americans die from foodborne illness each year.

As Trump’s business empire grew, so did the list of food safety violations. In November 2012, the DJT restaurant in the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas received a staggering 51 violations “including month-old caviar and expired yogurt,” according to another AP report.

Public records from the Southern Nevada Health District show that DJT was indeed closed on Nov. 2 of that year with 51 violations during a routine inspection, reopening later that day with only 6 violations.

But the sudden closure and reopening did not escape the notice of local news station KTNV, which bestowed the dubious honor of a “Dirty Dining” award on the restaurant.

“The DJT restaurant in the Trump hotel is described on its website as ‘elegant’ and ‘in a class by itself,’ KTNV investigative reporter Darcy Spears announced in her exposé. “It is indeed in a class by itself this week, receiving the highest number of demerits of all restaurants health inspectors visited.”

Spears went on to list the many expired foods that health inspectors found at the DJT restaurant, including veal stock, tomato sauce, caviar, cranberry juice, duck, yogurt, peanut dressing, and black bean chili. Spears further reported that inspectors found “eggs, cream, cut tomatoes, potatoes, and sausage” were being kept at “unsafe temperatures.” As the AP noted, they also found “no measures to destroy parasites in undercooked halibut and salmon.”

In last week’s anti-FDA rant, the Trump campaign specifically highlighted required “food temperatures” as an example of potential over-regulation.

DJT ultimately provided KTNV with a statement that said, “We take these situations very seriously and all adjustments were made immediately. DJT opened within a few hours that same evening. We greatly value our guests, and delivering an exceptional experience to them is our top priority.”

But one of the worst brushes with health inspectors hit Trump even closer to home. As The Daily Beast has previously reported, public New York City health department records show that the Trump Cafe and Grill in Trump tower received 45 violations during an ungraded inspection in October 2015. That’s counting five “critical” violations including unapproved shellfish, a lack of appropriate “metal stem-type” thermometers to check cooking temperatures, and unsanitary wiping cloths. Two months later, the Trump Cafe and Grill scored only 12 violations and received an “A” grade.

But this May, another ungraded inspection found “live roaches present in [the] facility’s food and/or non-food areas” of the Trump Cafe and Grill and determined that the restaurant was not “vermin proof,” meaning that there were “conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.” One week prior to that inspection, Trump had tweeted a picture of himself eating a taco bowl prepared in that restaurant. Yum.

Trump: Stop regulating poisoned dog food, and people food

Samantha Allen of The Daily Beast e-mailed me about 4:45 a.m.

Of course I was up, and tried to talk quietly so as not to wake the family.

Fail.

 

trumpstoneAllen writes that Donald Trump often suggests that dogs can be fired. But who could have guessed that he would come out against safe food for all those unemployed canines?

In an official fact sheet that was pulled offline on Thursday afternoon—but not before The Hill reported its key points—the Trump campaign railed against the “FDA food police,” complaining that the agency “dictate[s] how the federal government expects farmers to produce fruits and vegetables and even dictates the nutritional content of dog food.”

The FDA does indeed regulate pet food—but that’s for good reason. Eleven of the 23 pet food recalls by the FDA since September of last year pulled chow off shelves due to food poisoned by listeria and salmonella.

Dr. Douglas Powell, a former Kansas State University food safety professor who now publishes the popular Barfblog, says the FDA’s role is key.

“Just like we regulate the nutritional content of vitamins that we add to breakfast cereal or bread, dogs also need proper nutrition,” he told The Daily Beast. “We should use science to improve the lives of not only humans but our four-legged companions.”

Paring back dog food regulations wasn’t even the most outrageous suggestion in the now-deleted fact sheet. As The Hill reported, the “FDA food police” was listed as one of many “specific regulations to be eliminated” in Trump’s economic plan. The fact sheet depicted “farm and food production hygiene,”food temperature regulations, and “inspection overkill” as cumbersome and costly safety measures that must be reviewed and potentially “scrapped.”

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to request for comment on the “FDA Food Police” but, according to Dr. Powell, the use of the term is “patently ridiculous.”

“Regulations and the ‘food police’ are there to set minimal standards,” said Powell. “The best companies will go above and beyond those minimal standards.”

So tinkering with what are already basic preventative measures against foodborne illness, Powell says, is simply a bad idea. The FDA has already investigated ten foodborne illness outbreaks so far this year and, according to CDC estimates, every year 48 million Americans get sick from their food and 3,000 of them die. The annual figure for foodborne illness-related hospitalizations is a whopping 128,000.

trumpmcdonaldsPowell predicts that if Trump were to pare back FDA regulations, most providers would still be motivated to produce safe food under threat of litigation but “you would see more people trying to cut corners.”

“Every time we have an outbreak, once you delve into the details, what you find is that it wasn’t some act of God,” Powell explained. “It was a series of small mistakes, largely driven by economics, that add up and lead to catastrophe down the road. And people die.”

In fact, Trump’s own restaurants have benefited from “inspection overkill.” In 2012, as the Associated Press reported, the steakhouse in the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas received 51 violations “including month-old caviar and expired yogurt.” The hotel reportedly “made [adjustments] immediately” and reopened shortly thereafter.

And during an ungraded inspection of the Trump Cafe and Grill October 2015, the New York City health department found 45 violations. By the time the graded inspection came around two months later, the restaurant had reduced the number of violations to 12. Now, it serves delicious taco bowls.

Of course, as Powell explains, it is not usually the FDA itself that goes around looking for aging yogurt in Trump restaurants but rather local food inspectors who largely adhere to the FDA food code.

“[FDA food police] is a term that doesn’t mean anything but it resonates with, I guess, the people who would vote for Trump,” Powell speculated. “He’s just doing it as an anti-regulation thing. It’s not really about food safety. It’s just an easy target.”

unknownThis isn’t the first time that the FDA has been the “easy target” of an anti-regulation message. In the early 1990s, in what the New York Times editorial board would later call “an industry-financed scare campaign,” advertisements helped convince Americans to restrict the FDA’s ability to regulate vitamin and supplement labelling. The result was the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which set up a separate set of standards for dietary supplements than for other food.

One particularly memorable 1993 TV commercial in that “scare campaign,” as Powell recalls, featured Mel Gibson’s house being raided for vitamins by a SWAT team meant to represent the FDA.

“If you don’t want to lose your vitamins, make the FDA stop,” Gibson implores at the end of the ad.

But the Trump campaign may already be rethinking its own anti-FDA stance. As The Hill reported early Thursday evening, the anti-regulation fact sheet has already been replaced with one that doesn’t specifically target the FDA. Humans and dogs everywhere can rest a little easier tonight.