Food Safety Talk 75: 76 Trombones

Food Safety Talk, a bi-weekly podcast for food safety nerds, by food safety nerds. The podcast is hosted by Ben Chapman and barfblog contributor Don Schaffner, Extension Specialist in Food Science and Professor at Rutgers University. Every two weeks or so, Ben and Don get together virtually and talk for about an hour.  They talk about what’s on their minds or in the news regarding food safety, and popular culture. They strive to be relevant, funny and informative — sometimes they succeed. You can download the audio recordings right from the website, or subscribe using iTunes.1430350256159

The episode starts with Don very annoyed because he bought a microphone stand, carried it to various continents without using it, and now he cannot find it. In its absence he has resorted to using a hat.

 The podcast opens with discussion about making podcasts.  A listener asked how episode titles are selected in response to the title of Food Safety Talk episode 68: We found it in Wild Pig Feces. The process for podcast title selection is to look for random, out of context phrases from the show, text about them 30-40 times to select one, and lastly make sure it isn’t too long. One of Renee Boyer’s students, Lily Yang, also expressed interest in podcasting and Ben suggested she start with listening to lots of other podcasts. Recommended podcasts include Merlin and Dan’s Back to Work on 5by5 and the WTF podcast especially the episode with RuPaul.  Another resource is The Podcast Method website.

The focus of this episode was professionals making poor risk management decisions. A health inspector from the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture tried to stop a mother from breastfeeding in her farmer’s market booth despite the fact that she had proper hand washing facilities. Officials later apologized.  Ben and Don applaud the well-reasoned response the mother, Tanessa Holt gave.

Additional excitement brought to you by the ‘Theater of Public Health’ includes a middle school in New Jersey was closed because a staff member had C. difficile . Ben provides an historic example of risk management vs. communication virucidal footbaths were installed at airports in response to foot and mouth disease outbreak with the understanding that they were not effective.

The guys talk about how there is often a lack of data to inform risk, for example with the proposed use of hand sanitizer between handling money and then food. Or maybe the data does exist, but isn’t at the forefront of public health recommendations (the removal of tomato stem scar).  Ben and Don talk about gaps existing between regulations and practical ideas for implementation. Don found Rutgers dining hall did not have a vomit clean up plan and the Food Code is lacking specific best practices. One good resource for vomit clean up is here.

The conversation turned to public perceptions of food risks.  Food safety professionals are perhaps not proactive about correcting public misperceptions.  A counter example is South Dakota soybean producers who aim to correct misperceptions people have about GMOs and pesticides through a new advertising campaign.  Don talks about an interview question related to safest cuts of meat.  Regarding food safety ranking Mike Batz has created a top ten list of food-pathogen combinations. For better or worse, the Mother Jones article is here.

In recall news, Chipotle took a pork carnitas off of their menu because they suspend a pork supplier due to animal welfare concerns.

Lastly, Don received an urgent voicemail from the department administrator to sign a very important document and stated that ‘lack of planning on other peoples part does not does not constitute an emergency on my part.’

This entry was posted in E. coli, Food Safety Culture, Food Safety Policy and tagged , by Ben Chapman. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.