Food science cafe

We had our first, monthly, Food Science Café, last night, and while numbers were small, I still believe that, if you build it, they will come.

As long as it’s useful.

Adrianna Deweese of the Kansas State Collegian wrote that Douglas Powell, scientific director of the International Food Safety Network at K-State, said the purpose of the monthly discussions is to talk about food safety and science in a different setting than a classroom.

Powell showed his meat thermometer to those in attendance, and said it is important to get a digital, instant-read, tip-sensitive meat thermometer, which costs about $12.

"Lots of people use it for whole birds or roasts, but I think it’s more important actually for the burgers and the ground beef," Powell said. "Ten years ago I would have never used one, but now I feel naked when I don’t – I feel vulnerable."

When he is asked at a restaurant how he would like his hamburger cooked, Powell said he responds he would like it "160," meaning he would like it cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Food color often is a poor indicator of when it is properly cooked, Powell said. K-State food-safety research has found about 25 percent of tested hamburgers turned brown before they reached a safe temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, he said.

"We’re always just trying to find one way to put information out and take information in," he said. "We’re just always trying to find new ways to get it out there so we have fewer sick people."

The network also has several blogs at and Powell also wore a T-shirt Monday night that said "ne mangez pas de caca," which is French for "Don’t eat poop."

"It’s had more effect than anything else," Powell said of the message.

Angela Dodd, senior in food science, was quoted as saying Food Science Café discussions are

"a great way for students to become aware of what’s going on in the media about food safety. Food pertains to everybody, and it’s a part of everybody’s life."

I didn’t really like the long table set-up. Next month, we’re probably going to do it in the on-campus bowling alley. Only place to get a beer at K-State.