Sucks to be a meat worker with Coronavirus cases everywhere at work

Persons in congregate work and residential locations are at increased risk for transmission and acquisition of respiratory infections.

COVID-19 cases among U.S. workers in 115 meat and poultry processing facilities were reported by 19 states. Among approximately 130,000 workers at these facilities, 4,913 cases and 20 deaths occurred. Factors potentially affecting risk for infection include difficulties with workplace physical distancing and hygiene and crowded living and transportation conditions.

Improving physical distancing, hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfection, and medical leave policies, and providing educational materials in languages spoken by workers might help reduce COVID-19 in these settings and help preserve the function of this critical infrastructure industry.

COVID-19 among workers in meat and poultry processing facilities—19 States, April 2020, 08 May 2020

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report pp. 557-561d

Jonathan W. Dyal, MD1,2; Michael P. Grant, ScD1; Kendra Broadwater, MPH1; Adam Bjork, PhD1; Michelle A. Waltenburg, DVM1,2; John D. Gibbins, DVM1; Christa Hale, DVM1; Maggie Silver, MPH1; Marc Fischer, MD1; Jonathan Steinberg, MPH1,2,3; Colin A. Basler, DVM1; Jesica R. Jacobs, PhD1,4; Erin D. Kennedy, DVM1; Suzanne Tomasi, DVM1; Douglas Trout, MD1; Jennifer Hornsby-Myers, MS1; Nadia L. Oussayef, JD1; Lisa J. Delaney, MS1; Ketki Patel, MD, PhD5; Varun Shetty, MD1,2,5; Kelly E. Kline, MPH6; Betsy Schroeder, DVM6; Rachel K. Herlihy, MD7; Jennifer House, DVM7; Rachel Jervis, MPH7; Joshua L. Clayton, PhD3; Dustin Ortbahn, MPH3; Connie Austin, DVM, PhD8; Erica Berl, DVM9; Zack Moore, MD9; Bryan F. Buss, DVM10,11; Derry Stover, MPH10; Ryan Westergaard, MD, PhD12; Ian Pray, PhD2,12; Meghan DeBolt, MPH13; Amy Person, MD14; Julie Gabel, DVM15; Theresa S. Kittle, MPH16; Pamela Hendren17; Charles Rhea, MPH17; Caroline Holsinger, DrPH18; John Dunn19; George Turabelidze20; Farah S. Ahmed, PhD21; Siestke deFijter, MS22; Caitlin S. Pedati, MD23; Karyl Rattay, MD24; Erica E. Smith, PhD24; Carolina Luna-Pinto, MPH1; Laura A. Cooley, MD1; Sharon Saydah, PhD1; Nykiconia D. Preacely, DrPH1; Ryan A. Maddox, PhD1; Elizabeth Lundeen, PhD1; Bradley Goodwin, PhD1; Sandor E. Karpathy, PhD1; Sean Griffing, PhD1; Mary M. Jenkins, PhD1; Garry Lowry, MPH1; Rachel D. Schwarz, MPH1; Jonathan Yoder, MPH1; Georgina Peacock, MD1; Henry T. Walke, MD1; Dale A. Rose, PhD1; Margaret A. Honein, PhD

Deepak Chopra says bacteria listen to our thoughts

Whenever Amy goes on about some health thing she learned from Dr. Google or a parent – and Amy is far more discerning than the other parents – I stay, stick to French literature.

quantum.deepakDeepak Chopra, author, public speaker and alternative medicine advocate who shot to fame on The Oprah Winfrey Show in the 1990s, was the first guest at this week’s “Fat Summit” online conference. Hosted by Mark Hyman, celebrity doctor, long time Clinton family advisor and author of upcoming book, Eat Fat, Get Thin, the Fat Summit’s tagline– “Separating Fat From Fiction”– is clever fluff.

Boasting interviews with thirty “top scientists, doctors and health experts,” Hyman’s summit purports to explain to viewers of the online conference, available at no cost for a limited time (after which there is a fee for download), why eating more fat is the key to getting healthy and fit. Featuring the who’s who of food quackery, from David Asprey of the unscientific butter-in-your-coffee school of thought, to Vani “The Food Babe” Hari, known for her fearmongering antics, the summit is less about fat and more about demonizing modern technologies like genetic engineering and ingredients like artificial preservatives.  

“I feel like a slacker, I only have nine New York Times bestsellers,” Hyman laughed as he blowed introduced Deepak Chopra, who has more than 20 bestsellers under his belt. The summit’s first guest, he touted the benefits of Indian-style clarified butter known as “ghee,” as well as the advantages of keeping a gratitude journal, which he claims can reduce “leaky gut,” in turn decreasing incidence of heart disease and diabetes.

While “leaky gut syndrome” is poorly understood and is not a diagnosis taught in medical school, Chopra blames stress and an “inflamed microbiome” for causing the condition, which he implicates in a raft of health problems.

Wizard-of-Oz-Caps-the-wizard-of-oz-2028565-720-536Chopra’s misinformation-laden messaging is a far cry from evidence-based.

According to Chopra, that pesky inflamed microbiome is sentient. The genome, microbiome and epigenome, which the author collectively calls the “super gene,” are referenced throughout the interview. His book, Super Genes: The Key to Health and Well-Being, was published last year.

What we know about the microbiome, epigenome and genome is dwarfed by what we have yet to learn, and Deepak Chopra exploits this, taking brazen liberties to fill in the gaps.

Chopra has described the AIDS virus as emitting “a sound that lures the DNA to its destruction.” The condition can be treated, according to Chopra, with “Ayurveda’s primordial sound”

Chad Orzel has written that “to a physicist, Chopra’s babble about ‘energy fields’ and ‘congealing quantum soup’ presents as utter gibberish”, but that Chopra makes enough references to technical terminology to convince non-scientists that he understands physics.

Once again, thank you Oprah for promoting quackery.

Oprah is a food scientist? Americans will believe anything a celebrity says

Never underestimate the power of Oprah.

Decades ago, when I started asking produce stockers at retail about the questions they get, the answer that stuck in my mind was: If it was on Oprah yesterday, I’ll get questions today.

hamburger.oprah.96Amanda Hoaglen of Lake Mary, Florida, a self-proclaimed clean freak, uses only natural, eco-friendly sprays and washes for all her appliances and surfaces.

“I first started learning how to keep the kitchen neat and clean watching ‘Oprah’ and so I’ve always had that desire to learn little tricks of the trade,” she says. “Then when my son was born I definitely kicked it up a notch because I wanted to make sure he was of course safe and healthy.”

Hoaglen says that while searching online she discovered tips for cleaning appliances. Appliances she never thought needed to be cleaned.

“I didn’t realize that there’s this micro-bacteria, it’s sort of like a pink slime that comes from the water. It will appear in the lines of, say, your coffee maker or in the lines of your dishwasher if you don’t regularly maintain them by running vinegar through them.”

White vinegar along with lemons, Dawn dish soap and baking soda are her go-to items for cleaning just about anything.

Yes, acid works.

Craig Menzies, salesman for Southeast Steel, has been in the appliance business for 23 years. He says Amanda is on the right track. He recommends running vinegar through washing machines to all his customers. 

Menzies says people use too much detergent. He says residue builds up and it makes a great home for mold, bacteria and E. coli. 

“I find that it’s very simple to use a couple of cups of white vinegar here maybe one through the dispenser on an empty load and that really tends to sanitize and deodorize things and white vinegar is a fabulous product to use in any kind of appliance.”

Menzies says this is especially important in front load washers where water settles in the bottom, allowing bacteria to grow.

“The towels will tell the tale. If they smell, too much soap. If they don’t smell anymore, you’re using the right amount of soap.”


Oprah’s organics coming to a yuppie market near you

Lifestyle guru Oprah Winfrey is adding her weight to a popular lifestyle choice that has nothing to do with food safety by getting into the lucrative organic food biz.

The New York Post reports that according to online filings for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Organization, several applications for “Oprah’s Organics” were filed late last month. The filings are to use the name for bath soaps, sunscreen, massage oils, hair products — and also for organic salad dressings and frozen vegetables, soups, beverages and snack dips. Applications for “Oprah’s Farm” for a beverage and catering service and “Oprah’s Harvest” were also submitted for this

A rep for Winfrey told us: “The trademarks were filed for Oprah’s farm on Maui to enable the farm to grow and distribute produce on Maui and throughout the Hawaiian Islands.”

Kudos to Cargill for showing Oprah how meat is made

The bartender was riveted. So was the waitress. My requests for a beverage
on a quiet Tuesday afternoon in Kansas City in 1998 would have to wait until
commercial. Such was the power of Oprah.

That’s Oprah Winfrey – actress cum talk show diva – who today did a segment on beef production as part of her go-vegan spiel.

The results were far more conciliatory than earlier meat outings on Oprah, and the credit goes to Cargill, who opened one of their Colorado processing plants to Oprah’s cameras and rather than resort to a corporate spokesthingy, featured a surprisingly effective Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, the plant’s general manager.

Things didn’t go so well for the meat folks in 1996.

On March 29, 1996, nine days after the U.K. officially linked bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, with a new human disease, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced they were expediting regulations prohibiting ruminant protein in ruminant feeds, boosting
surveillance and expanding research.

The same day, several producer groups, including the U.S. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), issued a statement supporting the moves and instituted a voluntary ban on ruminant protein in ruminant feed. Draft legislation was published in January 1997 and enacted into law later that year.

Then came Oprah. On April 16, 1996, Oprah announced during a show on food safety and mad cow disease she would stop eating hamburgers because of fears over BSE and that she was shocked after a guest said meat and bone meal made from cattle was routinely fed to other cattle to boost their meat and milk production.

The camera showed members of the studio audience gasping in surprise as vegetarian activist Howard Lyman explained how cattle parts and downer cattle (downer is the generic term used to describe cattle who can simply no longer stand) were rendered and fed to other cattle, and that BSE could make AIDS look like a common cold. The chief scientist for the U.S. National Cattleman’s Beef Association, rather than stressing the risk management actions that had been taken, was left arguing that cows were not vegetarians because they drank milk.

Today’s broadcast was different. Foodie journalist Michael Pollan wants people to know where their food comes from; Cargill obliged.

“Lisa Ling travels to Colorado, where Cargill, the biggest producer of ground beef in the world, gives her a rare inside look at how our meat is made.

“Upon arrival, the cattle are held in pens for two hours to calm them before they’re sent to be slaughtered. Each cow is then shot in the head with a bolt, which renders it insensible to pain. The cow’s artery is then cut, and about two minutes later, it dies from blood loss. After the animal’s death, the body is immediately washed, the skin is removed, and within minutes, the workers also remove the hooves, the hide and the head. The carcass is then moved to a giant cooler, where it stays for up to two days. After it’s been inspected and graded, it’s packaged, loaded on trucks and soon ends up in our local restaurants and stores.

“Nicole says she was happy to have Lisa at the plant, because she thinks people should know where their food is coming from. ‘I would not ridicule people who believe that you shouldn’t eat animals, but I would say that we are committed to doing it right. And I believe that when animals are handled with dignity and harvested carefully, that’s the natural order of things,’ says Nicole.

Whether you eat meat or not, Nicole thinks everyone who’s interested in the American food system can work together to create better results. ‘I think we’re all on the same path trying to figure out the right way to get to good health for our families and environmental sustainability and humane treatment,’ she says. ‘We’ll find a better result together, even if we have perhaps different perspectives or different beliefs.’”

The slaughterhouse portion of the video is available at:=

Smart patient checklist from Oprah’s Dr. Oz

Tuesday’s Oprah had Dr. Oz talking to viewers about the smart patient checklist. Dr. Oz believes there are eight ways to avoid medical mistakes: preventing infection, avoiding wrong-site surgery, not commencing in chitchat, using a high-tech hospital, using a hospital that uses a patient care checklist, using a nationally accredited hospital, knowing the hospital you are using, and being a smart patient.

Preventing infections is straightforward. “You’re in an environment that has sick people in it who have infections themselves,” says Dr. Oz. Also, “It’s so easy to spread to you.”

Asking people to wash their hands before touching you, keeping hand sanitizer near your bedside, and avoiding bacteria-promoting items (flowers and jewelry) will help reduce your chance of getting a hospital-acquired infection. Other helpful tips include asking the doctor or nurse to wash their hands, sanitize their medical equipment (stethescope, sphygmomonometer, etc.), and to clean general patient room equipment (phone, television remote, etc.).

More details about Dr. Oz’s smart patient checklist can be found on Oprah’s website.

Oh Oprah: Celebrity cook makes food safety errors

“Doug. Oprah is cross-contaminating everything.”

Sure enough, there was Oprah on TV this afternoon in a repeat broadcast, with Christina Ferrare, who is supposedly cooking Oprah’s holiday meals.

In a three minute segment, Oprah and her gal pal managed to repeatedly touch raw poultry and then touch everything else on her celebrity kitchen set – including cooked poultry – never once washed their hands, incorrectly inserted a meat thermometer into the bird, and said the bird had to be cooked to 180-185F. The correct temperature is 165F.

Christina will not be cooking any of my meals. I’m sure she is relieved.