Everyone’s got a camera: Subway employee zapping bugs near exposed food edition

I got one of those tennis-racket-shaped zapper things from Amy, but I sorta broke it, being aggressive like one would with a flexible flyswatter.

A Subway restaurant in Franklin, Indiana is receiving a lot of attention online after an employee allegedly “zapped” bugs in the sandwich-making area, and a customer caught the entire incident on video.

belushi-zit_-food_-fight_Justin Clemons posted the video to Facebook on Monday evening. He said he took his children out for dinner to the Subway located at 2120 East King Street after a golf match.

“So I sit down and start eating and my back is faced to (the employees) and I start hearing all the zapping sounds,” Clemons said. “I couldn’t figure out what it was until my 13 year old said, “I’m pretty sure they are zapping the bugs that are above it.’”

Clemons then turned around and witnessed what his son thought was happening, really was.

“The first reaction was I cannot believe this is actually happening,” he said. “My second one is if I don’t record this I don’t think anyone in their right mind will believe this is happening right now.”

So Clemons turned on his phone and started recording the incident.

“I was pretty much in shock and so were the kids,” Clemons said. ““It was directly over the food itself…  Nothing was closed that I could see and he was just immediately taking the racket right over the food and zapping them.”

A Subway spokesman released a cookie-cutter statement Tuesday night:

Food safety is our top priority. All Subway restaurants are individually owned and operated. As soon as the restaurant owner was made aware of the situation, he immediately took action by closing his restaurant and discarding all open products. He has contracted a professional cleaning service to ensure that the restaurant is in top working order.

Subway also commented on the video Clemons posted to Facebook, apologizing for the incident.

“We truly regret you had this experience Justin, and we are looking into this right now,” the company wrote. “Food safety is our top priority, and we are working with the franchisee to address immediately. If you could send us a Private Facebook message with your contact information, we’d like to reach out to you personally, or if you prefer you can link here http://bit.ly/1XrM5lE for our Care Team. Thank you Justin.”

Killing 99.9 per cent of bad bugs is great advertizing but may be meaningless

Food is 21st century snake oil. In an era of unprecedented affluence, consumers now choose among a cacophony of low fat, enhanced nutrient staples reflecting a range of political statements and perceived lifestyle preferences, far beyond dolphin free tuna.

In fall 2000, I contacted Procter & Gamble to ask for the data substantiating the claim that Fit would eliminate 99.9 per cent of bacteria on fresh produce,

After a bunch of calls to various PR types I got hooked up with some scientists at P&G in Cincinnati, who verbally told me that sample cucumbers, tomatoes and the like were grown on the same farm in California, sprayed with chemicals that would be used in conventional production, and then harvested immediately and washed with Fit or water. The Fit removed 99.9 per cent more, or so the company claimed, because no data was ever forthcoming.??????

One problem. Many of the chemicals used have harvest after dates, such as the one tomato chemical that must be applied at least 20 days before harvest. Residue data on produce in Canadian stores reveals extremely low levels, in the parts per million or billion. So that 99.9% reduction is really buying consumers an extra couple of zeros in the residue quantity, all well below health limits.

The Wall Street Journal picks up on this theme today
, stating that everything from hand-sanitizing liquids to products like computer keyboards, shopping carts and tissues tout that they kill 99.9%, or 99.99%, of common bacteria and fungi.

But some of these numbers look like the test scores in a class with a very generous grading curve. They often don’t include all pesky germs, and are based on laboratory tests that don’t represent the imperfections of real-world use.

Human subjects, or countertops, in labs are cleaned first, then covered on the surface with a target bug. That is a far cry from a typical kitchen or a pair of grimy hands.

"The 99.99% message is more powerful among consumers than ‘antibacterial’ or ‘germ kill’ alone," Maria Lovera, senior brand manager of skin care for Playtex Products Inc., maker of Wet Ones antibacterial wipes, wrote in an email.
In a study soon to be published, University of New Mexico biochemist Laurence Cole found that in two of three brands’ home-pregnancy tests, fewer than two-thirds of pregnancies among women who had missed their periods were detected.

To cite a 99.9% fatality rate, manufacturers don’t have to kill 99.9% of all known bugs. Regulations don’t require them to disclose which bugs they exterminate, just that the products are effective against a representative sample of microbes. For instance, many products can’t kill Clostridium difficile, a gastrointestinal scourge, or the hepatitis A virus, which inflames the liver. Yet by killing other, more common bugs, they can claim 99.9% effectiveness.

Discount for bugs on food

Out-of-work songstress Julie Andrews tried the put-bugs-on-restaurant-food-and-get-a-free-meal move in the movie Victor/Victoria.

In Dubai, it will only get you a 25 per cent discount.

Seven people celebrating a birthday at a Dubai diner received a 25 per cent discount on their bill after they found four insects crawling around their meals.

One of the disgruntled customers said,

"We were surprised when the receipt said ‘bug on food’ as a reason for the discount. I think they were trying to be funny."

An official at the restaurant said,

"… the guys thought being friendly and having a joke about the environment would relax the diners because it was a birthday, but unfortunately it didn’t."

People aren’t as funny as they think they are. Especially me.