Don and Ben are joined by friend, listener and co-host of Do By Friday, Max Temkin. The show starts when Don surprises Ben with our special guest. Max brings the guys a bunch of great food safety questions about tomato paste and the nuances of expiration dates, sous vide, jerky and grinding your own meat. They talk about frozen berries, what triggers recalls and what they look for in a company or industry that is doing good food safety things. The episode ends on a story on how Cards Against Humanity became a food processor (sort of).
When someone says a blue-ribbon panel summarized results on the prevention of foodborne Cyclospora outbreaks, I think blue-ribbons is talking about jams or Holsteins at county fairs.
My aunt got sick from Cyclospora in some basil-based thingy in Florida (and sometimes there is for hockey for Sorenne last Sat).
She was sick for weeks.
On June 12, 1996, Ontario’s chief medical officer, Dr. Richard Schabas, issued a public health advisory on the presumed link between consumption of California strawberries and an outbreak of diarrheal illness among some 40 people in the Metro Toronto area. The announcement followed a similar statement from the Department of Health and Human Services in Houston, Texas, who were investigating a cluster of 18 cases of Cyclospora illness among oil executives.
Dr. Schabas advised consumers to wash California berries “very carefully” before eating them, and recommended that people with compromised immune systems avoid them entirely. He also stated that Ontario strawberries, which were just beginning to be harvested, were safe for consumption. Almost immediately, people in Ontario stopped buying strawberries. Two supermarket chains took California berries off their shelves, in response to pressure from consumers. The market collapsed so thoroughly that newspapers reported truck drivers headed for Toronto with loads of berries being directed, by telephone, to other markets.
However, by June 20, 1996, discrepancies began to appear in the link between California strawberries and illness caused by the parasite, Cyclospora, even though the number of reported illnesses continued to increase across North America. Texas health officials strengthened their assertion that California strawberries were the cause of the outbreak, while scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said there were not yet ready to identify a food vehicle for the outbreak. On June 27, 1996, the New York City Health Department became the first in North America to publicly state that raspberries were also suspected in the outbreak of Cyclospora.
By July 18, 1996, the CDC declared that raspberries from Guatemala — which had been sprayed with pesticides mixed with water that could have been contaminated with human sewage containing Cyclospora — were the likely source of the Cyclospora outbreak, which ultimately sickened about 1,000 people across North America. Guatemalan health authorities and producers have vigorously refuted the charges. The California Strawberry Commission estimates it lost $15 million to $20 million in reduced strawberry sales.
Cyclospora cayetanensis is a recently characterised coccidian parasite; the first known cases of infection in humans were diagnosed in 1977. Before 1996, only three outbreaks of Cyclospora infection had been reported in the United States. Cyclospora is normally associated with warm, Latin American countries with poor sanitation.
One reason for the large amount of uncertainty in the 1996 Cyclospora outbreak is the lack of effective testing procedures for this organism. To date, Cyclospora oocysts have not been found on any strawberries, raspberries or other fruit, either from North America or Guatemala. That does not mean that cyclospora was absent; it means the tests are unreliable and somewhat meaningless. FDA, CDC and others are developing standardized methods for such testing and are currently evaluating their sensitivity.
The initial, and subsequent, links between Cyclospora and strawberries or raspberries were therefore based on epidemiology, a statistical association between consumption of a particular food and the onset of disease. For example, the Toronto outbreak was first identified because some 35 guests attending a May 11, 1996 wedding reception developed the same severe, intestinal illness, seven to 10 days after the wedding, and subsequently tested positive for cyclospora. Based on interviews with those stricken, health authorities in Toronto and Texas concluded that California strawberries were the most likely source. However, attempts to remember exactly what one ate two weeks earlier is an extremely difficult task; and larger foods, like strawberries, are recalled more frequently than smaller foods, like raspberries. Ontario strawberries were never implicated in the outbreak.
Once epidemiology identifies a probable link, health officials have to decide whether it makes sense to warn the public. In retrospect, the decision seems straightforward, but there are several possibilities that must be weighed at the time. If the Ontario Ministry of Health decided to warn people that eating imported strawberries might be connected to Cyclospora infection, two outcomes were possible: if it turned out that strawberries are implicated, the ministry has made a smart decision, warning people against something that could hurt them; if strawberries were not implicated, then the ministry has made a bad decision with the result that strawberry growers and sellers will lose money and people will stop eating something that is good for them. If the ministry decides not to warn people, another two outcomes are possible: if strawberries were implicated, then the ministry has made a bad decision and people may get a parasitic infection they would have avoided had they been given the information (lawsuits usually follow); if strawberries were definitely not implicated then nothing happens, the industry does not suffer and the ministry does not get in trouble for not telling people. Research is currently being undertaken to develop more rigorous, scientifically-tested guidelines for informing the public of uncertain risks.
But in Sarnia (Ontario, Canada) they got a lot of sick people who attended the Big Sisters of Sarnia-Lambton Chef’s Challenge on May 12, 2010.
Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, who has a lot of titles and once called me at 5 a.m. to tell me I was an asshole (maybe not the exact words, but the sentiment) and chair of the Holstein Blue-Ribbon Panel on the Prevention of Foodborne Cyclospora Outbreaks writes that the 1996 cyclosporiasis outbreak in the United States and Canada associated with the late spring harvest of imported Guatemalan-produced raspberries was an early warning to public health officials and the produce industry that the international sourcing of produce means that infectious agents once thought of as only causing traveler’s diarrhea could now infect at home. The public health investigation of the 1996 outbreak couldn’t identify how, when, where, or why the berries became contaminated with Cyclospora cayetanensis.
The investigation results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1997. I was asked to write an editorial to accompany the investigation report.2 In my editorial, I noted the unknowns surrounding the C. cayetanensis contamination. The 1997 spring harvest of Guatemalan raspberries was allowed to be imported into both the United States and Canada—and again, a large outbreak of cyclosporiasis occurred. As in the 1996 outbreak, no source for the contamination of berries was found. Later in 1997, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prohibited the importation of future spring harvests of Guatemalan raspberries until a cause for the contamination could be demonstrated and corrective actions taken. While the FDA did not permit the 1998 importation of the raspberries into the United States, the berries continued to be available in Canada. Outbreaks linked to raspberries occurred in Ontario in May 1998. When the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-led investigative team published its 1997 outbreak findings in the Annals of Internal Medicine, 3 I was again asked to write an accompanying editorial.4 As I had done in my previous editorial, I highlighted how little we know about the factors associated with the transmission Cyclospora on produce and how to prevent it.
Unfortunately, the state of the art for preventing foodborne, produce-associated cyclosporiasis had changed little since the 1996 outbreak despite the relatively frequent occurrence of such outbreaks.
Thirty-two years after that first Guatemalan raspberry-associated outbreak — and a year after produce-associated cyclosporiasis outbreaks that were linked to U.S.-grown produce — we have taken a major step forward in our understanding of these outbreaks and how to prevent them. After Fresh Express produce was identified in one of the 2018 outbreaks, I was asked by the company leadership to bring together the best minds’ around all aspects of produceassociated cyclosporiasis. The goal was to establish a Blue-Ribbon Panel to summarize state-of-the-art advancements regarding this public health challenge and to identify immediate steps that the produce industry and regulators can take to prevent future outbreaks. The panel was also formed to determine what immediate steps can be taken for any future outbreaks to expedite the scientific investigation to prevent further cases and inform public health officials. The Blue-Ribbon Panel comprises 11 individuals with expertise in the biology of Cyclospora; the epidemiology of cyclosporiasis, including outbreak investigation; laboratory methods for identifying C. cayetanensis in human and food samples and the environment; and produce production. In addition,16 expert consultants from academia, federal and state public health agencies (including expert observers from the FDA, CDC, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and California Department of Public Health), and industry, including producers and professional trade association science experts. The collaboration and comprehensiveness of this effort was remarkable. Many hundreds of hours of meetings and conference calls took place to determine our findings and establish our recommendations.
This document, “Interim Report: Blue-Ribbon Panel on the Prevention of Cyclospora Outbreaks in the Food Supply,” summarizes the state-of-the art practices for the prevention of C. cayetanensis contamination of produce and priorities for research that will inform us as we strive to further reduce infection risk. Also, we make recommendations on how to more quickly identify and more effectively respond to produce-associated outbreaks when they occur. We greatly appreciate all the organizations represented on the panel and the expert consultants. The report does not, however, represent the official policy or recommendations of any other private, academic, trade association or federal or state government agency. Fresh Express has committed to continuing the Blue-Ribbon Panel process for as long as it can provide critical and actionable information to prevent and control Cyclospora outbreaks in the food supply.
Table: Summary of U.S. foodborne outbreaks of cyclosporiasis, 2000–2017
CBS reports that frozen breakfast wraps are being recalled because there might be small rocks in the bacon.
Ruiz Food Products is recalling more than 246,000 pounds of frozen egg, potato, bacon and cheese wraps because the bacon may be contaminated with small rocks, according to the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service.
The recall affects the following products:
8-Pack family size film packages containing “EL MONTEREY EGG, POTATO, BACON & CHEESE SAUCE BREAKFAST WRAPS” with “Best if Used By” dates of 01/17/2020 and 01/18/2020 and lot codes 19017 and 19018.
The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 17523A” on the back of the package.
Ruiz Foods received three consumer complaints about foreign material in the wraps. The company also received a report of a potential injury from eating the product.
FYI, those wraps sound disgusting, without the rocks.
Lisa Fernandez of Fox 10 writes that another American tourist has died in the Dominican Republic: The latest casualty is a California man who fell critically ill at an all-inclusive resort about a month before three others died in their rooms, Fox News has learned.
In all, six U.S. tourists have died in recent months while vacationing in the Dominican Republic – a trend that the FBI is now investigating.
Robert “Bob” Bell Wallace, 67, of Modesto, and who grew up in Redwood City, became sick almost immediately after he had a scotch from the room minibar at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino resort in Punta Cana in April, his niece, Chloe Arnold, told Fox News on Sunday. He was in the Dominican Republic to attend his stepson’s wedding. He is survived by his wife, Beverly Tickenoff Wallace, according to his obituary. The two had three children between each other.
Punta Cana is a town at the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic and touches the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The spot is known for its beaches and lavish resorts.
One of the main questions concerning raw materials and intermediates in the food industry is the definition of used ingredients by the legal viewpoint. In the ambit of quality management systems, the declaration of all possible components of a food or beverage product may concern or be correlated with some basic aspects, including the critical and reliable interpretation of technical data sheets concerning these products in the food and beverage industries by external and experienced auditors. Interestingly, the matter of technical data sheets appears to be always critical when speaking of food quality management.
In general, these documents should give clear answers, and auditors should be ready to understand and analyse these information. The aim of this chapter is to give reliable advices for interested food auditors with concern to the examination of technical data sheets for all possible ingredients in the food and beverage sector.
I never had warm-blooded pets as a child. I had turtles that would escape and be found behind a sofa.
In 1985, my soon-to-be veterinarian first wife brought home two kittens from the vet clinic: I named them Clark and Kent.
I’ve gone through a lot of cats over the years.
During our 16-year marriage which created four skilled and tough daughters, my ex would castrate the males on the kitchen counter and remind me that I slept with her.
I didn’t fuck around.
Now that I’m in Brisbane, I went away for a weekend talk and came home to find two fur-expelling kittens that were indoor felines because we were in a townhouse. Now that we own our own property, they roam the grounds, chase away magpies, and occasionally bring a dead (or live) possum into the house.
Why doesn’t Australia focus on the rodent-evolved possums like the Kiwis do?
In the deep winter weeks of last July, Shane Morse and Kevin Figliomeni nearly always got up before the sun rose. They awoke next to the remains of a campfire or, occasionally, in a roadside motel, and in the darkness before dawn they began unloading poisoned sausage from their refrigerated truck. The sausage was for killing cats. One morning near the end of the season, Morse and Figliomeni left the Kalbarri Motor Hotel on the remote western coast of Australia, where they dined on steak and shellfish the night before, and drove along the squally coastline. They kept their eyes fixed to the sky. If it rained, there would be no baiting that day.
Morse and Figliomeni unpacked their boxes, filled with thousands of frozen sausages they produced at a factory south of Perth, according to a recipe developed by a man they jokingly called Dr. Death. It called for kangaroo meat, chicken fat and a mix of herbs and spices, along with a poison — called 1080 — derived from gastrolobium plants and highly lethal to animals, like cats, whose evolutionary paths did not require them to develop a tolerance to it. (The baits would also be lethal to other nonnative species, like foxes.) As the sun brightened the brume, the baits began to defrost. By midmorning, when Morse helped load them into a wooden crate inside a light twin-engine propeller Beechcraft Baron, they were burnished with a sheen of oil and emitted a stomach-turning fetor. The airplane shot down the runway and lifted over the gently undulating hills of the sand plains that abut the Indian Ocean.
Rising over the mantle of ghostlike smoke bushes that carpeted the ground to the treeless horizon, the plane traced a route over the landscape, its bombardier dropping 50 poisoned sausages every square kilometer. It banked over the deep cinnamon sandstone gorges carved by the Murchison River, which extends to the coastal delta, surveying the edge of one of earth’s driest, hottest continents, where two to six million feral cats roam. As it flew, it charted the kind of path it had done dozens of times before, carpeting thousands of hectares of land with soft fingers of meat, laying down nearly half a million baits in the course of one month. Dr. Death, whose real name is Dr. Dave Algar and who is the principal research scientist in the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions for the state of Western Australia, told me that he began developing the recipe for the poisoned sausages by examining cat food in supermarkets and observing which flavors most thrilled his own two cats. As Morse said: “They’ve got to taste good. They are the cat’s last meal.”
These fatal airdrops owed their existence to Australia’s national government, which decided in 2015 to try to kill two million feral cats by 2020, out of grave concern for the nation’s indigenous wildlife — in particular, groups of small, threatened rodent and marsupial species for which cats have become a deadly predator. The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology estimated that 211,560 cats were killed during the first 12 months after the plan was announced. Dropping lethal sausages from the sky is only part of the country’s efforts to eradicate feral cats, which also include trapping, shooting and devising all manner of poison-delivery vessels.
When the policy was announced, it was met in some quarters with apoplexy. More than 160,000 signatures appeared on half a dozen online petitions entreating Australia to spare the cats. Brigitte Bardot wrote a letter — in English, but with an unmistakably French cadence — beseeching the environment minister to stop what she called animal genocide. The singer Morrissey, formerly of the Smiths, lamented that “idiots rule the earth” and said the plan was akin to killing two million miniature Cecil the Lions. Despite anger from some animal rights groups and worries about the potential effects on pet cats, Australia went ahead with its plan, and the threatened-species commissioner replied by mail to both Bardot and Morrissey, politely describing the “delightful creatures” already lost to the world.
After that, Morse and Figliomeni spent much of each baiting season behind the wheel of their rig, hauling boxes to the most remote corners of one of the least populated places in the world, to beat back what Australia has deemed an invasive pest. As is the case on islands around the world, the direction of life in Australia took a distinctly different route than that on the larger continents, and unlike places like North America, the country has no native cat species. Over millions of years of isolation, Australia’s native beasts became accustomed to a different predatory order, so while cats aren’t necessarily more prevalent there than anywhere else, their presence is more ruinous. They have also become nearly ubiquitous: According to the estimates of local conservationists, feral cats have established a permanent foothold across 99.8 percent of the country, with their density reaching up to 100 per square kilometer in some areas. Even places nearly devoid of human settlement, like the remote and craggy Kimberley region, have been found to harbor cats that hunt native animals. The control effort, to which Western Australia’s baiting program belongs, was meant to ease the predation pressure that cats exerted in every corner of the country where they had settled. Faced with a choice between a species regarded as a precious pet and the many small creatures of their unique land, Australians seemed to have decided that guarding the remaining wild might mean they would have to spill some blood.
And then it turned grey, and went straight up, like Lyle Lovett.
I used to have a brain, but I feel it ever so slowly fading away, so I’ll get as much writing in while I’m somewhat together.
Personality, worse than ever, because I alternate between frightened, fearless and forlorn, and have no control over it.
This won’t end well.
Chapman asked me if doing all this end of life stuff like making sure my families were taken care of was a downer, and I say no, I’ve been fighting so long, it’s sort of cathartic.
My wife rolls her eyes and turns away when I tell people, I couldn’t remember my own phone number yesterday because I started taking pucks to the head in 1967.
She just thinks I’m a drunk.
Empathy may not be her strong suit.
Yet new research shows that just one concussion can mess the brain up.
I’ve had dozens, if not hundreds.
I’ve shared this with my physicians, but why not use this megaphone. When I die, someone please call this number and they’ll have a look at my brain. They’re hooked up with the CTE clinic in Boston (that’s a Sydney number, so needs a 61 first).
Research published by the American Psychological Association finds that even when feeling empathy for others isn’t financially costly or emotionally draining, people will still avoid it because they think empathy requires too much mental effort.
Amy’s had a lot to deal with and I blame her for nothing.
If I’ve learned anything on this journey, it’s the value of empathy (but like a good scientist, I want to know what works and what doesn’t, not just a bunch of catch-phrases).
I’ll stick with it as long as I can, because the reason I started the Food Safety Network in 1993 is still valid today: no parent, no individual, should say, they didn’t know the risk (followed by tragedy).
And where else would I get to play the music I love.
Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one.
Whenever I speak with a psychiatrist or psychologist who is trying to rearrange my brain until I’m sane, they all say the same thing: stop with the stories and get to the point.
They think I’m using stories as a distraction tactic, whereas I’m using stories to enhance the meaning of what is or isn’t going on upstairs.
If you’ve seen the film, Lincoln, you may know what I’m storying about.
And the eggheads don’t get it.
Leo Robson of New Statesman America writes that although it has been more than 60 years since Ernst Gombrich delivered his Mellon lectures on art and illusion – the title of his subsequent bestselling book – the application of empirical thinking to works of culture or creativity is still considered a minority interest, even a kind of novelty. There are academic courses in critical approaches such as “evolutionary literary theory” and “cognitive poetics”, but they are taught by academics with devoted professorships in other fields of study.
With notable exceptions, most of the movement has been from the humanities towards the sciences, as was the case with Gombrich, who used cognitive psychology to illuminate the processes of visual representation; with the film scholar David Bordwell, who has cited Gombrich’s example; and with the Nabokov biographer Brian Boyd, who in his book On the Origin of Stories (2010) mentioned the “revelatory” experience of discovering Bordwell’s work. Now Will Storr, a journalist and writing teacher, has written an account of our story-telling instincts that doubles as a guide to telling better stories.
It would be hard to imagine a case of more wholehearted advocacy. The book is heavy with categories, dichotomies and tags (“identity claims”, “feeling regulators”). Storr begins with the idea that stories emerged to address the fact that life is “meaningless”. This does not explain why a child oblivious to the planet’s looming “heat death”, the “infinite, dead, freezing void”, may still enjoy an episode of Paw Patrol, but it’s true that a desire for order has always prevailed among human beings. Or, in Storr’s rather Tarzan-ish phrasing, “Story is what brain does.” He goes further, arguing with clarity and conviction that it is due to our brains’ desire for control that we are excited by stories of change. Boy meets girl. Stranger dismounts from horse. Complacent youth is humbled. Ancient order shows signs of frailty.
Storr succeeds in bridging evolutionary psychology and narrative theory, or making one the basis for the other. But unlike Gombrich or Bordwell, his aim isn’t to answer a critical question better. He’s probing his own craft in order to teach it to others. So it’s odd that he approaches the subject mainly as a researcher. He doesn’t bring to bear his experience of working on his novel, The Hunger and the Howling of Killian Lone; or of turning research into books, such as The Heretics; or, in his work as a ghostwriter, shaping reams of interview transcripts into a pleasing or plausible account of a life. It would be rather as if David Hockney had neglected to mention his life as “an artist, a mark-maker”, in Secret Knowledge, his remarkable study of optical devices.
Instead, Storr turns to novels and films for examples of storytelling that appeal to our neural processes, but they do little to help his case. He tells us that Raymond Chandler packs “a tonne of meaning” into the image “Dead men are heavier than broken hearts”; and that the lines “I love the smell of napalm in the morning” and “These go to 11” are “so dense with narrative information it’s as if the entire story is packed into just a few words”. His most frequently cited case studies are Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel The Remains of the Day and Citizen Kane, though neither is very representative, being less stories than meta-stories, respectively a faux-memoir of an unusually ruminative sort and the portrait of a journalist assigned to uncover what made a man tick.
It’s in the writing manual section that the book is at its strongest. In one terrific passage, Storr explains that an audience’s curiosity – resembling the shape of the lower-case “n” – peaks when we know something and fades away when we know everything. Then, in an appendix, Storr elaborates his theory that “more traditional” – ie non-science-based – “attempts at decoding story”, such as Joseph Campbell’s monomyth” or idea of the “hero’s journey”, have emphasised ideas of plot and structure at the expense of what he calls “character work”. Storr’s concept of the “sacred flaw” – an over-compressed phrase referring to the faulty concept that a character holds sacred – is lucid, original, plausibly grounded in the science and proves once again just how much goodwill can be derived from a satisfying ending, even when it depends on a deus ex machina (I don’t speak foreign languages).
There’s been some changes in technical stuff at barfblog.com, and I don’t really understand what’s going on, I just write for free to delay the inevitable decay of my brain.
If you want to follow us on facebook, you need to sign up to the barfblog group, because that’s where the postings show up.
I don’t know if subscribers are receiving posts in a timely manner in their e-mail — I’m not, but I’m just a writer — but you can let Chapman know because he’s in charge.
But I’m still barfblog and barfblog is still me, so here is Sorenne, who scored the winning touch to take the final in their inter-school division this afternoon (they call everything grand finals here, and they’re not grand, they’re finals; no one calls the NHL Stanley Cup the grand finals), and a couple of recent pieces of art.
As I said when I started the other newspaper at the University of Guelph in 1988, you don’t like it, start your own paper and stop complaining.
I’ve never been a fan of any particular day, especially birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and Easter, but I am a fan of changing seasons and the solstices.
Every day, every meal, is food safety for me.
I can be annoying to live with.
According to the World Health Organization, every year, nearly one in ten people in the world (an estimated 600 million people; it used to be 1-in-4, then it was 1-in-6, now I guess it’s 1-in-10) fall ill and 420,000 die after eating food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances. Unsafe food also hinders development in many low- and middle-income economies, which lose around US$ 95 billion in productivity associated with illness, disability, and premature death suffered by workers.
World Food Safety Day 2019’s theme is that food safety is everyone’s business.
Yeah, but my kitchen isn’t a business, it’s a family.
Food safety contributes to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism and sustainable development.
It’s also supposed to be a place of social sharing, empathy and enjoyment.
The UN has designated two of its agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to lead efforts in promoting food safety around the world.
FAO and WHO are joining forces to assist countries to prevent, manage and respond to risks along the food supply chain, working with food producers and vendors, regulatory authorities and civil society stakeholders, whether the food is domestically produced or imported.
“Whether you are a farmer, farm supplier, food processor, transporter, marketer or consumer, food safety is your business,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said. “There is no food security without food safety,” he said.
“Unsafe food kills an estimated 420,000 people every year. These deaths are entirely preventable,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “World Food Safety Day is a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the dangers of unsafe food with governments, producers, handlers and consumers. From farm to plate, we all have a role to play in making food safe.”