Manhattan, famous for sushi?

One of my great laments about Manhattan (Kansas) has been the lack of sushi. In the past few years, however, sushi has appeared on campus, in grocery stores and a Japanese restaurant is expected to open in Aggieville. Today during our regular pilgrimage to a Dillon’s grocery store (owned by Kroger), the "Sushi" sign was prominently displayed out front. While thinking to myself, "that might make a nice lunch today,"once inside the store I changed my mind. I snapped this picture (right) of an unattended rice container and decided not to buy sushi there because of the potential risk.

While most people presume that the greatest risk for foodborne illness in sushi comes from the raw fish, I’ve learned from living with Doug that rice is too often the culprit. When held at improper temperatures or temperature abused, Bacillus cereus, a soil dwelling bacterium, can germinate in the rice and create toxins. Although only responsible for 2-5% of foodborne illness, B. cereus can result in nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Diarrhea onset usually occurs between 8 and 16 hours after consumption but nausea and vomiting can occur from 1 to 5 hours after consumption. This is one of the few foodborne illnesses with symptom onset soon after consumption.

Last year when one of my students told me he got sick from eating sushi on campus, he blamed himself for eating raw fish. He was rather surprised when I told him the rice was more likely to blame.

Hinting at food safety – marketers play games but invoke consumer concerns

I shop at Dillons in Manhattan (Kansas), owned by Kroger. I’ve gotten to know the staff, we talk food safety stuff, and I’ve really enjoyed the few times I’ve chatted with Gale Prince, who used to be head of food safety at Kroger.

But I don’t understand the press release Kroger sent out today about its new line of salads which includes new technology on the packaging that enables customers to learn where the produce was grown as part of Kroger’s "Quality You Can Trace" program.

I don’t really care where it was grown. I do care if it was grown in cow shit.

The Kroger’s Fresh Selections are the only salads with HarvestMark technology sold in the U.S. today. Each bag carries a 16-digit code shoppers can enter at to learn more about the salad’s origin, packing location, ingredients, date and time the product was packed.  Customers can also offer their feedback on the product.

The PR BS goes on to say,

"Kroger continues to be a leader in offering customers innovative food safety tools and resources," said Joe Grieshaber, group vice president of Kroger’s meat, seafood, deli and produce departments.  …  Food safety is a top priority at Kroger.  Our partnership with HarvestMark makes it easy for customers who are interested to learn more about the food they purchase for themselves and their families. 

This has nothing to do with food safety. A food safety program for leafy greens would provide at retail – or at least through a url – practices on irrigation water testing, soli amendments and human hygiene programs for the workers. Market food safety directly and stop dancing.

Left, is a bag of Dole spring mix, purchased at Dillons. Included on the package is a salad guide that says taste, 4, on the mild to bold scale, and texture is 2 on the tender to crunchy guide.

The label also says the spring mix pairs well with balsamic vinaigrette, crumbled goat cheese, julienne sliced sun-dried tomatoes and a pinch of Mediterranean herbs. It’s thoroughly washed, preservative free and all natural. And Kosher certified and has a recipe for Balsamic vinaigrette.

I want to know if it has E. coli and is going to make me barf. Don’t eat poop. And if you do, cook it.