You burnt the bird? A number of reasons to be thankful!

Michéle Samarya-Timm, a Health Educator for the Franklin Township Health Department in New Jersey, writes,  Thanksgiving, and its hours of food prep, certainly creates a reason to appreciate sound food safety advice.  After all, 3 hours seated at the dinner table should never be followed by 3 days seated on a porcelain throne. 

Over the past few days, I’ve seen lots of advice to ensure a perfectly cooked (and foodsafe) thanksgiving turkey, but what if you’ve applied the cooking process a little too thoroughly?   

Amending a list I found several years ago, here’s an updated version of Reasons to Be Thankful for Burning the Bird:

1.    The useless pop-up timer was rendered useless.
2.    Your tip sensitive digital thermometer will read at least 165F.
3.    Salmonella won’t be a concern.
4.    Another valid reason for cooking stuffing outside the bird.
5.    No one will overeat.
6.    Post dinner sleepiness won’t be due to the tryptophan in turkey.
7.    Uninvited guests will think twice next year.
8.    Pets won’t pester you for scraps.
9.    The smoke alarm was due for a test.
10.    Ash residue is a great motivation for handwashing.
11.    Carving the bird will provide a good cardiovascular workout.
12.    After dinner, the guys can take the bird to the yard and play football.
13.    The less turkey Uncle George eats, the less likely he will be to walk around with his pants unbuttoned.
14.    You’ll get to the desserts quicker.
15.    No arguments about throwing out turkey leftovers.
16.    Next year you’ll pay closer attention to Doug Powell’s Canadian Thanksgiving food prep video.

Enjoy your holidays.  And wash your hands!

Don’t serve poop – it’s on candid camera

While awaiting DNA test results on the poop in the Australian ice cream, Sydney’s Coogee Bay Hotel has announced it will install six new security cameras, with the food preparation area to be under constant surveillance.

It has also invited NSW health authorities to do monthly inspections of the kitchen, and customers will be able to have their say about the hotel via its website, to be launched soon.

Why burn poop on a doorstep when you can cook it in a 7-Eleven microwave

Three high school students who thought they were being funny by sticking a bag of poop in a Sandy, Utah 7-Eleven microwave and cooking it for 10 minutes have been arrested.

Earlier this week, police released surveillance video of three teens who walked into the convenience store near 2200 East and 9400 South, took out a one-gallon plastic bag with human feces inside and put it into the microwave while the clerk wasn’t looking.

The boys left the store, and the clerk figured out what had happened when a foul stench filled the building. The store had to be closed temporarily because of the odor.

Sandy police Sgt. Victor Quezada said the surveillance video was broadcast by local news stations, investigators received numerous tips from callers, and that on Wednesday morning, five high school students were greeted by police as they arrived for school in the morning. Two of the boys eventually were released, while the other three, two aged 16 and a 17-year-old, were arrested for investigation of third-degree felony criminal mischief.

The 7-Eleven figured out the video surveillance thing, but USDA says it’s too complicated for slaughterhouses.

USDA says newfangled technology not required, slaughterhouses are fine

Dr. Raymond has spoken: the U.S. Department of Agriculture needs neither videocameras nor more inspectors to police slaughterhouses after the country’s largest beef recall earlier this year.

Everything is just fine.

Raymond, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s undersecretary for food safety (right, on the left, at Marler’s food safety bash last week), told a House subcommittee that USDA has enough food inspectors after hiring more than 190 last year and videotaping meat plant operations would be costly and practically difficult to implement, adding, "It’s not as simple as a camera," and that the agency was "not stretched too thin."

Raymond’s response angered House members
, who said the recall of beef slaughtered in the Hallmark/Westland plant in Chino, Calif., showed a need for improvements.

The beef was recalled after the Humane Society of the United States released an undercover video showing the mistreatment of sick cows at the Westland/Hallmark plant in Chino, Calif.

As I’ve said before, USDA may need to adopt some new inspection and investigative techniques if the HSUS can so easily document such grotesquely poor treatment of animals.

And unlike 12th century France, USDA has access to the same video technology that a single undercover worker — not the five USDA inspectors on-site — was able to use to bring down a large corporation. Producers and processors who say their food is safe should be able to prove it. Producers and processors who say they treat animals humanely should be able to prove it.

Food Network food safety sucks

amateurchef123 writes,

"the food network has a responsibility to it’s (sic) viewers to present cooking that will not predispose them to 3 days of violent vomiting, fever, and possible neurological damage.

"I’m speaking, of course, about Ms. (Rachel) Ray’s complete refusal to adhere to national guidelines regarding the consumption of raw eggs and seafood.  To be fair, Emeril "Beer Belly" Lagasse, as well as Mario "Anyeurism" Batali also ignore these warnings, and regularly use raw eggs in many of their concoctions.  But these two individuals, obese and stinky as they may be, can actually cook, whereas Rachael Ray cannot."

The post goes on in a similar vein. I agree. Food safety (of the microbiological kind) usually loses to food porn on the Food Network.

Queen Liz hip to YouTube

Amy and I finally got around to watching Helen Mirren’s Oscar-winning performance last night in The Queen, which documents the U.K. Royal family’s initially stultified response to the death of Princess Diana in 1997.

About an hour later, I e-mailed Ben Chapman, and said this is a good study in risk communication, we can use it in the classes we teach.

Today, the 81-year-old Queen Elizabeth II once again proved herself adaptable — at least more nimble than most American food producers, especially spinach growers — and launched her own special Royal Channel on YouTube.

The Associated Press reports that the queen will use the popular video-sharing website to send out her 50th annual televised Christmas message, which she first delivered live to the nation and its colonies on Dec. 25, 1957.

I was born in 1962 in the colony of Canada, and it was a Christmas tradition when I was young to watch the Queen’s broadcast on Christmas Day at my very English grandparents’ house, and then cuddle up with my grandmother over a heat register behind the couch and watch the Toronto Maple Leafs — the same Leafs who last won hockey’s Stanley Cup in 1967.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement today,

"The queen always keeps abreast with new ways of communicating with people. The Christmas message was podcast last year."

On Tuesday, Queen Elizabeth II’s annual Christmas speech can once again be downloaded as a podcast from It also is being made available on television in high definition for the first time.

American baseball pitcher Roger Clemens has also continued his campaign to refute allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs on Sunday as he released a video and agreed to an interview that will air on “60 Minutes."

Kids love the video.

Kids love the video

Did you see those videos on last night?

Ben borrowed a classic from Beavis and Butthead, and Andrew posted the results of his first foray into video — in the fall we gave him a video camera he’d never used before, sent him to the state fair in Hutchinson, Kansas, and told him to come back with a story (risks associated with petting zoos).

After training for a semester, you are going to see a lot more video from Andrew and others at iFSN.

A culture of safe food needs cool videos. And iFSN.

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