Vaccines work, especially before an outbreak: Hawaii makes it easier for restaurants to vaccinate their employees

I got mine.

The Hawaii Restaurant Association (HRA) is teaming up with Hawaii Medical Assurance Association (HMAA) to ensure all restaurant employees can get vaccinated in light of an ongoing hepatitis A outbreak.

hep.aOne-hundred-thirty-five cases have been confirmed as of Aug. 3, and are largely focused on Oahu. Seven individuals now live on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui, and one visitor has returned to the mainland.

The Hawaii Department of Health have been releasing a list of restaurants and food service businesses where employees were diagnosed with hepatitis A.

Health officials say there is no indication these businesses are sources of this outbreak and the likelihood that patrons will become infected is very low. However, customers were notified out of an abundance of caution and urged to contact their healthcare provider for advice and possible preventive care.

“If I was a restaurant operator at this point, and I have been. I’ve been a manager, I’ve been an owner, and in talking to my staff, I would say what would happen if our restaurant ended up on the news tonight or tomorrow? It would greatly impact not only the income of the restaurant, but your personal income, so we want to do what we can to avoid that,” said Gregg Fraser, HRA executive director.

Any business, not just those in the food service industry, can now contact HMAA to set up hepatitis A vaccination clinics for their employees for free with a minimum of 15 participants. A $50 fee applies for businesses with fewer than 15 participants.


Food: Hucksters and snake oil

While the Food Babe may have gotten some less than glowing press from the N.Y Times, two Australian food porn types have been thoroughly routed and lost their book deals.

SnakeOilIf only people wouldn’t initially fall prey to 21st century snake oil.

The paleo cookbook Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way was due for release last week, but has now been cancelled by publisher Pan MacMillan in NZ and Australia amid health concerns over a recipe for babies.

The book apparently advocates baby milk formula based on liver and bone broth.

But co-author Pete Evans, who penned the book with blogger and actress Charlotte Carr, appears unperturbed by the news, taking to Facebook to announce: “Our nurturing new book ‘Bubba Yum Yum’ will also being [sic] released in the next week or two, so we’ll keep you updated [sic].”

Enthused about the project, which he wrote with Wes Carr’s wife Charlotte and naturopath Helen Padarin, he ended the post with: “We surly [sic] all are part of something very, very special… good things are coming! Good things are here!”

We have close to a 1000 people coming to the Melbourne town hall tomorrow for our Paleo Way Tour. I am so excited to share the stage with such truly inspiring, open hearted people!

Fresh off filming the sixth season of My Kitchen Rules, Pete is currently busy touring his Paleo Way cooking class through the country.

The tour is an offshoot his Pete’s TV show of the same name, which the Daily Telegraph reported has been green-lit for a second season.

Aussie mum Kim Reddy wrote an open letter to Pete Evans, asking him to “stop being a jerk and go back to being a chef.”

Simultaneously, publishing giant Penguin will pull Belle Gibson’s debut cook book after the author failed to defend accusations of falsely claiming to have cancer and explain why she withheld charitable donations.

The publisher has previously admitted never fact checking Ms Gibson’s story, which claims healthy living and natural therapies helped her treat multiple terminal cancers.

imagesMs Gibson has so far offered no evidence to support her claims of surviving cancers after rejecting conventional treatment. Former friends and leading medical experts have cast strong doubt over her story and purported diagnoses.

“Despite our best endeavours, Penguin Books has not received sufficient explanation from Ms Gibson, author of The Whole Pantry recipe book, in response to recent allegations,” a spokeswoman said.

“As such, we have been left with no other option but to stop supplying the book in Australia. We remain hopeful that we will receive the formal assurances we have requested in the coming days.”

It comes as next month’s overseas release of The Whole Pantry also is in doubt, with major US publisher Simon & Schuster confirming it will investigate Ms Gibson’s biography and charitable donations.

Global tech company Apple, which heavily promoted Ms Gibson’s app as one of the first to be made available on the Apple Watch device, has remained silent for almost a week despite mounting accusations and repeated requests for comment. Apple refuses to say whether it stands by Ms Gibson.

Gibson recently encouraged her followers to drink raw cow’s milk and discussed investing in a co-op.

She is facing criticism for ignoring the Victoria State government move to further restrict raw milk sales after one child died and four became seriously ill after consuming ‘cosmetic milk’ products.

Using her private Instagram handle of @onlybelle she told her followers to go #vegan, #notmilk, #rawmilk or #nomilk.

On an image showing a fridge of raw milk products she wrote: ‘Raw Milk is Not for Human Consumption!” with “F*** the government. Hahaha’

The 23-year-old has told her followers to avoid vaccinating their children.

The doctor video below from Jimmy Kimmel is fairly good (NSFV).

Interviewing people about genetic engineering: Kimmel has a better production team

This one time, in graduate school, I visited an anti-genetic engineering event in Toronto with a fellow student and whiz video editor Christian. And took a video camera.  The idea to was to interview folks about why they were there. Doug always stressed lessons from the risk communication literature: knowing the audience is important. To do that it’s necessary to get out and talk to people. I was thinner, had more hair and a somewhat youthful face.

The event, Biojustice picnic, (formally known as, The 6th International Grassroots Gathering on Genetic Engineering) was held at the same time as the annual meeting of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) annual meeting in Toronto, 2002.

Jimmy Kimmel repeated the activity last week with a different group of folks.

Why the Internet still needs reporters who ask the right questions

If it wasn’t for my friend and journalist, Jim Romahn (right, exactly as shown), I probably would have stopped the food safety gig 10 years ago and went off to play bad banjo in a bluegrass band, or bad goalie in a 15th tier semi-pro hockey league, or become a greeter at Wal-Mart.

By about 1999, I’d gotten bored of hearing myself talk. There’s lots of prof types who make careers out of recycling, but after publishing a book, Mad Cows and Mother’s Milk, and going on the academic circuit, I was really bored with myself.

Jim, who’s been the premier agriculture and food reporter in Canada for about as long as I’ve been alive and used to write speeches for Canadian Minister of Agriculture, Eugene Whelan (the dude in the green Stetson), gave me some advice:

“’Gene used to tell me, when you’ve been on every radio station, when you’ve talked to every local ag meeting, when you can’t stand to hear yourself say the same thing again, that’s when people are just starting to listen. So get over yourself.”

Or that’s about as close as I remember the tale. And it’s one reason why I still do food safety stuff.

Jim sent me a story that ran yesterday, that beautifully demonstrates why the Internet still needs real investigative journalists to provide analysis, rather than just stick their names on press releases: the later is not journalism, it’s promotion and redistribution using electronic toys.

Jim reported that,

“Canada’s reputation for dairy genetics has taken a huge hit because of the massive fraud perpetrated by trusted veterinarian Dr. Brian Hill and his Maple Hill Embryos Inc. of Woodstock, Ont.

He shipped more than six thousand embryos each to China and Russia under false documentation, and more thousands to the Ukraine and Cyprus.

He took embryos from scores of Ontario’s leading Holstein and Jersey breeders, but the lawyers involved in the case decided they couldn’t easily prove theft.

They could prove massive fraud. In some cases, Hill falsified the breeding slips for artificial insemination, the identity of the dam, the breeding date and the embryo recovery date and health certificates.

Some of these frauds were so blatant that a novice ought to have noticed, such as embryo recoveries from one donor cow two weeks apart and recoveries of 18 embryos per collection when the average is seven.

The Chinese set high standards for what they wanted to buy from Hill. In fact, he identified only six cows that qualified, yet shipped them more than 6,000 embryos all collected within a year.

It’s one thing for Hill to cheat this way.

It’s another for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to be so asleep at the switch that it never noticed.

Its veterinarians signed the paperwork clearing the embryo exports. Its veterinarians failed to notice collection dates two weeks apart for the same donor cow. Its veterinarians failed to notice Hill apparently collected more than 6,000 embryos from six cows within less than a year.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is supposed to audit registered embryo collection centres. Hill had one of those, yet the property owner said he never saw Hill, let alone government inspectors, at the place."

Audits really don’t mean much, for food safety, or cattle sperm. Thanks, Jim, for helping me get over myself, and moving on.

Are self-serve buffet restaurants in hospitals a good idea?

Some employees at a U.K. hospital are saying the only buffet in a hospital should be named Jimmy (with an extra ‘t’ right, exactly as shown).

A new self-service buffet is making a pig’s breakfast of infection control at Coventry’s University Hospital, angry staff claim.

The help-yourself spread was unveiled at the hospital’s main restaurant last week and is open to workers, patients and visitors.

Shocked hospital workers say they were only warned about the change days earlier when a sign went up.

They claim the self-service system is a hygiene disaster waiting to happen.

Allowing sick patients to handle the food could quickly spread infections, such as the highly contagious norovirus sickness bug, staff say.

One angry worker told the Coventry Telegraph,

 “I think it is disgusting. Patients have been coming in with catheters and drip tubes in and rummaging through the piles of toast. Who knows what infections they are bringing down from the wards.”

Craig Smith, spokesman for contractor ISS, said the self-service breakfast buffet was launched to offer its customers more choice after consultation with staff and visitors.

“It is not unusual to have a self-service restaurant in a hospital – it is in place in hospitals up and down the country.”

Jimmy Kimmel talks tomatoes

"For lunch today I was forced to order a BLB sandwich, which is bacon, lettuce, and more bacon. I’m thinking of ditching the lettuce too, just to be safe."


Check out the clip below.

During last night’s monologue on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Jimmy talks tomatoes, with an awesome public service announcement from the Broccoli Council at the end.

I’m all for marketing microbial food safety at retail.