79 sick with E. coli O157; Arizona restaurant confuses queen-of-clean for food-safety expert

A branch of Federico’s Mexican Food in Arizona decided it would be a good idea to give away free burritos Monday and hire the self-proclaimed Queen of Clean after sickening at least 79 people with E. coli O157 over the summer.

queen.of.clean.sep.13As pointed out by Grub Street, and me, this is a terrible idea.

Linda Cobb owns an industrial cleaning company in Michigan, presides over a sort of as-seen-on-TV product line, and otherwise has been known to scrub toilets with Tang and wash dogs with Massengill. Considering that just a month ago 23 of those sickened had to be hospitalized after suffering fevers and bouts of bloody diarrhea, what could possibly go wrong?

This promo video, dug up by the Phoenix New Times, must have been designed with a quick one-two punch PR strategy: “Queen of Clean” Linda Cobb gets to promote her “New York Times best-selling” books and pimp her cleaning supplies, while the public gets a not-so-subtle peek into the prep kitchen at Federico’s — look! vegetables and meats are cut at two separate workstations! with color-coded knives! And what’s that in the background at the 1:55-minute mark? Gloves! Sanitizer! Cleanliness!

Cobb tells us that she’s convinced the restaurant to try using her branded “Nature’s Kloth” to sanitize tables. “It doesn’t hold bacteria,” she proclaims, holding a dry specimen. (Though the product is somehow simultaneously adept at “absorbing more micro-organisms than leading competitor,” her website fatuously claims.)

Every restaurant has to go beyond the simplistic clean, chill, cook and separate and start verifying their suppliers. And use some basic science, not hucksterism.

This entry was posted in E. coli and tagged , , , by Douglas Powell. Bookmark the permalink.

About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of barfblog.com, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, barfblog.com retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 dpowell29@gmail.com 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time