Food Safety Talk episode 48: Ninja moves to rock and roll

Food Safety Talk, a bi-weekly podcast for food safety nerds, by food safety nerds.  The podcast is hosted by Ben Chapman and barfblog contributor Don Schaffner, Extension Specialist in Food Science and Professor at Rutgers University.  Every two weeks or so, Ben and Don get together virtually and talk for about an hour.  They talk about what’s on their minds or in the news regarding food safety, and popular culture. They strive to be relevant, funny and informative — sometimes they succeed. You can download the audio recordings right from the website, or subscribe using iTunes.FoodSafetyTalk

Show notes for episode 48:

The guys started the show with some general chit chat about The Beer Store and The Nail Shop, the Beach Boys, including “Pet Sounds“, Chuck Berry, Bed Bad Baaaaaaatz, Don’s Etymotic hf5 earphones, Twitter, (including this discussion), and Barbara M. O’Neill‘s great work.

Prompted by a link from Alejandro Amezquita the guys then turned their attention to laundry and in the process gave the phrase “Eat My Shorts!”meaning. In the article, Lisa Ackerley discussed the hygiene of laundering. The guys recalled a couple of research articles by Chuck Gerba related to the topic (here and here). Neither Don nor Ben were particularly worried about this.

This reminded Ben of The Salt article on cooking food in the dishwasher. The guys discussed the potential risk of this approach and the sciences that is needed. Another [The Salt article on washing poultry had also resulted in a large amount of social media engagement, which is something the Don and Ben are always keen to explore. And both enjoyed Alton Brown’s proper method for washing out the inside of a whole poultry.

The guys then moved onto the bug trivia replacement segment called Food Safety History, in honour of a 100 years of the IAFP Journal of Food Protection. In this episode the Don covered the pre 1940 era. It all started with the Journal of Milk Technology and the connection with raw milk reminded Ben of this Toronto Star article.

Don then wanted to talk about this NY Times article, related to Salmonella in spices, and the related Food Microbiology article. Don posed Ben the questions that he was asked for a Q&A based Rutgers media release on this topic and the guys compared their answers.

The guys then got fired up about the Cronut Burger related outbreak article by Jason Tetro. Ben didn’t quite agree with some of Jason’s assumptions, so Ben queried the manufacturers about the parameters of the product, which Le Dolci didn’t know. Ben eventually found the answer from Toronto Public Health, and was able to set the record straight

To finish off, Don mentioned The New Disruptors podcast, which featured Marisa McClellan in Episode 38 “Yes, we can!”talk about food preservation. Don was pleasantly surprised by her knowledge, including of the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

In the after dark the guys continued with canning, including Canvolution, Canning Across America and pink flamingos for their 50th episode.

Bye-bye bites-l, hello dailybarf

The barfblog.com brain trust decided a few months ago to get rid of bites-l and centralize around barfblog.com.
American Independence Day seems apt, so welcome to dailybarf-O-Brother-Where-Art-Thoul.

Although it probably won’t be daily; the brain trust will figure it out as it goes.

Any immediate stuff will be on barfblog.com, twitter and facebook. When there’s enough stuff, a dailybarf will be distributed, along with additional items that were not blogged – dailybarf is like the daily digest with bonus tracks.

For those of you who signed-on-or-off for bites-l in the past month, sorry, you’ll probably have to do it again.

To sign up, go to barfblog.com and enter your e-mail in the receive newsletter box visible after scrolling down on the right side.

To unsubscribe, click the button at the bottom of dailybarf.

o.brother.hitchhike

Food safety expert warns of ‘nasty bug’ in beef recall

Ex-pat food safety type Ben Chapman, described as currently professoring at North Carolina State University, was brought in by Canadian media today to add his perspective on the creepy crawly E. coli O157:H7 recall that now includes 135 different products.

“(It’s) really a nasty bug. As a father of two little boys, it’s one of the bugs that scares me the most.”

Chapman added that the growing nature of the beef recall shows that authorities "just weren’t able to find out what the history of the (originally suspect) product was, so they’ve essentially recalled everything that producer has put out."

Garfield Balsom, a food safety and recall specialist at the Canadian Food Inspection Agenc, clarified the expanded recall of frozen burgers and steakettes all came from a Saskatoon food-processing plant operating under the name New Food Classics that has since stopped operations.

Chapman recommended using a thermometer to ensure hamburger has reached an internal temperature of 71C , noting that the inside color of meat is not a reliable indicator of how well cooked it is.

Norm Neault, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers union local representing New Food Classics workers in Saskatoon, said the company had been struggling for some time and had gone into creditor protection in January. He said it was facing higher prices from its distributors for the raw products yet locked into long-term prices with its customers, resulting in lower profit margins.

The complete list of recalled products can be found online at: www.inspection.gc.ca/english/corpaffr/recarapp/2012/20120319cliste.shtml

Food safety improvements in Dubai; UAE is more than Sex and the City II

I didn’t know Chapman knew Arabic.

But there he was, goofy pic and all (right, exactly as shown, any of them), in the Daily Bite at the Dubai food safety conference, saying something about how wonderful it all was.

In real news, Dubai is joining PulseNet International, which monitors foodborne bacteria through their DNA fingerprints.

Dr Peter Gerner-Smidt, a speaker at the conference and a member of the PulseNet International Steering Committee said the network offers real time surveillance resulting in early detection and warnings.

“If you routinely use PulseNet to detect outbreaks then you will detect many more outbreaks and you will also be able to solve them to derive what the causes are and using that information you can make food much safer,” he told Khaleej Times. “In Dubai, you import most of your foods. So I would think that a lot of the problems you are going to detect here will be present in other places in the world. So they will need to work with the PulseNet Middle East and Pulse Net International to make the investigation ?international.

Bobby ”Bobby” Krishna (pretty much as shown, left) Dubai’s Senior Food Studies and Surveys Officer said Dubai Municipality would be working in association with its counterpart in Abu Dhabi and the health authorities in both the emirates for becoming active partners in the network.

Kannangot Pallikkal Yousuf did not have a 12th grade pass certificate when he arrived in Dubai 13 years ago.

He found a job as a delivery boy with a supermarket under the Talal Group. In seven years, he climbed the ranks to become salesman, cashier and then to a hygiene supervisor. After six years’ of experience in that post, Yousuf has now earned a special recognition for his knowledge in food safety and hygiene matters, thanks to the Dubai Municipality’s Person-in-Charge (PIC) programme that mandates a food safety manager in every food outlet in Dubai.

Yousuf is now a PIC, supervising the hygiene and food safety matters in the Talal Supermarket in Deira YB Road.

The story of this 31-year-old Indian expatriate from Kerala is a classic example of how the municipality’s Food Control Department is revolutionising food safety in Dubai eateries by ensuring trained and certified personnel as food safety managers in each food outlet.

And there’s Chapman again PICs, restaurant and hotel managers and chefs will attend a workshop Thursday to enhance their skills in managing food facilities so that employees are trained on processes with validated hazard control. The workshop titled “Person in Charge-Plan and Control of Food safety in Retail Food Operations” is being organized as a post-event session of the 7th Dubai International Food Safety Conference that concluded on Wednesday.

Dr. O Peter Snyder, founder and president of Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management in Minnesota and Dr. Ben Chapman, an assistant professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University will conduct the workshop at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

And while I left before the closing day of the 7th Dubai International Food Safety conference, which apparently hosted a “cream of experts in the field of food safety,” because I had already been there for 12 days, which was the longest I’d been away from wife and child – ever. Chapman and I hung out by the pool and e-mailed each other about future research, but on my last night, the wind was so strong it impacted the wireless and we returned to our respective rooms. See you in a few more years. Attendance is not a criteria for teaching, research or extension. Performance is.

Happy birthday, Pete.

Hello, you want to do what with that food?

How to handle, store and prepare food were the most common questions Canadians had for a national food safety hotline according to new research.

But those results mask the more detailed questions callers often had about how food was produced.

The results, published in the current issue of Food Protection Trends, detail 3,764 telephone inquiries from January 2003 through December 2005 to a national food safety hotline that was established at the University of Guelph. Other prevalent themes were specific products and brands, food preservation, non-food safety topics and emerging issues.

“The call center was a unique contribution to Canadian food safety at the time,” said Dr. Douglas Powell, a professor of food safety at Kansas State University. “But information needs are continually evolving, which is why we publish daily food safety information in the form of an electronic mailing list (bites-l), a blog (barfblog.com) and twitter.

The other authors, Ben Chapman and Sarah Wilson, are both adjunct professors at Kansas State, and the three continue to collaborate on new food safety messages and delivery media.

By collecting data on information needs, an information service whether it’s a call center or social media — can serve as a research tool, revealing information gaps and opportunities to develop or improve resources.The citation is below, as is the original FSN gang (Food Safety Network, circa 2002).

Understanding food safety information needs: using a national information service as a research tool
07.jul.11
Food Protection Trends, Vol. 31, No. 7, Pages 437–445
Sarah Wilson, Benjamin Chapman and Douglas Powell
ABSTRACT
In December 2002, a public information service was launched as a component of the Food Safety Network (FSN) at the University of Guelph. Its core activity was a national toll-free call center through which the Canadian public had direct access to food safety professionals. The call center received 3,764 inquiries from January 2003 through December 2005. Data were collected on call characteristics (day, time and call duration), caller demographics and themes of the inquiries. Analysis determined that inquiries came primarily from individuals identified as consumers and were largely focused on the themes of food storage, handling and preparation. Other prevalent themes were specific products and brands, food preservation, non-food safety topics and emerging issues. Callers obtained the call center’s contact information from a variety of sources, including government, the media, and referrals by food and health professionals. Food safety questions posed by callers varied widely in terms of the topic of concern and the degree of complexity. By collecting data on client information needs, an information service can serve as a research tool, revealing information gaps and opportunities to develop or improve resources. This project provides a blueprint for other organizations seeking to engage the public through an information service.

bites, barfblog and food safety

bites.ksu.edu and barfblog.com are complimentary and comprehensive resources for those interested in microbial food safety – the things that make people barf.

Too many people get sick each year from the food and water they consume. bites and barfblog are designed to inform and engage people in dialogue about food-related risks, controls and benefits, from farm-to-fork.

For rapid, relevant and reliable food safety news, subscribe to barfblog.com and follow us on twitter; for a daily, or twice-daily summary, including barfblog.com posts, subscribe to bites-l at bites.ksu.edu.

Dr. Doug Powell of Kansas State University, and associates, provide credible, current, evidence-based information on food safety and make it available through multiple media. Sources of food safety information include government regulatory agencies, international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), peer-reviewed scientific publications, recognized experts in the field and other sources as appropriate.

barblog.com
barfblog.com is where Drs. Powell, Chapman, Hubbell and assorted food safety friends offer evidence-based opinions on current food safety issues. Opinions must be evidence-based — with references — reliable and relevant. The barfblog authors edit each other, often viciously.

Twitter and Facebook
Breaking food safety news items that eventually appear in bites or barfblog are often posted on Twitter and Facebook for faster public notification.

Infosheets
Food safety infosheets are designed to influence food handler practices by utilizing four attributes culled from education, behavioral science and communication literature:
• surprising and compelling messages;
• putting actions and their consequence in context;
• generating discussion within the target audiences’ environments; and
• using verbal narrative, or storytelling, as a message delivery device.

Food safety infosheets are based on stories about outbreaks of foodborne illness sourced from bites and barfblog and include the following: discussion of a foodborne illness outbreak; discussion of background knowledge of a pathogen (including symptoms, etiology and transmission); food handler control practices; and emerging food safety issues. Food safety infosheets also contain evidence-based prescriptive information to prevent or mitigate foodborne illness related to food handling.

bites-l listserv
The bites.ksu.edu listserv is a web-based mailing list that provides information about current and emerging food safety issues, gathered from journalistic and scientific sources around the world and condensed into short items or stories that make up the daily postings. The listserv has been issued continuously since 1993 and is distributed daily via e-mail to thousands of individuals worldwide in academia, industry, government, the farm community, journalists and the public at large.

The listserv is designed to:
• convey timely and current information for direction of research, diagnostic or investigative activities;
• identify food risk trends and issues for risk management and communication activities; and
• promote awareness of public concerns in scientific and regulatory circles.

The bites listserv functions as a food safety news aggregator, summarizing available information that can be can be useful for risk managers in proactively anticipating trends and reactively address issues. The bites editor, Dr. Powell, does not say whether a story is right or wrong or somewhere in between, but rather that a story is available today for public discussion; barfblog is where contributors express their evidence-based opinions on food safety issues.

Research
Researchers associated with bites and barfblog conduct an array of food safety research, including:
• effectiveness of food safety messages and media in public discussions of food safety issues, such as the risks of listeria to pregnant women, legislation related to raw milk, public availability of restaurant inspection data, and the safety of fresh produce, are evaluated through qualitative and quantitative methods;
• observational research methodologies are used to quantify individual food safety behaviors from farm-to-fork, to enhance handwashing compliance, thermometer use, food packaging information and interventions that can reduce the number of people that get sick from the food and water they consume; and,
• evaluation of food safety policy and alternatives.

Teaching
• A graduate program in food safety risk analysis – including food safety, language, culture and policy — is being developed and will include distance-education.
• Courses are currently taught in food safety risk analysis, and food safety reporting.

Information
• Dr. Powell is the publisher and editor of bites and barfblog. Dr. Ben Chapman of North Carolina State University is the assistant editor.
• bites and barfblog are produced by a diverse team of secondary, undergraduate and graduate students as well as professionals who create multilingual and multicultural food safety and security information, including weekly food safety information sheets, and multimedia resources.
• Research, educational and journalistic opportunities are available for secondary, undergraduate and graduate students through bites.ksu.edu and barfblog.com.

Dr. Powell, a professor of food safety at Kansas State University, is the author of 42 peer-reviewed journal articles, 10 peer-reviewed book chapters and 1 peer-reviewed book. His cv is available at http://bites.ksu.edu/powell_cv.

Links
bites and barfblog may include links to other sites, which are provided as a convenience and as an additional access to the information contained therein. bites and barfblog are not responsible for the content of any other sites or any products or services that may be offered through other sites.

Accuracy, Completeness and Timeliness of Information on the Site
The bites and barfblog folks strive to provide accurate, complete and current information. The materials on this site are provided for general information only, and any reliance upon the material found on this site will be at your own risk. We reserve the right to modify the contents of the site at any time.

For more information, please contact us.
 

Study looks at enhancing food safety culture to reduce foodborne illness

If providing safe food is a priority, why do large outbreaks of foodborne illness keep happening? Incidents like 2010’s salmonella-in-eggs outbreak sickened more than 1,900 across the U.S. and led to the recall of 500 million eggs.

A new study by a Kansas State University professor and colleagues finds how the culture of food safety is practiced within an organization can be a significant risk factor in foodborne illness.

Doug Powell, associate professor of food safety at K-State, said how businesses and organizations operate above and beyond minimal food safety regulations and inspections, or their food safety culture, is often overlooked.

"You’d think making customers sick is bad for business, yet some firms go out of their way to ignore food safety," Powell said. "Some places are motivated by money and efficiencies. The amount of regulation, inspection and audits just doesn’t seem to matter. And those ‘Employees Must Wash Hands’ signs don’t really work."

Powell, along with Casey Jacob, a former K-State research assistant, and Ben Chapman, an assistant professor at North Carolina State University, examined three food safety failures: an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in Wales in 2005 that sickened 157 and killed one; a listeria outbreak in Canada in 2008 that sickened 57 and killed 23; and a salmonella outbreak in the U.S. in 2009 linked to peanut paste that killed nine and sickened 691.

Their study "Enhancing Food Safety Culture to Reduce Rates of Foodborne Illness" is being published by the journal Food Control and is available in advance online at http://bit.ly/hDh9EE.

"Creating a culture of food safety requires application of the best science with the best management and communication systems," Chapman said. "Operators should know the risks associated with their products, how to manage them, and most important, how to communicate with and compel their staff to employ good practices — it’s a package deal."

According to the researchers, individuals focusing on food safety risks within an organization with a good food safety culture do the following:

* know the risks associated with the foods they handle and how those should be managed;

* dedicate resources to evaluate supplier practices;

* stay up-to-date on emerging food safety issues;

* foster a value system within the organization that focuses on avoiding illnesses;

* communicate compelling and relevant messages about risk reduction activities, and empower others to put them into practice;

* promote effective food safety systems before an incident occurs; and,

• don’t blame customers, including commercial buyers and consumers, when illnesses are linked to their products.

Source: Doug Powell, 785-317-0560, dpowell@k-state.edu

Enhancing food safety culture to reduce rates of foodborne illness

Snappy title, eh? But not bad for a peer-reviewed journal article in Food Control that was published on-line today ahead of print publication.

Almost two decades ago, E. coli O157:H7 killed four and sickened hundreds who ate hamburgers at the Jack-in-the-Box fast-food chain in the U.S. and propelled microbial food safety to the forefront of the public agenda. However, it remains a challenge to compel food producers, processors, distributors, retailers, foodservice outlets and home meal preparers to adopt scientifically validated safe food handling behaviors, especially in the absence of an outbreak.

Readers of barfblog.com will be familiar with the details surrounding the three case studies of failures in food safety culture documented in the paper: E. coli O157:H7 linked to John Tudor & Son in Wales in 2005; listeria linked to cold-cuts produced by Maple Leaf Foods of Canada in 2008; and salmonella linked to Peanut Corporation of America in 2009.

But anyone can be a critic, so we offer suggestions to enhance food safety culture, such as food safety storytelling through infosheets (Chapman, et al., 2010). And we end with my usual plea to actively promote food safety efforts, coupling a strong food safety culture with marketing to the world.

We conclude:

Creating a culture of food safety requires application of the best science with the best management and communication systems. It requires commitment by an organization’s leaders, middle managers and food handlers. It also must be supported and demonstrated by sharing information within the organization and with customers. The food safety failures of John Tudor & Sons, Maple Leaf Foods, Inc. and PCA are illustrative of an emerging recognition that the culture of food safety within an organization is a significant risk factor in foodborne illness (Griffith et al., 2010a; Yiannis, 2009).

Individuals focusing on food safety risks within an organization with a good food safety culture:

• know the risks associated with the foods they handle and how those should be managed;
• dedicate resources to evaluating supplier practices;
• stay up-to-date on emerging food safety issues;
• foster a value system within the organization that focuses on avoiding illnesses;
• communicate compelling and relevant messages regarding risk reduction activities and empower others to put them into practice;
• promote effective food safety systems before an incident occurs; and,
• do not blame customers (including commercial buyers and end consumers) when illnesses are linked to their products.

The best food producers, processors, retailers and restaurants should go above and beyond minimal government and auditor standards and sell food safety solutions directly to the public. The best organizations will use their own people to demand ingredients from the best suppliers; use a mixture of encouragement and enforcement to foster a food safety culture; and use technology to be transparent – whether it’s live webcams in the facility or real-time test results on the website – to help restore the shattered trust with the buying public.

I’ll add more as the paper becomes available, and if Chapman has anything witty to add (that takes time).

Enhancing food safety culture to reduce rates of foodborne illness

Douglas A. Powella, Casey J. Jacoba and Benjamin J. Chapmanb,
a Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA
b Department of 4-H Youth Development and Family and Consumer Sciences North Carolina State University, Campus Box 7606, Raleigh, NC 27695-7606, USA
Received 2 August 2010;
revised 29 November 2010;
accepted 7 December 2010.
Available online 24 December 2010.

Abstract
A culture of food safety is built on a set of shared values that operators and their staff follow to produce and provide food in the safest manner. Maintaining a food safety culture means that operators and staff know the risks associated with the products or meals they produce, know why managing the risks is important, and effectively manage those risks in a demonstrable way. In an organization with a good food safety culture, individuals are expected to enact practices that represent the shared value system and point out where others may fail. By using a variety of tools, consequences and incentives, businesses can demonstrate to their staff and customers that they are aware of current food safety issues, that they can learn from others’ mistakes, and that food safety is important within the organization. The three case studies presented in this paper demonstrate that creating a culture of food safety requires application of the best science with the best management and communication systems, including compelling, rapid, relevant, reliable and repeated food safety messages using multiple media.

Keywords: behavior change; foodborne illness; marketing; organizational culture; risk communication
 

barfblog, bites and food safety

There’s no shortage of food safety press releases, repeated and regurgitated using funky new media tools; there is a shortage of evidence-based, incisive approaches that challenge food safety norms and may eventually lead to fewer sick people.

barfblog.com is the fastest way to stay current on food safety issues. Powell, Chapman and assorted food safety friends offer evidence-based opinions on current food safety issues. Opinions must be reliable – with references — rapid and relevant.

Anyone can subscribe directly to barfblog.com and receive an e-mail immediately when something new is posted. Go to barfblog.com and click on the ‘subscribe’ button on the right side of the page.

Food safety infosheets are designed to influence food handler practices by utilizing four attributes culled from education, behavioral science and communication literature:
• surprising and compelling messages;
• putting actions and their consequence in context;
• generating discussion within the target audiences’ environments; and
• using verbal narrative, or storytelling, as a message delivery device.

Food safety infosheets are based on stories about outbreaks of foodborne illness. Four criteria are used to select the story: discussion of a foodborne illness outbreak; discussion of background knowledge of a pathogen (including symptoms, etiology and transmission); food handler control practices; and emerging food safety issues. Food safety infosheets also contain evidence-based prescriptive information to prevent or mitigate foodborne illness related to food handling. They are available in several languages.

The bites.ksu.edu listserv is a free web-based mailing list where information about current and emerging food safety issues is provided, gathered from journalistic and scientific sources around the world and condensed into short items or stories that make up the daily postings. The listserv has been issued continuously since 1994 and is distributed daily via e-mail to thousands of individuals worldwide from academia, industry, government, the farm community, journalists and the public at large.

The listserv is designed to:
• convey timely and current information for direction of research, diagnostic or investigative activities;
• identify food risk trends and issues for risk management and communication activities; and
• promote awareness of public concerns in scientific and regulatory circles.

The bites listserv functions as a food safety news aggregator, summarizing available information that can be can be useful for risk managers in proactively anticipating trends and reactively address issues. The bites editor (me – dp) does not say whether a story is right or wrong or somewhere in between, but rather that a specific story is available today for public discussion.

If you only want to receive specific news, use RSS feeds.

RSS (Rich Site Summary, or Really Simple Syndication) is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. Many news-related sites, weblogs and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to whoever wants it.

If you only want stories about food safety policy, or norovirus, go to bites.ksu.edu and click on that section. Then click on the RSS symbol, and add to your reader. barfblog.com is also available as a RSS feed.

Breaking food safety news items that eventually appear in bites-l or barfblog.com are often posted on Twitter (under barfblog or benjaminchapman) for faster public notification.

These are the various information products we deliver daily, in addition to research, training and outreach. Sponsorship opportunities are available for bites.ksu.edu, barfblog.com, and the bites-l listserv.

Any money is used to support the on-going expenses of the news-gathering and distribution activities, and to develop the next generation of high school, undergraduate and graduate students who will integrate science and communication skills to deliver compelling food safety messages using a variety of media. Research, training and outreach are all connected in our food safety world.

Restaurant inspection disclosure sucks in Maryland

Foodies wanting to know how clean their favorite restaurant is must file public records requests in Wicomico County.

For several years, the health department has sought to change that by posting details of restaurant inspections online. But budget cuts, combined with opposition from restaurant owners, have made that an elusive goal, said Stuart White, supervisor of community health in the environmental health division.

"I think it would promote better practices. You’d want a better grade if it would be posted," White said.

A growing number of health departments across the U.S. are initiating programs aimed at improving the transparency of restaurant inspections, said Robert Pestronk, executive director of the National Association of County and City Health Officials. He said many health departments are putting information online, and others are placing scores — in the form of letter grades, numerical scores or color-coded decals — in plain sight at restaurants.

"It really makes the public part of the inspection work force," he said.

A study in June’s Journal of Food Protection suggests cross-contamination violations — which can lead to illnesses — may be more widespread than previously thought, and they may occur more frequently during peak hours.

Researchers from North Carolina State University used video cameras to monitor 47 food handlers at eight volunteering kitchens and found that the workers committed an average of one cross-contamination violation an hour.

"It really changes how we think about training," said Ben Chapman, the lead author of the study and assistant professor and food safety specialist in the Department of 4-H Youth Development and Family & Consumer Sciences at NCSU. Researchers from Kansas State University and the University of Guelph in Ontario co-wrote the study.