How Aussies are getting food poisoning from takeaways they are buying from home cooks on facebook — as health authorities issue a warning

Eliza McPhee of the Daily Mail wrote in Sept. that Australians have been warned not to indulge in any takeaway meals offered on Facebook Marketplace with fears the cheap food could lead to food poisoning.

Curries, noodles, cooked meat, desserts, rice dishes and even raw sausages are just some of the items on offer on the advertising platform with some starting at $8.

But the Food Safety Information Council has warned it’s highly likely the home chefs aren’t meeting food safety requirements.

Cathy Moir, chair of the health promotion charity said they became aware of the ‘illegal’ practice in May after noticing a string of ‘high-risk’ foods were being sold online.

‘These unregulated food sales are a considerable food safety risk. There is a real risk of food poisoning, which, in its worst form can have severe health consequences,’ Ms Moir said. 

‘Not only that, it is illegal. Government and local council enforcement agencies are clamping down on these unregistered food businesses, as and when they become aware of them.

‘However, new sellers keep popping up and this is putting a considerable strain on our health services.’

Advertising food does not go against any rules of Facebook Marketplace which is commonly used to buy and sell clothes or furniture.

But Ms Moir said cooking at home couldn’t ensure the same level of health and safety as registered businesses would have. 

Kitchen hygiene in the spotlight: How cooking shows influence viewers’ hygiene practices

Poor hygiene when handling food is a major cause of foodborne illness. To investigate whether hygiene practices visible in television cooking shows influence viewers’ kitchen hygiene, a study on the adoption of demonstrated hygiene behavior was conducted under controlled, experimental conditions.

In a study ostensibly on cooking by following recipes participants (n = 65) were randomly assigned to one of three conditions, in which they watched a cooking video that differed only with regard to the hygiene behavior of the chef. In condition 1, the chef engaged in poor hygiene practices while preparing the dish, in condition 2 the chef’s hygiene behavior was exemplary and in condition 3, the chef’s hygiene behavior was not visible (control condition). After watching the video, participants were instructed to cook the recipe individually in the fully equipped laboratory kitchen. Cooking sessions were videotaped and experimenters blind to condition coded hygiene lapses committed by participants.

The level of kitchen hygiene displayed in the cooking video significantly affected hygiene practices of participants cooking the recipe. Participants who had watched the cooking video with correct hygiene practices committed significantly fewer hygiene lapses than those who had watched the video with poor hygiene practices. From a risk communication perspective, TV cooking shows are well placed to convey knowledge of essential hygiene practices during food preparation to a broad audience. To facilitate behavioral change toward safer food‐handling practices among viewers, visibly performing correct hygiene practices in cooking shows is a promising strategy.

Kitchen hygiene in the spotlight: How cooking shows influence viewers’ hygiene practices

Risk Analysis

Severine Koch, Mark Lohmann, Jasmin Geppert, Rainer Stamminger, Astrid Epp, Gaby‐Fleur Böl

https://doi.org/10.1111/risa.13584

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/risa.13584

30 Helens and most of 635 epidemiologists agree: Stay at home for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, both the Canadian, in early October, and the American, today, the last Thursday in November.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has finally found a consistent voice and has recommendations to make #Thanksgiving safer. Bring your own food and drinks, stay at least 6 feet apart, and wash your hands often. Choose outdoor or well-ventilated spaces.

Most importantly, CDC and others strongly recommend to celebrate only with those you live with, and use virtual gatherings with others (I am exceedingly thankful for the electronic toys we have to help weather the pandemic; 1918 and the Spanish flu would have really sucked).

Of course, the current White House occupant is planning on hosting several parties throughout the holidays. Please ignore Trump et al. and listen to the science.

To that end, the N.Y. Times surveyed 635 epidemiologists and found that most are staying at home, and that those who are gathering with family or friends are taking precautions or rethinking their holiday rituals altogether.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving my American friends and colleagues, and be thankful that someone will live with you.

Australia has somewhat enviable statistics related to this pandemic and the lesson that America is only beginning to grasp is this: go fast, go hard and go smart to limit the spread of coronavirus or any illness.

The 3 Ws: A public health Thanksgiving

Friend of the barfblog, Michéle Samarya-Timm, MA, HO, MCHES, REHS, health educator and registered environmental health specialist at the Somerset County Department of Health in Somerville, New Jersey, has graciously made time from the public health front lines to continue her U.S. Thanksgiving tradition of contributing to the barfblog.

It’s the 10th month  of COVID-19 response for public health professionals in the U.S.

That’s 46 straight weeks (and counting) of conducting public testing clinics, providing COVID-19 information and test results, contact tracing, and educating on prevention.    

 In addition, public health has been proactive with regular disease prevention work, holding COVID-safe flu clinics, providing guidance to food establishments, schools and workplaces, and planning for the herculean task of vaccinating 70% of the population (twice) for COVID-19 as soon as the vaccine is delivered. 

 We do what we’ve been trained to do, and what needs to be done to protect our residents. It’s the prime directive of public health: prevent disease and save lives.

Be thankful, as I am, for their dedication and efforts as you pass the turkey…and pass the hand sanitizer.

This year, in addition to food safe practices to assure a disease-free meal, remember to add 3 W’s:

  • Watch your distance (keep 6 feet apart)
  • Wear a mask 
  • Wash your hands 

 Be safe, my friends.  And THANKS for all you do.

When ya gotta go: Woman goes to toilet on California beach during CNN reporter’s live broadcastd

A woman was filmed using a beach for a bathroom in broad daylight while a CNN reporter broadcast just feet away from her. The unidentified woman relieved herself on Santa Monica beach in Los Angeles on Monday afternoon as journalist Sarah Seigner discussed the ongoing coronavirus crisis with her colleagues in New York City.

The woman, who appeared to be homeless, wandered into the camera shot as Seigner told her colleagues how the area had broken a one-day Covid-19 diagnosis record on Friday, with more than 3,000 cases confirmed. The video-bomber could be seen dumping a black trash bag on the sand, before pulling down her pants as she prepared to go to the bathroom. Seigner appeared to have been warned over her ear-piece about what was going on behind her, and shuffled slightly to the right to block the woman from view and spare viewers’ blushes. Her colleague in New York managed to keep a straight face throughout. Seigner spoke as California saw a surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, with the Golden State experiencing a 41% rise in Covid-19 hospitals since mid-June.

California broke its single-day coronavirus diagnosis on July 5, with 11,529 new cases confirmed. Daily death figures have been hovering around 100, and have yet to beat the all-time high of 115 Covid-19 deaths recorded towards the start of the outbreak on April 22. The worrying numbers have prompted multiple California counties to pass or begin reversing reopening measures.

It’s been done before: Porn stars deployed in New Zealand government’s online safety campaign-video

A New Zealand government advertising campaign aimed at promoting online safety for under 18s features two naked ‘porn stars’. The adult actors knock on the door of a family home to tell the mother ‘your son’s been watching us online’. The stunned mother listens as she is told that porn stars don’t talk about consent and ‘just get straight to it’. ‘Yeah, and I’d never act like that in real life,’ the male porn star says. The Keep It Real Online series also includes videos addressing cyberbullying, grooming by paedophiles, and the ease of children’s access to violent content.

It’s only a movie, but 2004’s The Girl Next Door, featuring Canadian Elisha Cuthbert features porn stars making a sex-ed tape.

Shurley not: Food safety education of employees and the public

Food safety training is like psychotherapy: Sure, I understand the theory, the neural pathways, the addictive brain, but will that change my behavior (shurley not).

But there’s always hope – in place of well-designed studies that measure success, failure, and actual experiments with novel approaches. Most studies get tossed on the rhetorical pile of we-need-more-education crap.

Here’s the abstracts for two recent papers:

Effectiveness of food handler training and education interventions: A systematic review and analysis

Journal of Food Protection vol. 82 no. 10

Ian Young, Judy Greig, Barbara J. Wilhelm, and Lisa A. Waddell

https://doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-19-108

https://jfoodprotection.org/doi/abs/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-19-108

Improper food handling among those working in retail and food service settings is a frequent contributor to foodborne illness outbreaks. Food safety training and education interventions are important strategies to improve the behaviors and behavioral precursors (e.g., knowledge and attitudes) of food handlers in these settings.

We conducted a comprehensive systematic review to identify, characterize, and synthesize global studies in this area to determine the overall effectiveness of these interventions. The review focused on experimental studies with an independent control group. Review methods included structured search strategy, relevance screening of identified abstracts, characterization of relevant articles, risk of bias assessment, data extraction, meta-analysis of intervention effectiveness for four outcome categories (attitudes, knowledge, behavior, and food premise inspection scores), and a quality of evidence assessment.

We identified 18 relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and 29 nonrandomized trials. Among RCTs, 25 (64%) unique outcomes were rated as high risk of bias, primarily owing to concerns about outcome measurement methods, while 45 (98%) nonrandomized trial outcomes were rated as serious risk of bias, primarily because of concerns about confounding bias. High confidence was identified for the effect of training and education interventions to improve food handler knowledge outcomes in eight RCT studies (standardized mean difference = 0.92; 95% confidence interval: 0.03, 1.81; I2 = 86%). For all other outcomes, no significant effect was identified. In contrast, nonrandomized trials identified a statistically significant positive intervention effect for all outcome types, but confidence in these findings was very low due to possible confounding and other biases.

Results indicate that food safety training and education interventions are effective to improve food handler knowledge, but more evidence is needed on strategies to improve behavior change.

Gaps and common misconceptions in public’s food safety knowledge

British Columbia Institute of Technology

Kathy Kim, Helen Heacock

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/b78e/7eb080d0fe5a95f95e0b140ca183277c81cb.pdf

Background: Incidence rates of some foodborne illnesses (FBIs) in BC still remain on the rise despite numerous initiatives to prevent FBIs. This rise over the years has been attributed to gaps in the public’s food-safety knowledge and practices. In order to decrease incidence rates and prevent future FBIs, efforts should be made to identify common misconceptions in the public’s food safety knowledge. With a focus on the Metro Vancouver population, common misconceptions in food safety were found and their knowledge level towards the misconceptions was analyzed.

Methods: An in-person survey was conducted in three locations in Metro Vancouver. The survey asked for demographics information, perceived food safety knowledge and food safety misconceptions. ANOVA and Independent Sample T-test were administered to analyze results.

Results: No statistically significant difference in food safety knowledge was found between groups by gender, age, and geographic region. The majority of participants rated their food safety knowledge as moderate but they demonstrated a poor knowledge level in food safety.

Conclusion: The public’s knowledge level should be improved to prevent further rises of FBIs. Initiatives involving the provincial Foodsafe certification program, secondary school curriculums and health authority websites can be utilized to educate the public.

O. Pete Snyder, food safety rock star

My very first thermometer came as a gift from Pete.

I was a newbie graduate student, full of hubris, trying my best to figure out how to communicate food safety to food handlers in restaurants. I started making these food safety infosheets (which have morphed into other things) and Pete was a concerned reader of FSnet (which morphed into barfblog).

After posting something that I likely put together in haste, he emailed me to share exactly how and why I got something wrong. He was gruff and to the point. It made me panic. I didn’t want to look stupid, and to this guy, who I didn’t know, I looked pretty stupid.

A couple of weeks later I posted something else, and he emailed me again; same thing, I was sloppy and Pete called me on it.

The third time, he emailed he asked for our lab phone number. He called and said that he could explain C. perfringens growth so much better with a conversation. We talked for 20 min. No small talk, just microbiology and food safety.

During that call I finally got it. He wasn’t being picky, or calling me out because of his ego. He was giving me feedback because he cared. And he cared that I got things right. In that conversation we talked about good thermometers and bad thermometers, I remember it really vividly.

A couple of days later my very own Comark PDT 300 showed up unannounced in the mail.

Since then, everything I write and everything I create goes through the Pete test in my mind – like, ‘What would Pete say about this? Did I get it right?’ I’ve passed the Pete test on to my graduate students as well.

Over the past decade, Pete and I had become friends, seeing each other at IAFP or the Dubai Food Safety Conference (at both places he was a star). He was so generous with his comments and accolades and asked lots of questions about my kids.

He was always the first person to wish me a happy birthday on Facebook too.

Pete was a giant. I was saddened to hear that he passed away last week. One of the last times I saw him I told him about the Pete test. He just chuckled and just wanted to talk microbiology. That’s the kind of guy he was.

I used my Comark PDT 300 on our dinner tonight and thought about Pete.

Oscar ‘Peter’ Snyder, Jr.

Snyder, Oscar Jr. ‘Peter’ Age 89 of Shoreview, passed away March 1, 2019 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Born in Washington, DC on February 23, 1930, Pete grew up primarily on the east coast and especially enjoyed vacationing at the family lake cottage in Beaver Lake, NJ. He was a career Army officer, with overseas assignments in Germany, Korea and Vietnam. He retired as a Lt. Col. after 22 years of service. He was a Bronze Star and Legion of Merit recipient. In 1974, he became an Associate Professor of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota, and then in 1982 he founded the Hospitality Institute of Technology & Management (HITM), a food safety training, education & consulting firm. He was a passionate, lifetime proponent of safe food handling and the HACCP method of food preparation for organizations around the world. He especially enjoyed photography, traveling throughout Europe, and the music of Dave Brubeck. Pete also spent many years volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America and as an usher & lay reader at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church. He is preceded in death by his parents, Oscar & Louise, and sister Jane. Survived by wife of 59 years, Ella and sons, Tom (Anne), Scott (Lesley), Chris (Dawnette); grandchildren: Griffin (Andrea), Ryan, Andrew, Camille, Jasmine and great-granddaughter, Faith. Memorial service 11:00 am, Saturday, March 9, 2019, at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church with visitation one hour prior. Memorials in lieu of flowers to St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, 2300 N. Hamline Ave, Roseville, MN 55113; Feeding Tomorrow – IFT Foundation, 525 W. Van Buren, Suite 1000, Chicago, IL 60607; or IAFP Foundation, 6200 Aurora Ave, Suite 200W, Des Moines, IA 50322.

Food Safety Talk 176: Bug Book

The show opens with a discussion about privacy, whether you should cover the microphone on your computer, or how you can scare your kids using Alexa. The guys talked briefly about what they’re watching, Ben’s trip to Athens Georgia, and celebrity feet. From there the show moves into listener feedback talking about the safety of eating Canadian seaweed. Listener feedback makes a interesting segue into failure, and the things we can learn from it. The show returns to listener feedback with a discussion about citrus safety and infused water. For some reason Don wants to talk about smoke detectors, before returning again to listener feedback and “Contamination Corner”, and ways to learn about stuff you don’t know about (like filibusters). Ben and Don talk about an interview that Don did for Cooking Light, before Don wants to talk about fixing his broken software. Ben ends the show with a long discussion regarding safe cooking directions for frozen vegetables, and why no one can agree.

This episode is available at foodsafetytalk.com or on iTunes.

 

Show notes so you can follow along at home are below:

Healthcare types: Contrary to what you’ve been taught, use social media

Joshua Mansour, M.D., a board-certified hematologist and oncologist in Stanford, California doing work in the field of  hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and cellular immunotherapy (left, exactly as shown), writes in this contributed piece, from the beginning of medical school, one of the first things instructional videos that we had to watch during orientation was about social media and what not to do.  There began this stigma and it was frowned upon to use social media if you were a healthcare provider. 

There are the obvious things that physicians should not do, such as post private information about patients, show a patient’s face without their permission, or exploit medically sensitive information.  But no one tells you what you can do and possibly what you actually should do. 

There is a new wave that has now taken over that we as a healthcare community and a community as a whole should support, especially if it is meant to help others. Most recently I have approached social media in a different way and gone out to explore what is available as a tool to help others.  What I’m finding has been mind-blowing and I am very excited to see where it continues to progress in the future. 

People are sharing their journeys, inspiring others, raising awareness.  There is a whole community of individuals working as a team to help others.  It is incredibly inspiring. 

Before recently I had thought of social media as being full of people only posting pictures of fun trips or nights out, throwing out their opinions out into the open for people to see.  We now have social impact movements, live videos with question and answers for students, people showing their tough times and how they are overcoming them.  People are reaching out to others for encouragement, collaborations, and progress. Using it to spread the message.  With the busy days of many healthcare professionals, it is difficult for them to find the time to engage with social media and with others.  There are many healthcare providers that are making an impact and finding the time to do it.  

What we need to start teaching in medical school and in other schools in not only what not to do on social media, but how to use social media in a positive light.  This is something that is happening and only continuing to grow.  It is time to get on board but shine the light in a positive manner.  Teach students from early what to do instead of only what not to do.  You never know they may be able to influence people in a way like never before. 

Recently I have recently been able to connect with others across the world and learn new things about medicine and how it is practiced in those locations.  This will help me evolve as a physician as well and has helped my patients.