Food Safety Talk 163: Grown on Chia Pets

The episode starts with the ongoing history of Canadian cuisine, landing on peameal bacon and how it came to be an Ontario delicacy. The guys go on to talk creamers dropping in hot coffee and contamination potential. The guys put out a request to listeners to send on listener’s food safety in everyday life (send pics). The guys talk date balls, chia and immunocompromised individuals. Ben tells a story about navigating the public health investigation world from a victims perspective and Don provides his insight. They both then go on to chat about risk communication in deception studies with human subjects. The episode ends on rapid listener feedback on double gloving (again), washing onions and cutting boards.

Episode 163 is available on iTunes and here.

Show notes so you can follow along at home:

Food Safety Talk 162: FST Bolo Ties

The show opens with a bit of discussion about other podcasts, but quickly moves to the main subject at hand: a recent study on the increased isopropanol tolerance of certain bacteria found in hospitals.  The guys weigh in on the strengths and weaknesses of the study, including it’s relevance to food safety, with some help via listener feedback. The next topic is Chipotle’s recent problem with Clostridium perfringens in their beans. The guys introduce a new segment on Canadian foods, before moving to listener feedback on fermented foods, CSPI, and thermometer calibration, times and temperatures, food dehydrators, handwashing, and double gloving. The show ends with a discussion of a recent cookbook recall.

Episode 162 is available on iTunes and here.

Show notes so you can follow along at home:

barfblog notifications are back. Oh and California is looking to allow folks to sell meals from their home kitchens

Notifications are back. Or at least we think they are. For the past few weeks we’ve put some posts up, but they never made it to our subscribers. After a few weeks of trying to figure out what was up, our technical folks think they’ve figured it out.

Here’s the test post:

I spent today making a bunch of food today in a home kitchen, being videoed, for science. We’re piloting a study that we’ll launch next year and wanted to know how the script and technology was going to work. This one involves using eye-tracking hardware to see where folks look. That’s me (right, exactly as shown) trying the mock technology on (we used Google Glass for the pilot).

Below is what I made.

According to Capitol Public Radio, some Californians are lobbying the state government to allow for commercial businesses to operate out of home kitchens.

Home cooks rallied at the state Capitol Wednesday in support of AB 626, a bill that would make California the first state to permit and regulate the small-scale sale of meals from home kitchens.

Oakland farmer Brandi Mac said the bill will provide economic opportunities to women, immigrants, and people of color that live in urban communities.

“We need to figure out what are some of the ways we can be able to get to employ urban farmers,” Mac said. “You can’t make money selling lettuce. But you can [make some money] if you make a Caesar salad.”

As careful as I was, I don’t think the meal, made in a consumer home, is ready for commercial prime time.

‘Better think about the consequence of (temperature abuse) actions’ Over 700 sick from C. perfringens at one Chipotle

Chipotle’s head of food safety, Jim Marsden, has been conspicuously silent after at least 647 patrons at a single Chipotle restaurant in Powell (no relation), Ohio, were sickened with Clostridium perfringens.

As one of my colleagues said, Preventing C. perfringens is kind of like food safety 101. They must’ve had a massive temperature abuse situation.

In response, CEO Brian Niccol said Chipotle will start retraining all restaurant employees on food safety and wellness protocols next week.

Uh-huh.

#MeToo

How the hell would I know? 395 sickened by Cyclospora linked to McDonalds salads

There was this one time, in 2010, I got a phone call at 6 a.m. from the esteemed Michael Osterholm of the Minnesota food safety system.

My wife does a better Minnosotan accent, spending her yute in Albert Lea, eh?

He didn’t like the photo, right, made by the creative couple of Heather and Christian, who used to work in my lab, and opened the conversation with, “How could you print that?”

I said it was an accurate description of what had been publically known about the leafy greens folks since the E. coli O157 spinach outbreak of 2006 (I’m old, waiting for news on the birth of my third grandson).

He then told me he was a consultant for Fresh Express and that they had an excellent food safety system.

I said great, make it public, so people can judge on their own.

Fresh Express has now been linked to 395 cases of Cyclospora through their lettuce served at McDonalds.

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., is pressing Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb for specifics about the investigation of the cyclosporaoutbreak linked to product sold by Fresh Express.

In an Aug. 3 letter her office released to the media, DeLauro said she wrote the letter “out of concern about the current outbreak of cyclosporiasis as well as the transparency and timeliness of your agency’s ongoing investigation.”

“Although once rare in the United States, parasitic outbreaks caused by cyclospora have become more common over the last several decades,” she said in the letter. “Many of these outbreaks have continually been found to be associated with imported fruits and vegetables.”

The recent outbreak is currently responsible for 395 infections — including 16 hospitalizations — across 15 states.

The parasite was first found when the FDA conducted testing on an unused package of Fresh Express salad mix, distributed to a McDonald’s restaurant, containing romaine lettuce and carrots.

The FDA states as of July 13, McDonald’s decided to stop selling the salads at restaurants impacted in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan. Ohio, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota. Montana, North Dakota, Kentucky, West Virginia and Missouri.

In a July 20, statement, McDonald’s said the health and safety of their customers is their top priority.

“The health and safety of our customers and the people who work in McDonald’s restaurants is always our top priority. The additional states identified by the FDA and CDC are among the same states where a week ago we proactively decided to remove our lettuce blend in impacted restaurants and replace it through a different supplier. McDonald’s is committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality and we continue to cooperate and support regulatory and public health officials in their investigations. For those seeking additional information about Cyclospora, we encourage them to visit the CDC and FDA websites.”

Uh-huh.

Cyclospora sucks. My aunt, my mom’s sister, got it in Florida from basil, about a decade ago.

(Doesn’t she look amazing at 80, left.)

Cyclospora isn’t one of those things doctors routinely check for. Then you’re sick for about six weeks until some bright doc figures it out.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued an alert to the public on “beef, pork and poultry salad and wrap products potentially contaminated with Cyclospora that were distributed by Caito Foods LLC, of Indianapolis,” Indiana.

USDA also released a public health alert after Indianapolis-based food distributor Caito Foods “received notification from their lettuce supplier, Fresh Express, that the chopped romaine that is used to manufacture some of their salads and wraps was being recalled.”

“Fresh Express follows rigid food safety requirements and preventive controls throughout our supply chain that are carefully designed to mitigate against potential health risks. Working together with public health officials, we are hopeful a definitive source of the outbreak clusters will be identified soon.”

Uh-huh.

Still here, Mike. You can call me in Australia through Google voice 785-532-1925 and tell me what Fresh Express is doing, and why they are importing lettuce in the middle of North American summer.

The silliness of academia: ‘I’m excited for the vivid dimensionality, impactful synergies, and collaborative challenges of this meta-disciplinary discourse opportunity’

I despised Mike Souliere.

He was sieve Souliere, I was porous Powell when we played as goaltenders for AAA peewee hockey in Brantford, a lifetime ago.

He was better than me.

And now Mike and I exchange notes on facebook.

Mike, and Amy, both pointed out that my facebook messages were getting weird.

I hate facebook.

I hate text.

I’m one of those cranky old guys who wonders how a whole generation missed e-mail.

I’m done. My brain is mush.

I’ll try to write a book or two, but I need to pay attention to myself and my family.

Marler hiring Joe, telling me to fuck off (not that I cared about that) and me not getting paid for 18 months, translates to, I give up.

I’ve been doing this for 25 years.

And I never met a lawyer who couldn’t appropriate a good idea.

I’ve got grandkids to go see.

“The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool. … Be honest and unmerciful.”

I need to be honest, with my failings and successes.

Shazam to let Chiquita reach shoppers via stickers

We – meaning my former lab – advocated that if Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers were going to undertake all those food safety steps back in 2000, they should brag about it.

Specifically through urls on product (youtube didn’t exist back then, but we still took lots of video and didn’t know what to do with it; fortunately, when the family and I tried to drive to Georgia for IAFP 2000 where I was to give the Ivan Parkin lecture – nice job, this year, Gary – we had the camera so was able to dial it in) we wanted to see all the efforts greenhouse growers were taking to enhance microbial food safety.

They eventually went with third-party auditors, because, like politicians and those in biz, they don’t lead, they see which way the wind is blowing and follow.

I’m old, awaiting the birth of my third grandson.

Almost 20 years later, for four weeks this summer, Chiquita stickers will be co-branded with a Shazam code that shoppers can scan to see videos of how bananas move through the supply chain from Latin American farms to U.S. grocery stores.

The program will start in mid-July and aims to draw attention to the company’s sustainability efforts.

“Fifty million Chiquita blue stickers will feature the Shazam code on a weekly basis, with five different experiences where consumers can follow the journey of a banana from the farms in Latin America, to the port facility, right across the Atlantic and all the way to the consumer’s kitchen table, without having to leave the grocery store,” said Jamie Postell, director of sales for North America. “This new partnership with Shazam and the latest technology in immersion allows consumers to learn about Chiquita’s commitment to sustainability and discover what Chiquita does, day after day, in order to deliver the promise that stands behind the blue sticker.”

Could you include some food safety instead of following trends?

 

 

Food safety culture jumped the shark years ago

This short document is based on the content of the GFSI full position paper “a culture of food safety”. It includes the key definitions and a short description of the dimensions and critical components of food safety culture developed in the full paper.

This may therefore be a helpful aide-memoire. Crucially (who writes like this and expects attention from minimum-wage, front line staff? Where’s the Pink Floyd?), the full paper places emphasis on: 1. The essential role of leaders and managers throughout an organisation, from CEO to farm, field and shop floor supervisors, from local ‘Mom and Pop’ grocery stores to large franchise restaurant organisations. 2. Why regular communication, education, metrics, teamwork and personal accountability are vital to advancing a food safety culture. 3. How learned skills including adaptability and hazard awareness move important safe food practices beyond a theoretical conversation to live in “real time.

Get used to ‘food authenticity’ Irish minister launches food safety strategy

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has launched a three-year food safety and food authenticity strategy, which aims to help guarantee food safety as the agri-food sector grows.

“Our future plans for food safety and food authenticity are ambitious, but we should not fear the breadth of our ambition as we dedicate our resources to improvement,” Minister Creed stated.

The Department will be working closely with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) to deliver the strategy.

Dr Pamela Byrne of the FSAI said, “Assuring authenticity, monitoring the food chain, detecting fraudulent and deceptive practices and continually developing the best food safety systems, aligned to new and emerging food safety legislation, is embedded in our organisation’s DNA.”

British Virgin Islands: Stop using deodorizers on preparation surfaces

The Environmental Health Department has sounded an alarm on the use of deodorizers on food preparation surfaces, and is calling on food handlers and establishments that serve food to put a halt to the practice.

Chief Environmental Health Officer Lionel Michael, said his department observed the practice during a number of inspections at local restaurants, bars, delis, grocery stores, and supermarkets in the territory.

He told BVI News his department also received a number of complaints about the practice.

Deodorizers such as air fresheners, aerosols and disinfectants are used to remove unpleasant odours from an area.

Michael said these deodorizers should not be used to clean equipment, stoves, tables, countertops, table mats, microwaves, can openers, refrigerators, or any other food preparation area.

“Deodorisers are not cleaning agents for food surfaces. Deodorizers are for floors and bathrooms – their purpose is for deodorising floors and walls but not on food surfaces. Deodorizers can leave a residue, and chemical contaminants on food surfaces can get on food and cause chemical contamination and chemical poising. It can lead to foodborne illness,” Michael told BVI News.