Shane, the Guess Who, and Canada makes pot legal

This is not about food safety.

It’s about my cousin Shane

He died kayaking in BC when I was 19 in jail.

The only way I could go to the funeral was in handcuffs and leg shackles.

I politely declined.

Shane introduced me to The Guess Who and weed.

My uncle Larry, Shane’s father, and I, who eventually drove a truck for Molson’s and would honk at me during his trips to Guelph, would never talk about the deaths in our families; we’d just drink beer, but at some point I got tired of that.

Great afro or what?

Hummus sucks, especially with Listeria

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada correspondent Rob Mancini writes:

I hate hummus.

My wife loves it.

Concerns with potential Listeria contamination and food are on-going due to the ubiquitous nature of this pathogen. In Nov. 2016, there was a significant recall of hummus due to potential Listeria concerns with certain Sabra brand hummus products in both Canada and the US. Food producers, manufacturers, retail and foodservice operations are in a constant battle to control this problem and continually seeking new innovative products/solutions for its’ control.

A study published in 2006 found that a combination of citric acid, nisin, and proper hygienic practices served as an effective means to minimize growth of the pathogen in hummus. It may also be a good idea to take into consideration where the ingredients were sourced and ensuring that your facility are following and adhering to good GMP’s.

Either way, still hate the stuff.

Daily Hornet reports:

Lantana Foods, the company that supplied the hummus, notified Harris Teeter of the possible contamination, and the grocer promptly removed it from its cases.

Affected products include Fresh Foods Market Artisan Hummus Pine Nuts with UPC 7203602705.

Harris Teeter is using transaction data to notify shoppers who may have purchased the hummus, according to a press release on the company’s website.

If you purchased any hummus affected by the recall you should discard it immediately or return it to Harris Teeter for a full refund.

Listeriosis is a severe infection caused by eating food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The disease typically affects children, the elderly, and adults with weakened immune systems.

To date, no listeria infections have been associated with the Harris Teeter hummus recall.

 Al-Holy, M,  Al-Qadiri,H,  Lin, M,  and  Rasco, B. Inhibition of Listeria innocua in Hummus by a Combination of Nisin and Citric Acid.  Journal of Food Protection, Vol. 69, No. 6, 2006, Pages 1322–1327


Mancini speaks: new effort in food safety training

In 2010, the Russian pavilion at Folklorama in Winnipeg (or, as the Guess Who were always introduced, from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada), was implicated in a foodborne outbreak of Escherichia coli O157 that caused 37 illnesses and 18 hospitalizations.

The ethnic nature and diversity of foods prepared within each pavilion presents a unique problem for food inspectors, as each culture prepares Rob_Mancini_001food in their own unique way.

The Manitoba Department of Health and Folklorama Board of Directors realized a need to implement a food safety information delivery program that would be more effective than a 2-h food safety course delivered via PowerPoint slides. The food operators and event coordinators of five randomly chosen pavilions selling potentially hazardous food were trained on-site, in their work environment, focusing on critical control points specific to their menu. A control group (five pavilions) did not receive on-site food safety training and were assessed concurrently. Public health inspections for all 10 pavilions were performed by Certified Public Health Inspectors employed with Manitoba Health. Critical infractions were assessed by means of standardized food protection inspection reports.

Rob Mancini, a MS graduate of Kansas State University, a health inspector with the Manitoba Department of Health, and someone who seems perpetually young with cinematic good looks (bit of a man-crush) led a study of how to improve food safety at Folklorama and the results were published in the Oct. 2012 issue of the Journal of Food Protection.

He’s at it again, and will be reporting on follow-up research he subsequently conducted with almost no help from me and Chapman at the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspector Conference in Winnipeg, on June 24th, 2013.

Runs in Saskatoon? Cryptosporidium found in parsley

I don’t like parsley. Can’t stand using it in cooking, hate it as a garnish and, like many herbs, is prone to microbial contamination.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning the public not to consume Boskovich brand fresh Parsley described below. The affected product may contain Cryptosporidium.

The affected product was sold only on March 19, 2012 from one store, Canada Safeway, 124 Primrose Dr., Lawson Heights Mall, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The product was sold in bunches enclosed with a band indicating the Boskovich brand and Product of USA.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

As usual, CFIA provided no details about how the contaminated parsley was discovered, or why the advisory only applies to one day’s worth of product at one store.

Speaking of Saskatoon, I was rocking out to this a couple of days ago after my friend Roy sent along his latest rock and roll band photo and I commented he was channeling Randy Bachman. 

Top Chef would be mildly entertaining with Charlie Sheen

I have no idea why those morons on Top Chef don’t use a thermometer.

During last night’s episode, Carla (right, exactly as shown) serves raw pork.

Judge Gail says, the center of my pork loin was pretty much completely raw.

Carla goes home

Thermometers would make them better cooks.

The Charlie factor is best summarized by music critic Lester Bangs in the film, Almost Famous:

Lester Bangs: The Doors? Jim Morrison? He’s a drunken buffoon posing as a poet.

Alice Wisdom: I like the Doors.

Lester Bangs: Give me the Guess Who. They got the courage to be drunken buffoons, which makes them poetic.

Guess Who? Guelph food safety needs more than press releases

I got a haircut yesterday.

There was some XM Satellite classic rock station on in the background, so I got to expound yet again about the Journey effect, Fargo Rock City and bad radio music in the Midwest, and Canadian bands who had made it big (a song by The Guess Who came on; I spoke with Burton Cummings on an airplane a few years ago, and was able to quip about Randy Bachman’s stomach surgery as he was sitting in with the band on Letterman the other night; Bachman and Cummings never registered the band’s name, The Guess Who, so some posers tour under that name, sorta like the Food Safety Network at the University of Guelph cause I didn’t bother to register the name).

I had just posted a blog about the E. coli O157 outbreak at the University of Guelph, and was all chatty about that, so I said to my hair person, Virginia, if you made 6-figures running some aspect of a university, and 20 people got sick from eating in one of your food service outlets, what would you say?

"I’d say I was sorry."

Me too.

“The University regrets any inconvenience or concerns this situation may have caused.”

The U of G community was shaken up by the serious outbreak of E. coli on campus, said Chuck Cunningham, U of G’s director of communication and public affairs.

"It’s a surprise and a shock to us that this has happened," he said.

Steps have been taken to ensure that food operations on campus are safe, Cunningham said, adding that he bought a salad from a university cafeteria for lunch yesterday.

"It seemed to me like it was business as usual," he said.

I’d start by looking at suppliers, follow through to employee handling, handwashing policies  and whether sick employees are pressured to work. This ain’t rocket surgery.

A press release from the University said yesterday that,

“Although health officials said it’s unlikely that the source of the outbreak will ever be identified, they believe it’s an isolated incident.”

How do they know it’s an isolated incident if the source of the outbreak is never identified?

The press release also states that information about E. coli is available through the Ontario Ministry of Health.

Doesn’t the University of Guelph have some food safety group that bills itself as a “Reliable Information Source” and runs a phone line to answer food safety questions?  I must be having a Guess Who moment again.

Love that Canadian flag.