AI and food

Chris Mahon of Outer Places writes that despite the frightening implications, most people aren’t surprised anymore when it’s announced that China has a new virtual news anchor powered by AI, or that companies are programming artificial intelligence to recognize when people are lying at airports. We’ve pretty much resigned ourselves that a dystopian future is on its way, but at least we’ll have extremely smart toilets, according to Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra. In fact, he says we may be able to phase out regular doctor visits in favor of an artificially intelligent commode that analyzes our urine and stool.
Speaking at the recent Techonomy conference in San Francisco, Mehrota claimed: “Medicine is going toward precision medicine and precision health. Imagine smart toilets in the future that will be analyzing human waste in real time every day. You don’t need to be going to visit a physician every six months. If any sign of disease starts showing up, you’ll be able to catch it much faster because of urine analysis and stool analysis.”

He certainly has some interest in this becoming a reality—Micron is one of the world’s leading producers of memory chips and related hardware, which would be necessary to create something like an AI toilet. Artificial intelligence has already proven itself capable of diagnosing medical issues—in fact, a combination of AI methods has proven itself even more effective at spotting breast cancer than humans. The only question is whether the data gained from smart toilets will be private…or monetized like your browser and purchase history.

Wait a second, doesn’t all this sound strangely familiar? It does! That’s because Adult Swim made a surprisingly in-depth parody of this idea with their faux “Smart Pipe” infomercial, which envisioned a company installing a pipe attachment to your toilet that would collect data about your diet and waste. Despite some exaggeration (and a bizarre detour into some darker territory), Smart Pipe might be closer to reality that anyone expected. 

Everyone’s got a camera: Chicago bus drivers caught on video urinating, defecating on buses, face little action

Do it in the country they like it just fine, do it in the city it’s a $20 fine,

That stench on your CTA bus? That puddle of urine? Turns out riders aren’t always the ones to blame.

The Chicago Transit Authority has disciplined three bus drivers who were caught relieving themselves on their routes in the past few years, according to CTA records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

In one bizarre, on-duty incident in September, a driver defecated on his bus after pulling over — busted by onboard surveillance camera footage.

The driver told his bosses he couldn’t hold it because he’d eaten “bad tacos.” CTA officials didn’t buy his story, according to a transit source who says the incident appeared to be “premeditated.” The agency initiated termination proceedings.

The source, who works for the CTA, says the official records don’t come close to revealing the extent of the problem, saying it’s fairly common for bus drivers to urinate or otherwise let loose on or near their buses and let the blame, and cleanup, fall to others.

“I can tell you it’s dozens we’re aware of,” the source says, adding that incidents are often ignored by supervisors or “classified as something else” in paperwork to obscure the offense. “This happens frequently, honestly. . . . There’s really no good excuse for it.”

Loblaws apologizes over viral photo of mouse in bag of bread at a Hamilton No Frills

There was this time about 15 years ago, and I was the scientific advisor for a group of food safety heads at Canadian supermarkets. We’d met once or twice a year, and the first four hours would be devoted to, no one takes my job seriously unless there’s an outbreak.

I could relate.

I guess they kept me on because we did good work when BSE was discovered in Canada in 2003: the only country where beef consumption increased after a mad cow disease warning, partly due to me standing in the snow at 6 am on a Guelph street doing national TV, lots due to Sarah and her team managing the phone lines and providing me with soundbites.

I get the sense Loblaws and its various spin-offs aren’t so vigilant

as they might have been before.

First it was piles of meat thawing in a shopping cart. Now Loblaws is apologizing to customers of a Hamilton No Frills after a photo went viral of a mouse in a bag of bread at the store.

The picture of the tail end of a mouse — visible through the plastic bag surrounding a loaf of D’Italiano bread in a shopping cart — was posted to the website Reddit on Wednesday. The photo had attracted more than 180 comments by the next day.

In a statement, Loblaws public relations director Karen Gumbs apologized to customers — but also assured them the city’s public health department checked out the No Frills location and has “no concerns.”

“The store has taken a number of steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again, including working closely with their third-party pest control team, and inspecting bakery items daily,” she said.

Uh-huh.

Everyone’s got a camera: Toronto man complains of ‘unsanitary’ meat storage at real Canadian superstore

Michael Pearl says he goes grocery shopping every Sunday at the Real Canadian Superstore near Dufferin Street and Steeles Avenue West.

But on Oct 5, he says he got a disturbing sneak peek behind the deli counter.

“It just seemed like it was a very unsanitary way of storing meat,” Pearl told CBC Toronto.

Pearl was planning on purchasing some steaks but changed his mind when he saw a pile of raw meat in a shopping cart behind the counter.

“Fifty or 60 steaks in there, sitting in the cart without any wrapping that I had seen,” he said. “It just seemed very, you know, very unhygienic and it looked disgusting, to be honest with you.”

Pearl says he took out his phone and snapped a picture, which he brought to a woman he says claimed to be the store manager.  

“I showed her the picture. She seemed aghast at it all,” Pearl said.

In addition to that, Pearl says he sent the photo to the Toronto Board of Health, and filed a complaint with them.  

“They got back to me and said they were going to be looking into it.”

Loblaw Companies director of public relations Karen Gumbs also saw the picture and gave a statement to CBC Toronto, saying this “absolutely should not have happened” because it does not follow the company’s food safety procedures.

“The store immediately addressed this with the colleague,” Gumbs said. “We’ve reminded all departments of our protocols to ensure nothing like this happens again.”

Pearl says he will continue to shop at the Real Canadian Superstore because it’s close and convenient.

When asked if he plans to buy meat from the deli counter again he simply said, “Yeah, why not?”

Could this be the most Canadian food safety story?

Delta passenger who found dog feces on his seat claims he was given two paper towels and told to clean it up himself

Delta, the airline, sucks.

That’s my experience.

Others too.

Last Thursday, a passenger onboard a Delta Airlines flight from Atlanta to Miami stepped in poop while boarding the aircraft.

Stacey Leasca of Travel and Leisure reports that according to the passenger, when he brought the feces to the crew’s attention he was reportedly handed two paper towels and told to clean it up himself.

Delta Airlines confirmed to Business Insider that passengers did indeed begin boarding the aircraft before cleaning crews were done servicing the plane. The airline also noted that during the previous flight “an ill service animal” had an incident.

“It was feces, and it was everywhere. It was on my seat. It was on the floor. My feet were in it,” passenger Matthew Meehan told WSB-TV 2 Atlanta. He explained that he stepped in fecal matter and his fellow passengers refused to sit in their seats until it was cleaned up.

But, when he asked flight attendants for supplies he was handed “two paper towels and one of those little bottles of Bombay Sapphire.” And the Delta manager wasn’t much of a help either.

“She said to me, ‘Well, that’s not my problem.’ I said, ‘I’m sorry?’ She says, ‘Well, if the cleaning crew didn’t clean your seat, I don’t have any control over that,'” Meehan explained.

In the statement, Delta additionally apologized and offered a refund and compensation to customers affected by the flight.

And now for the meaningless boilerplate quote attributed to some bureaucrat or PR flunky:“The safety and health of our customers and employees is our top priority, and we are conducting a full investigation while following up with the right teams to prevent this from happening again,” Delta Said. Upon landing, the plane was also taken out of service and has since been disinfected.

I just wanna dance like Pete and forget all this food safety BS

Paul Davenport of the Star Tribune reports a man was arrested and accused of food tampering after he allegedly poured liquids into a freezer case at a Target store, authorities said Wednesday.

Police said David Clare Lohr Jr., 48, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of adding a harmful substance to food and that investigators believed he was involved in previous potential tampering incidents at five other Target stores in Phoenix and three suburbs.

Gotta go when ya gotta go: Pissed-off employee pissed on 50K pounds of food

I take drugs to help my kidneys, and they work great: so great that I’m often peeing at the toilet or the backyard.

Smithfield Foods has reportedly disposed of 50,000 pounds of product after an employee allegedly relieved himself while working on the production line.

The company says the male employee has since been suspended pending an investigation.

Surveillance video on the incident, which happened over the weekend, was posted online by dwavy.com. The worker, who is dressed in a hair cap, face mask, white jacket and gloves, can be seen moving product along the conveyer belt. He then pauses to take off his gloves, appears to unzip his pants and leans forward as he seemingly relieves himself. He then puts his gloves back on and returns to work a few seconds later.

The company released a statement on the matter, saying they are investigating the “isolated incident” at the processing facility in Smithfield, Virginia.

More than you ever wanted to know about my colon

I just had my first solid poop in three days.

After consuming the 210 grams of Glycoprep-C dissolved in 3 litres of water, I can confidently say the stuff works.

It felt like there was a powerwash hose at the top of my colon and every five minutes for about six hours, it turned on and emptied out my ass.

The other thing at the top of my colon was a 3 cm polyp which was removed and sent off for diagnostics (right, that’s not my ass; and it’s called barfblog.com for a reason).

Doc said it would have turned cancerous, if it hasn’t already.

At least my prostate is fine.

We have great medical care in Australia.

I should have been dead years ago.

Much thanks to Amy for being in my messed up life.

It’s not the colonoscopy diet: People say Burger King’s new black slushie turned their poop weird colors

Tomorrow morning, a doctor is going to stick a camera up my ass.

I’ve been on the pre-colonoscopy diet for three days now, and today is the broken-jaw version I had when I was 18, but worse.

No protein. No fruits or veg.

Just clear liquids. I have a bunch of chicken stock I made last night.

I live in sub-tropical Brisbane which has a fabulous supply of produce and proteins, and I’m eating Jello.

Later today I have to take some colon blow stuff which involves being on the toilet for about 4 hours.

But at least my poop won’t be black.

Dustin Nelson of Thrillist writes that coal-black slushies are one of Burger King’s Halloween specials this year. It’s a Frozen Fanta Scary Black Cherry, and it’s seriously dark. The drink has attracted an unexpected amount of attention not for its flavor, but for, uh, the impact of its dark hue. In fact, people have been heading to Burger King just to get a good look at the, umm, effects. 

Maybe people couldn’t resist the intestinal challenge of an artificially black treat or maybe they remember the unique results of eating that black-bunned Whopper a couple years back. Either way, people are grabbing the cherry treat and reporting on social media that it turns your mouth intensely black. Oh, and it also turns your poop a fun color. Though, no one really agrees on a single color. People have said their results have been black, green, and even blue. Whatever the individual result, it’s not on your usual spectrum of poop colors.

Asked for comment, a Burger King representative said, “For those who want to know, try it and find out.”

My female doctor also had a great suggestion for checking my prostrate, cause I’m of that age too.

She said she could do it while I was passed out for the colonoscopy.

Sign me up.

Another good Brantford boy, Phil Hartman, who was tragically killed by his third wife, is featured below.

All around food safety cool dude Michael (don’t call me Mike) Roberson wins an award

Back when I used to make food safety infosheets I’d get these emails from a guy at Publix.  As a Canadian grad student I only knew Publix as a grocery store in Florida where my parents got beer when we drove south for 22 hours to escape the snow.

I now know it as a really progressive retail store when it comes to food safety (and other stuff). 

Those emails came from Michael Roberson and he shared that he was using the sheets, and the stories within to share food safety messages with store and processing plant staff.

And he’s now an award winning food safety guy – he won the 2018 SQFI Distinguished Service Award.

“Michael continues to influence advancements in food safety through his commitment to the supply chain,” noted Robert Garfield, chief food safety assessment officer and SVP of SQFI. “He is a stalwart champion for the profession and upholds standards for the safest, highest-quality products that consumers deserve and enjoy.”

Agreed, cool stuff Michael. Congrats.