Robert Mancini

About Robert Mancini

Robert Mancini hosted and provided research for the television series “Kitchen Crimes” for Food Network Canada, H.G. T.V. (U.S.) and Discovery Asia. He is currently a certified Public Health Inspector in Manitoba and the health protection coordinator/specialist in food safety for Manitoba Health. He holds a Master’s Degree in Food Safety through Kansas State University. He enjoys playing with his 3-year old boy, violin, and running.

Poop and food don’t mix- KFC edition

Always a bad idea to prepare and serve food when there is a sewage back-up and no surprise it was caught on video.
Public health takes a back seat to monetary gains I guess. I’ve seen this before when I was in the field. When I was in the field as an inspector, the City informed me that there was a sewage break in the south end. I went to visit the affected food establishments to ensure they were closed and following proper protocols. Three restaurants were involved, 2 shut down but 1 continued to operate in sewage. I shut down the third and when I asked why they continued to operate, the manager played the ignorance card. Meanwhile, his staff were sloshing around in sewage back of house, no excuse for that.

Vanessa Vasconcelos of ABC 30 reports

Cell phone video shows the conditions Kentucky Fried Chicken employees say they were forced to work in last Tuesday. The fast-food restaurant at Kings Canyon and Willow took on several inches of dirty water in the kitchen area.
According to the Fresno County Health Department, it all started with a sewer line blockage. “They brought in a hydro-flush unit that uses high-pressure water to (clean) it and that caused the backed up water in the building as they were trying to get it unclogged,” said Health Department division manager Wayne Fox.
The worker who captured the images didn’t want to be identified, but says their daily operations continued; including serving customers. By Wednesday, health inspectors received a complaint and investigated.
Fox says, “staff was working to clean the place up. Our environmental health staff determined the place needed to be closed while they were doing that cleaning.” He added the site manager should have been trained enough to understand the severity of the violation.
They held an office hearing with senior management then conducted a re-inspection that determined they could resume business, “We wouldn’t take any chances. We take this very seriously we want all the food that anyone gets at a restaurant to be pure and wholesome.
Site supervisors at KFC and JEM restaurant management corporation — which manages the KFC — declined our requests for comment.
Health Department officials say this is only the third complaint in the last decade this particular KFC has received and the previous ones weren’t as severe. They include food temperature violations, pests and improper handling of food.
The KFC at Kings Canyon and Willow is back up and running, but management and all employees will be undergoing mandatory training and will develop an emergency plan so employees know what to do should this ever happen again.
If this does become a recurring problem, the restaurant will have its health permit revoked.

White Hart Inn implicated in a foodborne outbreak leaving 25 guests ill from a common gathering

The Food Standards Agency awarded the White Hart Inn a 1-star rating after a foodborne outbreak incident left 2 people hospitalized and others ill from a gathering.

Inspections are a snap shot in time, what did the previous inspections look like for this facility? Any trends identified?

When I was in the field, I had to contend with a severe lack of resources to conduct my work adequately, meaning that a high risk establishment that should have been inspected 4 -6 times within a given year may have seen 1 inspection.

What’s the point?

Staff accordingly, provide the necessary resources to conduct a proper health inspection and ensure management supports your endeavors. It’s about quality not quantity.

Richard Duggan of Essex Live reports:

He said they are still trying to work out what happened
A businessman who runs a country pub has spoken out after a number of his customers contracted a nasty sickness bug.
The White Hart Inn, in Swan Lane, Margaretting Tye, has recently been scrutinised by food hygiene inspectors after the majority of a party became ill following a meal on February 18.
Of the 33 guests who attended the meal, 25 became ill following the outing, with two having to go to hospital because their symptoms were so severe.
Owing to the number of individuals who became sick, Public Health England and Chelmsford Environmental Health launched an investigation.
Following the episode, the pub’s owner, Saran Duffy, has explained how the incident has affected the business and what plans are being put in place to address customers’ concerns.
“All I’m trying to do is run a business here and employ people,” he said.
“We had our food tested – it all passed with flying colours.

What food was tested? Was there remaining food from the day of the incident or new batch?

“In terms of food poisoning, we are not sure how that happened – I’m not saying anybody else is at fault.”
Mr Saran states that tests conducted as part of the inspection of the premises following the outbreak found the restaurant’s food was “safe”.
Statement from a Chelmsford City Council spokesperson following the sickness outbreak
“Chelmsford City Council and Public Health England (PHE) have been made aware that a number of people attending a celebratory meal at an Ingatestone pub suffered with symptoms common with infectious gastroenteritis, although this is yet to be confirmed.
“Chelmsford Environmental Health Officers have been working with PHE and the pub to provide hygiene and infection control advice to help stop the illness spreading.
“PHE has also advised the cases that are poorly what to do to aid recovery and prevent them spreading the germ to others.”
Michele Dawes, from Cranham, was a member of the party that visited the White Hart Inn and then became ill.
“I was ill for five days, really dreadful and some were hit harder than others,” she said.
“It was non-stop for eight hours at a time. Some people just had diarrhoea, some had sickness, some had both. A lot of people were both.
The White Hart Inn is in Margaretting, Ingatestone
“If you have seen that scene from Bridesmaids and there is three of us in our house.”
The large group met for lunch, but following the meal, many fell ill with stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea over the following days.
It is believed that the customers suffered with symptoms common with infectious gastroenteritis, although this is yet to be confirmed through the investigation.
What is infectious gastroenteritis?
Gastroenteritis is the inflammation of the guy caused by a virus or bacteria and a type of highly-infectious virus that can be spread. The symptoms are usually connected with sickness and diarrhoea and similar to food poisoning.
The symptoms:
Sudden diarrhoea
Feeling sick (nausea)
Being sick (vomiting)
Stomach ache or cramps
A high temperature of 38C or above
They usually start a few hours or days after picking up a bug.
Michelle contacted the pub after becoming ill and it was later revealed that two staff members had become unwell around the same time.
“When you’re that ill the last thing you want to do is pick up the phone,” she added.
“Everyone is okay, thats the main thing, I took it very seriously.
“The pub has done everything they could to help, I want to stress that.
“It’s a lovely pub and they were lovely about it.”
Once news of the sickness had spread, it had a knock-on effect of the pub’s business.
An inspection of the pub by officers from the Food Standards Agency on February 20 resulted in the business being awarded a one star rating, which means major improvement is necessary.
How are the food hygiene ratings for businesses decided?
There are three categories which make up a food hygiene rating.
Each one is individually graded and adds to the overall score for a business.
Overall ratings can be scored from zero to five.
Below is the most recent food hygiene rating for The White Hart:
Area inspected by food safety officer
Standards found
Hygienic food handling
Hygienic handling of food including preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage
Improvement necessary
Cleanliness and condition of facilities and building
Cleanliness and condition of facilities and building (including having appropriate layout, ventilation, hand washing facilities and pest control) to enable good food hygiene
Generally satisfactory
Management of food safety
System or checks in place to ensure that food sold or served is safe to eat, evidence that staff know about food safety, and the food safety officer has confidence that standards will be maintained in future.
Major improvement necessary
The pub has been awarded a rating of one star which means major improvement is necessary.
Despite the decision, Mr Saran is confident that changes made in the wake of the scandal will result in a more satisfactory rating, but accepts that he cannot “hasten” the re-inspection.
“They could revisit on any day but we will be prepared for it,” he added.
“We should be able to recover our rating from one star, otherwise it’s going to be a very difficult summer for everyone.
“I can only put my hands up and say we are trying and have everything we can within the remit of the environment agency and we look forward to their next visit.”
The White Hart Inn currently has an average rating of 4.5 stars from customers who have left reviews on Trip Advisor.

Mulit-state E. coli outbreak, source not yet identified

Kaitlyn Naples of KPAX reports:

A case of E.coli has been linked to 17 cases of sickness reported in several states, including two in Connecticut.
Officials from the Centers for Disease Control said the illnesses are linked to an outbreak of a “Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 infections.”
Officials from the CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service are investigating the recent outbreak.
No specific food item, grocery store, or restaurant chain has been identified as a source of the infections, health officials said.
“Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 22, 2018 to March 31, 2018. Ill people range in age from 12 to 84 years, with a median age of 41. Among ill people, 65% are female,” officials said.
A statement was released from Dr. Matthew Cartter from Connecticut Department of Public Health, which said in part, “We are assisting the CDC in investigating a multi-state outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections. It is still early in the investigation and no specific source of the infection has been identified so far. Most people infected with E. coli will develop diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting within 3-4 days of swallowing the germ. People who develop symptoms of E. coli, should seek medical care, contact their local health department to report the illness, and try to track what foods were eaten and restaurants visited in the days prior to becoming ill.”
No deaths have been reported.

USDA provides food safety tips for Spring gatherings

If we really want to make a difference in preventing foodborne illness, we need to be more compelling. Providing food safety tips give us a nice warm fuzzy feeling, although it is well intended, reality is very few will actually read this stuff.

It’s time to start thinking outside the box and supplement this information in an engaging way so that we are being strategic with our communication.

Also, let’s stop relaying foodborne illness stats, tell one story, it would be more effective.

USDA — Spring is finally here. It has been a long wait, but warmer temperatures bring events like weddings, graduations and holiday celebrations. These events bring together groups of people to enjoy considerable amounts of delicious and often traditional foods. But if proper food safety steps aren’t taken, your celebration could turn into a disaster. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in the U.S., foodborne illness causes 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths each year. This spring, USDA is offering tips on how to properly handle, cook and store food when serving large groups of people. These tips will keep you and your guests safe from foodborne illness. The Four Basic Steps to Food Safety Having the right kitchen equipment will make your life easier when practicing four food safety steps: clean, separate, cook and chill. • Clean hands frequently with warm soapy water, especially before and after handling raw food; thoroughly wash cutting boards, countertops and utensils with hot soapy water. • Use separate cutting boards for raw and ready-to-eat foods. For example, use one cutting board for produce and a different one for raw meat and poultry. That way, you are preventing cross contamination between raw and ready-to-eat-food. • Always use a food thermometer when cooking. Measure the internal temperature of meats, poultry, and seafood and egg products before serving to make sure they are ready to eat. The USDA Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures chart will help you determine if your food is safe to eat: o Beef, pork, veal and lamb – steaks, chops or roasts: 145°F and allow to rest for at least three minutes (including fresh or smoked ham) o Ground meats: 160°F o Fully cooked ham (to reheat): Reheat cooked hams packaged in USDA-inspected plants to 140°F and all others to 165°F o All poultry (breasts, whole birds and stuffing, legs, thighs, wings and ground poultry): 165°F o Egg dishes: 160°F o Fish: 145°F o Leftovers and casseroles: 165°F • Perishable food should not be left out at room temperature for more than two hours. At celebration gatherings, make sure your cold food is kept cold (40°F or below) by serving it in smaller portions and refilling, or by putting the food containers over ice. Hot food should be kept hot (140°F or above); you can keep the food warm by serving in warming trays or using a slow cooker. 

Grocery Shopping Plan When shopping for groceries: • Pick up cold items last and bring them home immediately so they are refrigerated or frozen within two hours. • Place raw meat and poultry in plastic bags to prevent raw juices (which may contain harmful bacteria) from dripping onto other foods in your shopping cart. Spring Kitchen Basics • Make sure your refrigerator temperature is set to 40°F or below and your freezer at 0°F or below. An appliance thermometer can come in handy to check those temperatures. • ‘Spring clean’ your fridge for a fresh, healthy start this time of the year. • Do not wash meat and poultry. Doing so increases the risk of cross-contamination in your kitchen. Cooking meat and poultry to the correct internal temperature will kill any bacteria. • Do not thaw foods at room temperature. Safe thawing can only be done in the refrigerator, in the microwave or by using the cold-water method. If you thaw using the microwave or the coldwater method, be sure to cook the food immediately after it has thawed. • Perishable food should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours (one hour when temperature is above 90°F). • When storing leftovers like large pots of soup or stew, divide them into shallow containers. Slice large portions of cooked meat or poultry into smaller portions and store in containers. Cover and refrigerate. Consumers can learn more about key food safety practices by following FSIS @USDAFoodSafety on Twitter or Facebook. Consumers with questions about food safety can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live with a food safety specialist in English or Spanish at, available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.


Dodgers players stricken with food poisoning

Now that the Winnipeg Jets have made it to the playoffs, I really don’t have time for baseball. Those who follow baseball may find this story interesting.

Andy McCullough of the The Baltimore Sun reports

By process of elimination, Cody Bellinger was close to figuring out what caused his food poisoning on Saturday. He thought it was either a dinner of sushi or an order from room service. A clue emerged when another teammate came down with a similar condition: Alex Wood, who accompanied Bellinger to get sushi, spent Saturday at the team hotel nursing his own stomach.
Bellinger said he could not remember the name of the restaurant. It was a shame, he explained.
“The food was great there, though,” Bellinger said. “And I ate there before, and I was fine. But I was throwing up so bad yesterday.”
Bellinger felt a little better on Sunday. Manager Dave Roberts gave him the day off to rest. Bellinger entered the game in the eighth inning. He hit a double in the 10th to spark the go-ahead rally in a 2-1 victory. Bellinger was able to slice a groundball into left field and use his legs for the extra base.
“I just wanted to get on base any way I could,” Bellinger said. “It’s a beautiful thing when you don’t hit it at people.”
Wood rejoined the Dodgers on Sunday. He had missed his scheduled bullpen session while under the weather. The Dodgers shifted their rotation to give Wood time to recuperate. He will now start on Wednesday, with Hyun-Jin Ryu taking the ball on Tuesday.
Maeda shifting back to rotation
After logging a scoreless inning on Saturday, Kenta Maeda was not considered available to pitch in relief on Sunday, Roberts said. Maeda was skipped during this turn through the starting rotation after Friday’s game was rained out. The Dodgers expect Maeda to start a game next weekend against Arizona.
Maeda starred as a reliever in October. He returned to the rotation for the 2018 regular season, although his usage may change at times during the season.
Maeda is in the third season of an incentive-laden, eight-year contract. He receives bonuses for starts made and innings pitched. Roberts said he was not concerned about financial factors influencing his deployment of Maeda.
“I know that there’s something to starts in his contract,” Roberts said. “I don’t know specifics. I really don’t. For me, it’s better that way. Because I manage to what’s best for the ball club. And I think to Kenta’s credit, he’s open to whatever the organization feels.”
Short hops: Before the game, Roberts and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman presented Giants reliever Tony Watsonwith his National League pennant ring from last season. The Dodgers acquired Watson from Pittsburgh last summer and used him as a situational reliever. Watson had a 2.57 earned-run average in the postseason. He signed a two-year, $7-million deal with the Giants during the winter.

Australian man experiences thunderclap headaches after eating world’s hottest pepper

I grew up with hot peppers, love them, only thing is I can’t tolerate them. I remember going to these massive Italian weddings when I was younger and my dad used to bring his own hot dried peppers from home, stuff them in his pocket and when the pasta came out so did the heat. The heat on these peppers was nothing like the one an Australian man ate at a hot eating pepper competition.

James Gorman of the The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

If you eat a really hot chilli pepper, you expect pain. A lot of pain.
In addition to the feeling that you have just put a live coal in your mouth, you may weep, vomit and wonder where in your life you took a wrong turn.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
You don’t expect a headache so intense and immediate that it sends you to the emergency room. But that’s what happened to a 34-year-old man who turned up at a New York hospital with what clinicians call a thunderclap headache.
His problems began when he ate a whole Carolina Reaper — the hottest chilli pepper in the world, according to Guinness World Records — while participating in hot-pepper-eating competition.
He immediately started experiencing dry heaves — not unknown in the hot-pepper-eating world. But then a pain in his neck and head came on like … a thunderclap.
It passed, but over the next few days he experienced more thunderclap headaches — that is the clinical term — so he sought medical attention.
Scans of his head and neck showed the kind of constriction in some arteries that can cause intense headaches, doctors reported in BMJ Case Reports. The scientific term for this temporary narrowing of arteries is reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome.
Dr Kulothungan Gunasekaran, one of the report’s authors, now at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, said that for some reason the man must have been particularly sensitive to capsaicin, the heat-producing ingredient in peppers. The Carolina Reaper is a popular pepper, and many people eat them and experience nothing worse than the desire to cut out their own tongues.
“I was discussing the case with a nurse who had eaten three Carolina Reapers,” Dr Gunasekaran said.
The Reaper has been measured at more than 2 million Scoville heat units, the accepted scale for how hot peppers are. Measurements vary, but a really hot habanero might come in at 500,000 Scoville units.
The patient was fine, with no lingering damage, but thunderclap headaches are not to be dismissed. For one thing, there is the pain, which seems to surpass even the normal effect of the peppers.
Dr Lawrence C. Newman, a neurologist and director of the headache division at NYU Langone Health, said: “On a 1 to 10 scale, it’s off the charts.” And it can indicate the kind of stroke that results from bleeding in the brain.
It happens instantaneously. If that kind of headache hits you, it makes sense to seek medical attention “whether you’ve bitten into a pepper or not,” Dr Newman said.
The new study does suggest that capsaicin, being investigated for its role in alleviating pain and lowering blood pressure, can have unexpected effects on certain people.
Cayenne pepper pills and a capsaicin patch, sold in China and Turkey, have been blamed in medical reports for two non-fatal heart attacks in young men, the result of spasms in arteries.
But “we are not advising anything against the Carolina Reaper,” Dr Gunasekaran said.
The Reaper was bred to reach record levels of heat. Reached by telephone at the PuckerButt Pepper Company in Fort Mill, South Carolina, the Reaper’s creator, Ed Currie, offered mixed advice on pepper consumption.
On the one hand, he said, “people who eat whole Reapers are just being stupid”. But “Smokin’ Ed”, as he calls himself, also gave the impression that was not such a bad thing. “We eat them all the time,” he said, with no ill consequences beyond pain.
Mr Currie indulges in other competitions of suffering. For instance, he said, he had recently taken the Death Nut Challenge, which involves eating insanely hot peanuts. He has a partnership with a company that produces them.
“I knew beforehand I shouldn’t do it,” Mr Currie said. “I was in pain for two hours.”
For the average person interested in spice, not suffering, he advised using small amounts of any really hot pepper in food preparation, as they were intended.
So if you happen to go beyond your limits — having, say, entered a hot-pepper-eating competition?
“Citric acid seems to work the best to alleviate the pain,” he said. “Don’t chug milk because you’ll just throw it up.”


Compelling food safety messaging

I am always fascinated with the garbage hygiene/food safety messaging that I come across during my travels. The same boring food safety posters over and over again and yet there they are, plastered on the wall doing absolutely nothing. Have we lost complete creativity or are some organizations convinced these actually work?  They don’t, they are not compelling and people are not going to pay attention.  The intention is admirable but we need to do better.

Ben and Doug devised infosheets as a means to grasp people’s attention and these were tested for validity and work. We are striving to develop Barfblog TV using comedy and behavioral science to convey messaging which could also potentially be used for corrective action plans or monthly food safety messaging at the retail level. The possibilities are endless, let’s be creative.


Kids stricken with food poisoning at a school camp

Nothing is worse than when your child is ill. My son was recently sick with norovirus resulting in a plethora of explosions from both ends. My wife and I took the necessary precautions to avoid getting sick-frequent handwashing and sanitizing cause I realize how contagious this virus can be. Thankfully it worked.

A number of kids were ill at a school camp from food poisoning and one child was prescribed antibiotics. Let’s hope that tests were undertaken first to determine that the cause was bacterial and not viral…..

Riaan van Zyl reports

At least two Fairlands parents are upset with the way a primary school dealt with a food poisoning incident that occurred when their son went on a school camp.
The children were supposed to go on the camp from 5 until 9 March. But on 8 March, the school informed the father that his son and approximately seven other children were on their way home because “they were sick”. When the father went to fetch his son, he immediately took him to the doctor who informed him that the boy had food poisoning. Not only was the boy prescribed strong antibiotics but as a precautionary measure he was also treated for listeriosis.
What upset him and his wife is the delay in informing the parents that their children were ill. “If the children already started getting sick on Tuesday, why were we not informed and why were the children not taken to a doctor and only sent home on the Thursday?” His son also told him that about 30 children became ill, but then he found out that it allegedly was closer to 60 plus two adults.
He is now demanding answers but said the principal is giving him the runaround.
The school declined to comment and referred the Record to the Gauteng Department of Education.

Nebraska basketball team hit with food poisoning


I used to play basketball when I was younger and was MVP in high school. Now I would be lucky if I could dribble the ball properly.

I guess it would be hard to practice when you’re on the verge of barfing.

10/11 Now reports

The Nebraska Wesleyan men’s basketball team had to battle food poisoning Monday, as only nine players practiced with several sick, including Head Coach Dale Wellman.

Wellman said he was forced to sleep in his office while he tried to prepare for the national semifinals.

The Prairie Wolves think it was actually the meal before their Elite 8 win that caused over half the team to get sick.

Nebraska Wesleyan advanced to the Final Four over the weekend and will play on Friday in Salem, Virginia.

That will be the program’s fifth Final Four appearance.

Apparently you shouldn’t eat lunch at your desk

I just did but made sure to keep my food in my Tupperware and washed my hands before eating. Love it when I see these stories and studies trying to panic the masses with bacterial names and how many there are per square inch….

The risk is low.

Brinkwire reports:

See why your desk at work is 400 times dirtier than your toilet
Here’s something that’ll put you right off your lunch.
Your desk at work has 400 times more germs than your toilet, according to a study by the University of Arizona.
And the research also reveals two-thirds of office workers are at risk of making themselves ill by eating at their desks.
Nasties such as e-coli (found in poo), staphylococcus aureus, pseudomonas aeruginosa and helicobacter pylori were among the harmful bacteria found breeding on work desks, the Bristol Post reports .
An average desktop contains 20,961 germs per square inch – not counting the 3,295 on the keyboard, 1,676 on a mouse and a staggering 25,127 on the phone.
Hygiene experts reveal dirtiest place in the house – and it ISN’T the toilet
People in sales and marketing are the worst for cleanliness with over a fifth (22%) admitting that they only clean their desk once a month.
The printer is also a place that could use a good clean; the study commissioned by found that an average office printer contain 1,676 germs per square inch. 
And the office kitchen isn’t much better where 2,483 germs per square inch can be found on the handle of the kitchen kettle in a shared office compared to just 49 found on a toilet seat.
Even the tap – despite being surrounded by water – conceals 1,331 germs per square inch.
Of course you reduce the number of germs on your desk by using antibacterial wipes and sprays.
Lorry driver Wayne enjoys new life after 12st weight loss
Catherine Bannan, HR manager for, said: “It’s pretty shocking that there are more germs on your desk than on a toilet seat.
“But hopefully our visualisation will show people why it is so important to clean regularly so as to avoid getting ill and spreading infections unnecessarily amongst your colleagues.”