KATIE FILLION: Peanut paste potentially poisons pooch

An elderly dog in Atlanta, Georgia has passed on following consumption of Austin-brand peanut butter crackers recalled during the current Salmonella outbreak.

The outbreak, linked to Peanut Corp. of America’s peanut paste and related products, is responsible for at least seven (human) deaths, nearly 500 illnesses (over 100 of which have been hospitalized), and reported illness in pets.

Atlanta Dogs Examiner reports the dog, Ozzie, ate Austin brand peanut butter crackers a few days before their recall was announced.

Like some other pet owners, Bert Kanist of Atlanta gave his dogs human food as treats, and his dog Ozzie loved peanut butter crackers. He ate two packages of them, became ill the next day, and succumbed to the illness within 24 hours.

Now Mr. Kanist reports that he’s getting the run-around from both government agencies and from Kellogg’s, the owner of Austin brands. Because his dog’s body was cremated, a necropsy can’t be performed, but testing for the presence of salmonella is being done on peanut butter crackers from the same case as the one the suspect crackers were from.

Dog treats are included in the recall, and a full list of recalled products is available on the FDA website at: http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/Salmonellatyph.html.

When football and food safety collide

I love it when two of my favorite things, football and food safety, intersect.  Last year it was pigeon poop in stadiums.  This year it’s about changing culture.   USA Today published a profile of 4 new NFL head coaches and one spoke specifically about changing the losing culture of a team.

Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons said:  "When you change the culture, you have to change people’s behaviors. And when you change behaviors, you change their habits."

I think this philosophy should be the same in fields, packing sheds, processing facilities, retail stores and kitchens:  Leadership that values food safety should have a goal of changing the culture of an organization, resulting in behavior and habit changes on on the front-lines.  And the organization doesn’t have to be complicated or large, it could be an independent restaurant with 4 staff members or a church dinner committee with 20 volunteers.

Places I want to eat at or buy food from should be able to say that handling and producing food safely is what we do.  Just like Smith wants his team to have a shared belief that winning is what they do.