Meet iFSN: Stephanie Maurer

Hey y’all!

My name’s Steph, and I am a newbie graduate from Kansas State with a bachelor’s in Animal Science, a minor in French, and a certificate in Equine studies.

Currently, I am working for Hill’s Pet Nutrition, and  iFSN.  Luckily for me, Doug is kind enough to keep me on part-time so I can stay connected online and watch my TV shows ;).

I didn’t realize how important food safety is, until I began pulling news for iFSN at the beginning of last year.  Now, I try my best to keep my mother out of the kitchen, and thanks to that, I made it through Thanksgiving and Christmas without barfing.

Through donations and other helpful contributions to the network we can help the world realize the importance of food safety like I did, and save them from barfing as well.

Infosheets can impact food safety training

Do you like pictures of celebrities vomiting, people picking their noses, kids on the toilet, poop, puke, barf, vomit, diarrhea and the squirts? We do, and, we’ve found that many food handlers do as well.

Through iFSN‘s infosheets, we try to put a compelling spin on food safety information, attempting to draw in even the laziest, creepiest and stonedest of food handlers. That’s why we use skulls sometimes.

The infosheets are received by 300 direct e-mail subscribers, over 7,000 FSnet subscribers, and are distributed by many public health inspectors and environmental health officers during inspections and food handler courses (if you want to subscribe to receive infosheets directly, e-mail

Each sheet contains information about a recent outbreak coupled with recommendations on how a food handler or operator can avoid the same problems in their business. Some of the largest food service, retail and food processors in the world use our infosheets on a weekly basis and the feedback we’ve received has been awesome. One company said they changed their food safety training to all-infosheets, and they knew it was working when they overheard employees talking about the stories during lunch breaks. That contributes to a culture of safe food.

Still, we need your help to keep going. Each week the guts of the infosheets are generated by fabulous undergraduate and graduate students who pull news and find great stories, search out gross (and sometimes disturbing) pictures, and help create the framework for the sheets.

And as one of our biggest fans, an environmental health officer, wrote in response to this infosheet:

“Now that’s some funny stuff! Those folks at iFSN have a great sense of humor. This is obviously no dry and boring government info.”

If our funding goes away, we’ll be forced to start making cheaper infosheets that contain dry and boring government info. Please help us avoid that; there’s already too many bureaucrats in the world. Send money.

Meet iFSN: Ella Reusser

I’m a senior in Marketing and Spanish at KSU.

When I’m not fighting in the trenches of Hale Library jacked up on coffee, I pull news for iFSN.

Being a business major, the world of food safety was quite foreign to me until I joined the network. Now you can find me patrolling the local bathrooms lecturing on the importance of proper handwashing. I am also the marketing coordinator for the KSU Student Union and one of the tasks I have incorporated into my position is writing articles regarding food safety in the K-State student newspaper, the Collegian.

Expanding our knowledge about food safety is key to making this network grow and prosper. Through donations and other helpful contributions to the network we can make this food-addicted country safer, one bite at a time.

Meet iFSN: Ben Chapman

Doug is going broke.  Not personally, but iFSN is beginning to hurt for money.  Over my years as an undergraduate news puller and graduate student I’ve benefitted from you, our generous readership, and I figure it’s time to try and generate some cash and replenish the reserves for the next generation of iFSN.  Here’s my message: Please continue to give.

We do good work, always trying to chase down the most up-to-date food risk information from around the world, provide our pithy commentary and conduct reality-based research.  We’ve posed as shoppers in grocery stores, watched hundreds of hours of celebrity chefs, watched consumers prepare food and now have cameras up in kitchens to evaluate training interventions.  We really do care about this stuff.

Being around iFSN for as long as I have has given me an appreciation for all the behind-the-scenes labour that goes into our activities, and since Doug’s move to Kansas State we’ve attracted another fantastic crop of undergraduate and graduate students to help carry it out. iFSN is all about developing keen, creative and passionate students who are committed to reducing the risks of foodborne illness.  Past members of the iFSN family have gone on to be faculty members, industry leaders, and yes, surprisingly, some even work as regulators. So your support of the iFSN has a reach far beyond just our group.

Oh, and Doug gets grumpy when money gets low, so donations make our lives easier (and we can focus all the cool things we do).

We can’t offer you any DVDs of British comedies or Ken Burns documentaries like they do on PBS, but we can offer a very cool Don’t Eat Poop or barfblog tshirt in exchange for your support.  They are really stylish as well, so not only will you be helping iFSN, you’ll be dressing better (and I’ve met many of you, you need all the help you can get).  So please continue to give.

Trying to make food safety cool — International Food Safety Network year in review

We’re on a mission to make food safety a pop-culture phenomenon.

We is the International Food Safety Network — my lab (iFSN)  — and we provide research, commentary, policy evaluation and public information on food safety issues.
I edit three of the four daily listservs that are distributed to over 13,000 direct subscribers in some 70 countries (Ben Chapman has been editing AnimalNet since early in 2007). That information is redirected to millions around the world. The International Food Safety Network website was moved to ,in Jan. 2007 (a significant undertaking). A new website,, was created this year, as well as, with 550 posts since May 1, 2007, an average of almost 2 posts per day, and attracting over 100,000 visitors since May, 1.

In Feb. 2007, my previous institution, the University of Guelph, in Canada, decided — unilaterally — not to continue a partnership with Kansas State, and eliminated access to my staff and funds that I had established in Guelph (about $750,000). They even tried to shut down the web site, but I’d already moved it. Over the course of 2007, I have replaced five full-time research assistants and several part-timers paid out of Guelph with 12 part-time undergraduates at K-State and elsewhere, and one graduate student. You’ve heard from some of them in the past week; you’ll hear from the rest in future weeks. The quality and diversity of the students I have been able to attract has been invigorating to the entire iFSN operation. Let the hacks and posers fight over what is left; I’m moving forward.

iFSN had more media exposure than ever in 2007, with some 450 media hits, including the N.Y. Times, L.A. Times, Washington Post, USA Today, CBS Evening News, and repeatedly quoted in every major U.S., Canadian and Australian media outlet, as well as a few others. We were quoted on The Late Show with David Letterman and advised people to use their front porch as a cooler when the power goes out.

We gave talks all over the world, for various groups, including the National Restaurant Association, Walt Disney World, and dozens of public health groups and scientific societies.

Based on the primary activities listed in the chart below, I spend each and every day (including Sat., Sun. and holidays) editing 36 news items, posting 4 listservs, composing two blog posts, doing one or two media interviews, distributing a commentary once or twice a week, and giving a talk and editing an infosheet almost once a week. In my extra time I teach, apply for research grants, supervise research and graduate students, recruit undergraduate students, and write scientific papers.

We need your support to continue doing what we do. Give often, give a lot, at

Or contact me directly,

Have a great year

Doug Powell

Meet iFSN: Chris Babcock

Two bananas relaxing on a riverbank suddenly hear someone calling to them. After a short time, they notice a pile of dung floating towards them. The dung shouts “Hey fellas! Come on in! The water’s nice!” One banana whispers to the other “Do you really believe that crap?”

My name is Chris Babcock, and I am a fifth-year financial services major at Kansas State University. I was told this joke while working in the produce section in a grocery store during high school. The moral that I extracted from the joke is that it’s important to have reliable information at the right time. Since the television is such a limited source of relevant information, I decided last year to stop wasting my time watching it, and cancelled my services. I realize now how much time I save reading news from the Internet.

 It’s no secret that the Internet is an incredible way to gain information. It amazes me how much new information I can learn from a few hours of researching for the International Food Safety Network. Our job is to filter relevant stories for the subscriber, so that he or she doesn’t have to. In minutes, one can read the most current news that we spend so much time finding. It’s truly money well spent to be knowledgeable about the latest developments in agriculture and food safety. Making a donation to our cause will help provide the funds necessary to keep the information chain rolling, and minimize the opportunity costs you incur trying to stay updated.

Meet iFSN: Kyle Seiler

Bonjour! I’m a senior in History and French at Kansas State, and I do a number of other things, like throwing long metal projectiles over mountains. 

I also spend several hours a week pulling stories for iFSN (it keeps me informed and you regular) and in the future, I may be translating infosheets into French.  But that all depends on your donations, petit or grand, give what you can.

If Ron Paul can bring in $6 million in a weekend, can’t iFSN?

Last Sunday, U.S. Republican presidential candidate and raw-milk darling Ron Paul, set a new record for a presidential candidate in either party, hauling in more than $6 million online.

In the new New Republic, msnbc host Tucker Carlson, in the appropriately titled, On the road with Ron Paul’s merry band of misfits and his hooker fan club, writes,

"that Paul, who is small and delicate and has a high voice, spoke in a near monotone, making no effort to excite the audience. They cheered anyway. Then he said this: ‘The Constitution gives no authority for a central bank.’

"The crowd went wild, or as wild as a group of sober Republicans can on a Monday night. They hooted and yelled and stomped their feet. Paul stopped speaking for a moment, his words drowned out. Then he continued on about monetary policy.

"Paul never outshines his message, which is unchanging: Let adults make their own choices; liberty works. For a unified theory of everything, it’s pretty simple. And Paul sincerely believes it.

"Most Republicans, of course, profess to believe it too. But only Paul has introduced a bill to legalize unpasteurized milk. Give yourself five minutes and see if you can think of a more countercultural idea than that. Most people assume that the whole reason we have a government is to make sure the milk gets pasteurized. It takes some stones to argue otherwise, especially if nobody’s paying you to do it. (The raw-milk lobby basically consists of about eight goat- cheese enthusiasts in Manhattan, and possibly the Amish.)

"Paul is pro-choice on pasteurization entirely for reasons of principle. ‘I support the right of people to drink whatever they want," he says. He mocks the idea that "only government can make sure we’re safe, so we need the government to protect us. I don’t think we’d all die of unsafe food if we didn’t have the FDA. Someone else would do it.’"

Hey, I’m all for libertarianism. But what about the kids that get sick?

From 1998 to 2005, a total of 45 outbreaks of foodborne illness were reported to CDC in which unpasteurized milk (or cheese suspected to have been made from unpasteurized milk) was implicated. These outbreaks accounted for 1,007 illnesses, 104 hospitalizations, and two deaths.
Because not all cases of foodborne illness are recognized and reported, the actual number of illnesses associated with unpasteurized milk likely is greater.

A table of the outbreaks is available at

Yes, lots of foods make people sick. And people should be free to choose what they ingest.

The 19th century English utilitarian philosopher, John Stuart Mill, noted that choice has limits, stating, "if it [in this case the consumption of raw unpasteurized milk] only directly affects the person undertaking the action, then society has no right to intervene, even if it feels the actor is harming himself."

Excused from Mill’s libertarian principle are those people who are incapable of self-government – children.

Science can be used to enhance what nature provided. Further, society has a responsibility to the many — philosopher Mill also articulated how the needs of the many outweighed the needs of the one — to use knowledge to minimize harm.

Adults, do whatever you think works to ensure a natural and healthy lifestyle, but please, don’t impose your dietary regimes on those incapable of protecting themselves: your kids.

And support the International Food Safety Network.

Give large. Give small. It’s all on-line at

Any problems, just e-mail me,

And if you benefit from our services, then we’re continuing with our payment model that darlings Radiohead stole from us: pay what you want. If there’s that much money for Ron Paul, there’s some for safe food.

Meet iFSN: Andrew Stormer

Hola, my name is Andrew Stormer.  I designed and run the Don’t Eat Poop website, pull news,
make factsheets and perform other fun-filled food safety related tasks with robot-like speed and precision. 

I’m currently a senior in Food Science at Kansas State and will be graduating in December, 2008. If you are a frequent user of our services and feel as though we are a beneficial organization, then feel free to donate; even it is only a small amount. I work lots of hours and Doug is probably borderline bankrupt because of it. 

On a side note: I am in search of an internship for the upcoming summer, preferably in Scotland, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand.  I am, however, more than willing to do internships in the U.S. as well.  If anyone is interested in adopting me then feel free to e-mail me at

Meet iFSN: Amy Hubbell

Salut! I’m Amy, a French professor gone food safety geek. I love to learn about food safety practices in different cultures, and watch how they play out on reality TV. No wonder why Doug’s converting our kitchen into the Safe Food Café. Although I’m more known for my blog posts on lait cru (raw milk) camembert and doggy dining, I write on exile and nostalgia in French autobiography for a living.
Ne mangez pas de caca, et donnez ce que vous pouvez pour soutenir l’iFSN.

(translation: don’t eat poop, and give what you can to support iFSN)