Food Safety Talk 170: Pants Pants Pants!

The show opens with a discussion of technology and cyber Monday, before segueing to Ben’s missing tooth. From there the guys do a deep dive into the recent E. coli O157:H7 in romaine lettuce outbreak before turning to listener feedback. They cover heating breastmilk, putting bleach on the food of homeless people, temperature monitoring devices, proper methods for thawing turkey, reconditioning cutting boards, and air quality of dairy processing plant all based on listener feedback. Buckle up, this is a bonus sized episode.

You can download episode 169 here and at iTunes.

Show notes so you can follow along at home:

Food Safety Talk 166: Surprising lack of cannibalism questions

Don and Ben traveled to SUNY Geneseo for a live version of the podcast sponsored by the Center for Integrative Learning, and hosted by the amazing Beth McCoy. The episode title comes from an unrecorded after dark which may or may not have taken place in a bar in Geneseo.

Episode 166 is available on iTunes and here.

Show notes so you can follow along at home.

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:

Using observation to evaluate training: Canadian High School edition

A couple of old friends Shannon Majowicz and Ken Diplock and colleagues from Waterloo, (that’s in Canada) are doing good work looking at food safety stuff with high school students- evaluating training efficacy using observation. They published their work demonstrating some sustained food safety behaviors following a training program, this month in the Journal of Food Protection.

Kenneth J. Diplock, Joel A. Dubin, Scott T. Leatherdale, David Hammond, Andria Jones-Bitton, and Shannon E. Majowicz. 2018. Observation of High School Students’ Food Handling Behaviors: Do They Improve following a Food Safety Education Intervention?

Greenbank High School Birkdale Merseyside.

Journal of Food Protection: June 2018, Vol. 81, No. 6, pp. 917-925

Youth are a key audience for food safety education. They often engage in risky food handling behaviors, prepare food for others, and have limited experience and knowledge of safe food handling practices. Our goal was to investigate the effectiveness of an existing food handler training program for improving safe food handling behaviors among high school students in Ontario, Canada. However, because no schools agreed to provide control groups, we evaluated whether behaviors changed following delivery of the intervention program and whether changes were sustained over the school term. We measured 32 food safety behaviors, before the intervention and at 2-week and 3-month follow-up evaluations by in-person observations of students (n = 119) enrolled in grade 10 and 12 Food and Nutrition classes (n = 8) and who individually prepared recipes. We examined within-student changes in behaviors across the three time points, using mixed effects regression models to model trends in the total food handling score (of a possible 32 behaviors) and subscores for “clean” (17 behaviors), “separate” (14 behaviors), and “cook” (1 behavior), adjusting for student characteristics. At baseline, students (n = 108) averaged 49.1% (15.7 of 32 behaviors; standard deviation = 5.8) correct food handling behaviors, and only 5.5% (6) of the 108 students used a food thermometer to check the doneness of the chicken (the “cook” behavior). All four behavior score types increased significantly ∼2 weeks postintervention and remained unchanged ∼3 months later. Student characteristics (e.g., having taken a prior food handling course) were not significant predictors of the total number of correctly performed food handling behaviors or of the “clean” or “separate” behaviors, and frequency of cooking and self-described cooking ability were the only characteristics significantly associated with food thermometer use (i.e., “cook”). Despite the significant increase in correct behaviors, students continued to use risky practices postintervention, suggesting that the risk of foodborne disease remained.

Storytelling is more effective than PowerPoint

Food safety training and effective communication involves a myriad of techniques and behavior-based solutions in order to be compelling. The power of narration or story-telling is underrated and should be used more often as a way to inform the public on food safety than simply using PowerPoint. The CEO of Amazon has eliminated the use of PowerPoint in their executive meetings as a means to be more productive.

In his 2018 annual letter, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos repeated his rule that PowerPoint is banned in executive meetings. What Bezos replaced it with provides even more valuable insight for entrepreneurs and leaders.

In his letter, and in a recent discussion at the Forum on Leadership at the Bush Center, Bezos revealed that “narrative structure” is more effective than PowerPoint. According to Bezos, new executives are in for a culture shock in their first Amazon meetings. Instead of reading bullet points on a PowerPoint slide, everyone sits silently for about 30 minutes to read a “six-page memo that’s narratively structured with real sentences, topic sentences, verbs, and nouns.”

After everyone’s done reading, they discuss the topic. “It’s so much better than the typical PowerPoint presentation for so many reasons,” Bezos added.

As a student of narrative storytelling in business for the past 20 years, I can tell you exactly why it’s so much better.

1. Our brains are hardwired for narrative.
Narrative storytelling might not have been as critical for our survival as a species as food, but it comes close.

Anthropologists say when humans gained control of fire, it marked a major milestone in human development. Our ancestors were able to cook food, which was a big plus. But it also had a second benefit. People sat around campfires swapping stories. Stories served as instruction, warning, and inspiration.

Recently, I’ve talked to prominent neuroscientists whose experiments confirm what we’ve known for centuries: The human brain is wired for story. We process our world in narrative, we talk in narrative and–most important for leadership–people recall and retain information more effectively when it’s presented in the form of a story, not bullet points.

2. Stories are persuasive.
Aristotle is the father of persuasion. More than 2,000 years ago he revealed the three elements that all persuasive arguments must have to be effective. He called these elements “appeals.” They are: ethos, logos, and pathos. Ethos is character and credibility. Logos is logic–an argument must appeal to reason. But ethos and logos are irrelevant in the absence of pathos–emotion.

Emotion is not a bad thing. The greatest movements in history were triggered by speakers who were gifted at making rational and emotional appeals: Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.; and John F. Kennedy, who blended science and emotion to inspire America’s moon program.

Neuroscientists have found emotion is the fastest path to the brain. In other words, if you want your ideas to spread, story is the single best vehicle we have to transfer that idea to another person.

“I’m actually a big fan of anecdotes in business,” Bezos said at the leadership forum as he explained why he reads customer emails and forwards them to the appropriate executive. Often, he says, the customer anecdotes are more insightful than data.

Amazon uses “a ton of metrics” to measure success, explained Bezos. “I’ve noticed when the anecdotes and the metrics disagree, the anecdotes are usually right,” he noted. “That’s why it’s so important to check that data with your intuition and instincts, and you need to teach that to executives and junior executives.”

Bezos clearly understands that logic (data) must be married with pathos (narrative) to be successful.

The rest of the story can be found here.

Storytelling has structure

Don’t just say people need to be educated. Figure out how to tell the risk story.

We’ve talked about storytelling a lot on barfblog. Doug and I published a couple of papers a few years ago on using narratives to impact food safety behaviors (here and here). Doug has always stressed the importance of not only being a good storyteller, but that there’s structure to a good story.

I just watched Don Schaffner give a talk on food safety risk assessment at the Dubai International Food Safety Conference and while some might consider it a dry concept, Don told two stories that exemplified how it all works.

A recent podcast name check caused me to check out Community and Rick and Morty creator Dan Harmon and his storytelling circle (right, exactly as shown, from an excellent old Wired article).

And there’s this classic from Kurt Vonnegut.

 

Food handler training in Hawaii


I was asked to teach a couple of food safety courses in Hawaii a couple of years ago in February. I live in Winnipeg, Canada where the temperature hovers around -45C around that time. You do the math. I told my wife to pack up the bags and kids cause we’re getting the hell out here….
I am not going to refute that food safety training is essential for food handlers to prevent unnecessary public barfing. It’s how the training is delivered that makes the difference. Different people learn in different ways and so it is critical for trainers to accommodate student needs.
I have always been a proponent of providing on-site, hands-on training based on behavioral science. Prior to starting my grad work on food safety training, I took the grassroots approach and asked frontline workers, in particular, English as Second Language students how they would benefit from a training course. Answer is always a resounding on-site, hands-on training that is short, concise and to the point.

John Steinhorst of the Garden island writes
The Hawaii Department of Health amended Chapter 50, Food Safety Code, after public hearings were held on Kauai, Hawaii Island, Maui and Oahu in December 2016 and March 2017.
One of the major rule changes is a mandate for Food Handlers Education certification for persons-in-charge at all food establishments. This will ensure a minimum baseline of food safety knowledge for facility owners and managers.
“In reality, I think it’s probably a good idea that more people are certified to handle food safely,” said John Ferguson, owner of Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Company. “It just makes the environment in restaurants a lot safer for everybody.”

This is no conclusive evidence to support this statement. Having a Certificate doesn’t mean anything, it’s all about human behavior.

Studies have shown that food establishments with properly trained persons-in-charge have a lower occurrence of critical food safety violations that are directly linked to food illnesses.
“I already have some employees that have gone through the program at the school, so they are certified themselves,” Ferguson said. “I was certified many times throughout my career, but I probably need a refresher as well too.
The new rule requires at least one employee present during normal work hours, including during food preparation, must have a formal food handler’s training level certification. DOH will accept certification recognized by the American National Standards Institute.

The rest of the story can be found here:

http://thegardenisland.com/news/local/new-state-food-safety-rules-enhance-public-health-protection/article_abfbe56c-6054-5c5f-98e4-8a4dbbd79287.html

Investigating the potential benefits of on-site food safety training for Folklorama, a temporary food service event.

01.oct.12
Journal of Food Protection®, Volume 75, Number 10, October 2012 , pp. 1829-1834(6)
Mancini, Roberto; Murray, Leigh; Chapman, Benjamin J.; Powell, Douglas A.