Violating food: washing greens and throwing croutons

Who throws croutons?

Amy got so mad at me she threw a bag of croutons from the kitchen into the living room.

Sorenne was asleep, I was upstairs, but somewhat curious to find my bag of homemade, delicious croutons under the couch in the morning.

The outburst had more to do with the crims next door (10 feet next door) who get raided by the tactical unit every two months (armored vehicles and cops in Ninja suits) and run a diesel generator to power whatever it is they need to power because their electricity was cut off 2 months ago.

But the croutons were innocent bystanders, out because I was about to make a Caesar salad with Romaine or cos lettuce, a huge head for $0.99 (it’s spring in Brisbane).

Lettuce has done far more harm to people than croutons, but it wasn’t handy.

The question of whether to re-wash pre-washed leafy greens comes up continually.

I like the head, and wash the leaves thoroughly. Amy prefers the mix. But did the stuff out for sale at the shops come from bags of prewashed stuff? And does washing do much?

A review paper published in Food Protection Trends, in 2007 contained guidelines developed by a panel of food safety types and concluded:

“… leafy green salad in sealed bags labeled ‘washed’ or ‘ready-to-eat’ that are produced in a facility inspected by a regulatory authority and operated under cGMPs, does not need additional washing at the time of use unless specifically directed on the label.”

The panel also advised that additional washing of ready-to-eat green salads is not likely to enhance safety.

“The risk of cross contamination from food handlers and food contact surfaces used during washing may outweigh any safety benefit that further washing may confer.”

But what if it’s not labeled?

I asked the manager of one of the shops a while ago, should I be washing this stuff in the bins or did it arrive pre-washed.

He said, my wife washes everything whether it says pre-washed or not.

I said I do the cooking.

And then I said a lot of science types say not to rewash pre-washed greens.

He scoffed.

Consumers are not expected to wash greens at salad bars (that could be messy), so why would they be expected to wash greens, sold like at a salad bar, and in the absence of any labeling?

A table of leafy green related outbreak is available at

Keep the croutons out of it.

It’s not a lubricant: manhunt following 42 kilo mayo heist

 Who steals mayonnaise?

Who steals 42 kilos of mayo like it’s liquid cocaine.

Police were today conducting a manhunt for thieves who made off with 42kg of mayonnaise from a business in South Australia.

Two 21kg tubs of the condiment went missing from a refrigerated warehouse in Whyalla, about 382km north of Adelaide on Saturday.

Police said they were puzzled over why anyone would want to steal 42kg of mayonnaise.

They urged anyone who heard of people making large quantities of coleslaw or potato salad to notify authorities. 

It was the hemp seed flour from the Dutch; dietary supplement sickens 15 with Salmonella Montevideo in Germany, 2010

"There are only two things I can’t stand in this world. People who are intolerant of other people’s cultures and the Dutch."

Michael Caine in Austin Powers, Goldmember

The freaky dekey Dutch got some salmonella in their groovy hemp seed flour and it made a bunch of Germans sick.

In March 2010 the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) was used to inform about Salmonella Montevideo in a herbal food supplement, formulated in capsules, distributed under a Dutch label in Germany.

Simultaneous to the first RASFF notice, in the last two weeks of March 2010 an unusual number of 15 infections with S. Montevideo was notified within the electronic reporting system for infectious diseases at the Robert Koch Institute. Adult women (median age: 43, range: 1–90 years) were mainly affected.

An outbreak was suspected and the food supplement hypothesised to be its vehicle. Cases were notified from six federal states throughout Germany, which required efficient coordination of information and activities. A case–control study (n=55) among adult women showed an association between consumption of the specific food supplement and the disease (odds ratio (OR): 27.5, 95% confidence interval (CI): 3.1–infinity, p-value=0.002). Restricting the case–control study to the period when the outbreak peaked (between 29 March and 11 April 2010) resulted in an OR of 43.5 (95% CI: 4.8–infinity, p-value=0.001).

Trace-back of the supplement’s main ingredient, hemp seed flour, and subsequent microbiological testing by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis supported its likely role in transmission. This outbreak investigation illustrates that information from RASFF may aid in hypothesis generation in outbreak investigations, though likely late in the outbreak.

The authors note in the discussion that, “while investigations of the food safety authorities were thorough, without delay, and strictly following regulations, it is worth noting that the process from the beginning of the analysis of the first positive sample from an opened package to the recall took more than five weeks. In potential outbreak situations, strength of evidence for a suspected food product ought to be weighed against the potential harm to the consumers posed by the suspected food.

"Interestingly, in the end there was no international aspect to this outbreak (as the Dutch label on the product did not correspond to sales in the Netherlands). … In Germany, unfortunately, currently there is no general requirement to communicate non-international food contamination events to the public health authorities."

Who throws a shoe? Who smuggles cheese? Two arrests made in contaminated food case

Who throws a shoe?

Who tries to smuggle cheese?

In the first Austin Powers movie, largely a spoof on James Bond flicks, the bad guy enforcer throws a shoe in an attempt to decapitate the hero, Austin ‘Danger’ Powers.

Two people from Honduras, were arrested by special agents after previously trying to bring contaminated cheese into the U.S. via Miami.

According to the allegations of the complaint, Francisca Josefina Lopez and Jorge Alexis Ochoa Lopez imported four shipments of cheese from Nicaragua between December 2009 and March 2010, with a declared value of more than $322,000.

According to testing conducted by U.S. Food and Drug Administration”s (FDA) district laboratory in Atlanta, Georgia, three of the four shipments were contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus, and the fourth shipment violated standards applicable to phosphatase, indicating the cheese

According to the complaint, the defendants operated from a company known as The Lacteos Factory, at 1414 Northwest 23rd Street in Miami. All four shipments, totaling in excess of 170,000 pounds, were refused entry into the commerce of the United States, and were subsequently ordered destroyed or re-exported.

On April 1, 2010, Customs & Border Protection (CBP) inspected a cargo container at the Port of Miami, which had been returned to the seaport from Lacteos, with documents to reflect the contents were the first refused shipment, being re-exported. CBP Inspectors discovered that the top layer of cartons on each pallet contained small bricks of cheese, as labeled, but the bulk of the cargo contained in the lower tiers of boxes contained only buckets of waste water. As a result, the majority of the four-hundred eleven cartons of cheese from the entry were missing

Subsequently, a search warrant was executed at the Lacteos Factory, which revealed that the three other shipments of the cheese product had been sold to over thirty customers, despite still being on hold. It was also determined that one customer conducted independent testing of the cheese, found it to be contaminated with S. aureus and returned the product. Despite that, the cheese was repackaged and sold to other customers.

Candy porn: Do these images make you randy?

Simon Simpkins, a Pontefract, West Yorkshire, U.K. father of two, says he was buying Haribo MAOAM sour candies for his children when he noticed the ‘pornographic’ illustrations of limes, lemons and cherries romping with each other.

‘The lemon and lime are locked in what appears to be a carnal encounter.

‘The lime, whom I assume to be the gentleman in this coupling, has a particularly lurid expression on his face.’

A spokesman for Haribo said the ‘fun’ packaging of the sweets was introduced in Germany 2002 and added: ‘This jovial MAOAM man is very popular with fans, both young and old.’