McNuggets are not a 911 emergency

In yet another example of America’s slide toward Idiocracy, a Florida woman called 911 after paying for 10 Chicken McNuggets and told that no deep-fried chicken bits were available and would she like something else because all sales are final.

She called 911 three times.

"This is an emergency, If I would have known they didn’t have McNuggets, I wouldn’t have given my money, and now she wants to give me a McDouble, but I don’t want one. This is an emergency."

Once police arrived, the woman told police,

"I called 911 because I couldn’t get a refund, and I wanted my McNuggets.”

The police report states the woman,

"maintained the attitude ‘this is an emergency, my McNuggets are an emergency.’"

And why do these food-related 911 calls keep recurring in Florida?

Man dialed 911 when lemonade ran out

Have Americans become so self-absorbed they have to call 911 when food is not to their liking?

First it was a dude in Jacksonville, FL, who called 911 because he didn’t like the way his Subway sandwich was prepared. He could have just called Jared.

Last year, someone called 911 because she couldn’t get a cheeseburger.

On Friday, a man in Boynton Beach, FL, was arrested and charged with abuse of 911 communication after calling to complain that a local Burger King in did not have any lemonade.

If I was going to call 911 on Burger King it’d be related to that mascot that looks like a creepy Thunderbirds-clone

Roaches, slime may force Szechuan Panda in Gainesville to close

Yes, Mr. Kang, Chinese food can be cooked to food safety regulations.

The Gainesville Sun reports that a Florida judge has recommended shutting down the Szechuan Panda Chinese Restaurant for repeated health violations that were not corrected over several inspections between December 2007 and March of this year.

Administrative Law Judge Ella Jane Davis issued the recommended order Nov. 19 after an Aug. 5 hearing for owner Yu Zeng Kang to dispute a complaint filed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Division of Hotels and Restaurants.

Daniel Fulton, senior sanitation and safety specialist with the division, inspected the restaurant five times between Dec. 19, 2007, and March 30, 2008. He reported repeat violations that included live roaches in food preparation and food service areas, dead roaches throughout the building, food stored at improper temperatures, an "unidentified slime" growing in a food container, food stored directly on the floor and improper utensils used to handle food.

According to the judge’s order, Kang responded through an interpreter that most of the violations were because "Chinese cooking was not conducive to meeting the regulations."

Kang also testified that dead roaches were swept out every night, however the judge noted that those found the following morning remained until the nightly cleaning, the order said.

Food safety infomercials still suck

I got up at 4:45 a.m. Sunday.

Just habit, how I roll, watching No Country for Old Men in the background, which really does improve with repeated viewings, like most Coen brothers movies.

While scouring the Internet I came across probably the worst infomercial ever. Bill Marler, your competition ain’t going to be knocking down the doors any time soon.

This Florida law firm has its own Internet infomercial. I’m thinking Dan Ackroyd selling a Bass-o-matic.

“What kind of bacteria do you hear about?

The most common is the E. coli virus.

The E. coli virus was linked to Taco Bell shredded lettuce …

Another bacteria that can cause foodborne illness is the salmonella virus.”

Douche alert: Lawyer host — even I got my hair cut. And telling viewers to “shop at places with reputable reputations” is not a real mastery of the English language.

Condom found in meat in Florida

WCTC reports that Patricia Gibson says she bought a package of meat from an IGA food store in Quincy, Florida, on Wednesday, and on Saturday afternoon when she opened the package, she found a condom embedded in her container of packed pigs feet.

After family members agreed, Gibson called the manager of IGA, and told him what she’d found.

She says the manager asked her "what he was supposed to do about it?"

Angry, Gibson called the Havana Police Department.

"This, that’s a serious health issue. I mean, what if people are buying other packages of meat, and something like that’s ground up in it? That’s not right. That’s disgusting."

The manager of IGA says pigs feet are packaged in house, but he says there’s no way a condom could be in his meat, saying he is certain his employees are not engaging in any sexual activity in the meat department.

Havana police secured the evidence at Gibson’s home in Havana, and told her to contact the Health Department so the state may do a thorough investigation of IGA’s food preparation.

Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body

That’s the name of an exhibit set to open yesterday at the South Florida Science Museum and expected to topple previous attendance records.

The Palm Beach Post reports The exhibition is based on a series of books by science teacher Sylvia Branzei whose research found that the average person swallows a quart of snot per day.

Other features of the exhibit include:

• guess the correct sequence of events that sets off barfing at the Vomit Center;

• match horrible odors to their correct source at Y U Stink;

• learn how vibrations of skin around the anus create a fart sound at Toot Toot; and,

• scale a 12-foot wall of pimples, warts and other skin blemishes.

Jennifer Cooper, a science educator at the museum, said,

"This is kind of a learning-in-disguise exhibit. They’re learning without feeling like they’re learning."

And you wonder why we call it barfblog.

Doggie dining, handwashing and Hurricane Fay

Looks like I picked the wrong week to come to Florida.

Actually we didn’t. Our most excellent holiday has been extended thanks to Tropical Storm or Hurricane Fay, which is scheduled to hit us in Florida first thing tomorrow morning. Everything has been canceled, including all flights out of Tampa.

So we’re riding it out.

Amy has been here a couple of times with friends, and my grandfather had a place in nearby Englewood, Florida, for decades. So we are both used to escaping Kansas heat by going to Florida in Aug. when it is completely dead. And Venice – founded as a retirement community by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers in the 1920s – is about as quiet as it gets.

As part of our hurricane preparation, Courtlynn, Amy and I went to the Sarasota aquarium today. After petting the stingrays and others in the fish petting zoo, Amy and Courtlynn dutifully washed their hands in the politically correct handwashing station, which has a sign that says,

“Dryers are provided for an environmentally-conscious choice.”

Handwashing needs soap, running water and paper towel. Save the guilt.

Next was some lunch in St. Armand’s circle on Lido Key, a favorite spot for Amy and me. Shortly after we sat down, Amy asked, “Do you know why there is hand sanitizer on the patio tables and not inside? I bet this is a doggie-friendly restaurant.”

Sure enough, ChaCha Coconuts Tropical Bar and Grill was an approved doggie-friendly dining establishment. Our server said there hadn’t been any problems, most of the dogs in the St. Armand area were tiny, but it was problematic when owners insisted their dogs sit in a chair at the table. She said,

“I have a dog. It sits on the floor. So do these dogs.”

Not everyone in the Tampa area is happy with the doggy dining regs. Richard Bond, owner of Yeoman’s Road Pub on Davis Islands, told the Tampa Tribune on Friday that he put up a sign at his restaurant saying that because of the "unreasonable nature" of the pet ordinance, the pub would no longer allow pets on the patio.

"There’s a money issue. You have to have a sanitary station. It’s too much for me to be dog-friendly. When I got it I said, ‘Just another thing for the city of Tampa to try to make a couple of extra bucks.’ "

The server at ChaCha’s said being doggy friendly gave them an edge, especially during the economic downturn and the off-season.

There’s media noise. And there’s reality. It’s been strangely bizarre listening to the media histrionics on the Weather Channel and CNN about the approaching Fay, compared with the low-key, been-there-done-that response of the locals.

We’ll get home eventually. Courtlynn is pumped about the manatees and dolphins off the pier … and the new season of the Hills starting tonight.

Possible food poisoning outbreak at Florida State sorority

Looks like I picked the wrong week to visit Florida.

Thirty years before Stephen Colbert used the picture of himself in a picture in a picture, Lloyd Bridges was doing it in the movie, Airplane (right).

And tonight, according to WCTV in Tallahassee, rumors are circulating that more than 70 girls in the Phi Mu house at Florida State University have become very ill and some maybe even hospitalized in a possible outbreak of foodborne illness.

“Some members of the Greek community say it is possible that this outbreak is affecting more than one house and the rumors have many other sororities taking precautions to protect their members.”

Kara Beth Yancey, a FSU sorority member, says her house is going to take more precautions to prevent a similar situation.

"We’re not going to stop ordering in but we are going to be a little more cautious on what kind of food we’re ordering in."

I wonder what kind of food they’re going to limit the ordering in of? Amy, Courtlynn and me, we’re in Venice, Florida, so maybe we can avoid some of that ordered in food.

Blaming consumers — Florida style

Pot pies, produce, peanut butter, pizza and pet food.

These are not consumer food safety issues. There are farm and processing issues.

But so many government, academic and industry types can’t help themselves, and have to make baseless declarations, like, "We have the safest food in the world," and, "The majority of foodborne illness happens in the home."

Estimates I’ve seen vary from 10 per cent to 90 per cent of identified foodborne illness happening in the home. But if I put peanut butter on bread, does that mean I should have taken steps to protect myself, like deep-frying the peanut butter? Should I cook all my fresh produce? How are the numbers counted?

Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson said in a press release today that,

"Numerous food-borne illness outbreaks during the past year have heightened public awareness about the dangers with various types of food items. From E-coli in lettuce and meat to salmonella in poultry, more than 76 million people are sickened by food-borne illnesses every year in the United States, resulting in more than 5,000 fatalities.

"However, the majority of food poisonings occur as a result of unsafe preparation and cooking practices."

Show us the data.

Further, telling people — like Commissioner Bronson did — that, "once consumers have purchased the food it is up to them to follow safe and proper food handling practices" seems simplistic — or convenient. Especially considering the number of salmonella outbreaks linked to Florida tomatoes that consumers could have done … nothing to prevent.

Cocoa Beach closer to dog-dining ordinance

Florida Today reports that Cocoa Beach could become the first beachside community in Brevard County, Florida, to allow restaurant patrons to bring their dogs to dinner (instead of leaving them outside in the rain, left).

Tonya Morgan, general manager at The Surf, which brought the request for the ordinance before the commission, said, "We thought that dogs were allowed on the patio. We never realized that we were breaking the law.”

Morgan said they wanted to legally do what they had already been doing at the request of customers, who come to the restaurant patio area with their dogs.

The commission voted 4-1 in favor of the measure. Councilman Ken Griffin, the lone dissenter, said, "I oppose this. I wasn’t raised up eating with dogs."

Doggie dining has pros and cons. The Florida state guidelines seem like a reasonable compromise.