Everyone’s got a camera: Detroit sports park employee brags about spitting in food

A Comerica Park employee has been fired and arrested after he was filmed spitting in pizzas.

The employee, who has not been named, told coworker Quinell May that he was going to spit in the food and that he filmed the act so he would be able to show it to management. He said when he left his position to contact management, however, he was fired for not working.

In a statement, Detroit Sportservice, which caters at Comerica Park, said   the food station was closed as soon as they learned about the food tampering.

“As soon as we became aware through social media of potential food tampering, we immediately closed that food stand, disposed of all the product and contacted the Detroit Police Department. We have been told by police that the worker has been arrested and is in custody, pending charges,” Detroit Sportservice wrote.

A NY rat carries a slice of pizza into the subway

Here’s a video of a very determined rat carrying a slice of pizza down stairs and into our hearts.

RatatouilleThe disturbing and oddly endearing 14-second video is going viral on Facebook and Twitter, being touted by many as “the most New York thing ever.” The YouTube clip was ostensibly shot in New York City on stairs leading down to the subway.

Why is it so popular? Well, it’s Monday. This has to be a metaphor for something.

Obviously, the Internet is having some fun with #pizzarat.

“I have taken the pizza wasted on the subway forgive me it was wasted on the ground forgive me it was so pizza and I’m a rat”


Washington man sues Domino’s over wire bristles left in pizza

JoNel Aleccia, now of The Seattle Times, writes that an Auburn man is suing a local Domino’s Pizza outlet over claims he swallowed wire bristles from a cleaning brush left behind in his takeout order, which pierced his intestines and required emergency surgery.

pizza.oven.wire.brushMike Norman, 50, a Boeing product manager, said he took one bite of a Canadian bacon and pineapple pizza Sept. 19, only to feel a “sharp tearing” in his throat. He washed the pizza down with juice and bread, but said he later felt a “dull pain” in his gut.

Doctors eventually removed two 1 ½-inch fine-gauge wire bristles from his stomach, according to a complaint filed this week in Pierce County Superior Court. One of the wires had pierced Norman’s small bowel, doctors told his wife, Diane Norman, 48, a preschool teacher and day-care operator.

“It could have been lethal,” she said. Mike Norman’s abdomen now sports a 5-inch scar, photos show.

Kenra Keller, vice president of Carpe Diem Pizza Inc., which does business as Domino’s Pizza 7047, in Milton, Pierce County, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Tim McIntyre, a spokesman for Domino’s Pizza corporate offices, said by email that he couldn’t comment on a lawsuit filed against an independently owned franchise, but he added that such businesses are required to follow local, state and federal health regulations.

The Normans, who are represented by Seattle food-safety lawyer Bill Marler, are seeking damages for injuries and loss of income. But they said they’d also like to send a wider warning to food-service employees — and consumers — about the rare but risky danger posed by using wire-bristle brushes to scour grills and ovens. 

Food Safety Talk 57: My Own Tea Mule

Food Safety Talk, a bi-weekly podcast for food safety nerds, by food safety nerds. The podcast is hosted by Ben Chapman and barfblog contributor Don Schaffner, Extension Specialist in Food Science and Professor at Rutgers University. Every two weeks or so, Ben and Don get together virtually and talk for about an hour.  They talk about what’s on their minds or in the news regarding food safety, and popular culture. They strive to be relevant, funny and informative — sometimes they succeed. You can download the audio recordings right from the website, or subscribe using iTunes.1395011368356

The guys started the show by sharing some family traditions including watching Jeopardy and drinking Rooibos tea.

They then discussed some raw milk questions posed by raw milk producer. Don suggested that there was specific scientific evidence to answer many of them. He also wondered about the scientific basis of some of the information presented in a recent RMI webinar.

Don then shared that he’ll be podcast cheating again on an upcoming Raw Food Real Talk episode on cottage food. The guys then transitioned to a recent cheese related Listeriosis outbreak affecting members of the Hispanic community. While health authorities have released some information on illnesses and the product there are many questions that are still to be answered.

After a false start and then covering the last part of the IAFP History, the 2000’s, Ben put out a call to listeners for important outbreaks and food safety landmarks that Ben and Don could discuss in the upcoming Outbreak Flashback segment. It will be groovy. And have a disco theme.

The guys then turned to pizza and Alton Brown, who Don went to see live. Alton had dropped the pizza base before cooking it and that got Don worried about what message this was sending. Ben was amused by Alton’s Twitter feed and fascinated by his earlier career. While on the pizza topic, Ben found some really stretched science reporting of this research article. The press release reminded the guys of Betteridge’s law of headlines. The answer is always no.

The discussion of media reminded Don of this Andrew Gelman post about how to get your university press release reprinted by The Washington Post. Don concluded that the best practices for engaging people are also despicable. Ben suggested sometimes science-types need to go to where people are engaged and sort of play the same game. To quote Merlin Mann from 43 Folders: “Joining a Facebook group about creative productivity is like buying a chair about jogging.”

To finish off, Ben raised the issue of consumers not following label instructions, as was the case with E. coli in Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough. Ben wanted to know how consumers learn about products and how to use those products.

In the after dark the guys covered Picturelife, and Siri not having what Don was looking for, which he posted on Facebook.

But how did E. coli O121 get into frozen pizza? 35 sick from Farm Rich Brand Frozen Food products

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, a total of 35 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O121 (STEC O121) were reported from 19 states:

• 82% of ill persons were 21 years of age or younger;

• 31% of ill persons were hospitalized; and,

• two ill persons developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

Collaborative investigative efforts of local, state, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicated Farm Rich brand frozen food products Farm-Rich-Pizza-Slices-recall-jpgwere the source of this outbreak.

On April 4, 2013, Rich Products Corporation expanded its recall to include all Farm Rich, Market Day, and Schwan’s brand frozen food products produced at its Waycross, Georgia plant between July 1, 2011 and March 29, 2013 due to possible contamination with E. coli O121.

The recalled products had “Best By” dates ranging from January 1, 2013 to September 29, 2014.

This outbreak appears to be over. However, the recalled products have a long shelf-life, and they may still be in peoples’ freezers.

Trainer says Michael Jordan’s Flu Game linked to bad pizza

Michael Jordan kind of defined an era for me. Growing up in the early 90s, I was swept up by the awesomeness of the Chicago Bulls and the hip culture surrounding the NBA. After school most days I shot hoops in my best friend’s backyard; I watched all the nationally televised NBA games on TV; and, I had an unhealthy obsession with Nike Air Jordan shoes.MJ-Scottie

In June 1997, at the pinnacle of my formative high school years, an epic NBA Finals game between the Bulls and Utah Jazz happened – now known as The Flu Game. Jordan wasn’t sure he was going to be able to play and had been rumored to have a 103F fever and gastro issues. Although looking exhausted during every stoppage in play he scored 38 points including a 3-pointer to seal the game with 25 seconds. The Bulls went on to win the next game and win the championship.  I started university a couple of months later and lost my interest in NBA basketball.

Gastro illnesses sweep through sports teams all the time (including 13 different NBA teams in 2010) leading to panicked fantasy owners, but according to ESPN, a former personal trainer says that Jordan’s illness was a result of some bad pizza.

Tim Grover, said it was food poisoning, not the flu, that affected the former Chicago Bulls star during Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals.

“Yes, 100 percent poisoned for (‘The Flu Game’),” Grover said on TrueHoop TV. “Everyone called it a ‘Flu Game,’ but we sat there and we were in the room, we were in Park City, Utah, up in a hotel. Room service stopped at like 9 o’clock. And he got hungry, and we really couldn’t find any other place to eat so we ordered … I said, ‘Hey, the only thing I could find is a pizza place.’ He said, ‘All right, order pizza.’ We had been there for a while, so everybody knows what hotel … I mean Park City (didn’t have) many hotels back then. Everybody kind of knew where we were staying.

“So we order a pizza, they come to deliver it, five guys come to deliver this pizza. And I’m just … I take the pizza, and I tell them, I said, ‘I got a bad feeling about this.’ I said, ‘I just got a bad feeling about this.’ Out of everybody in the room, he was the only one that ate. Nobody else … then 2 o’clock in the morning, I get a call to my room. I come to the room, he’s curled up, he’s curled up in the fetal position. We’re looking at him. We’re finding the team physician at that time. And immediately I said, ‘It’s food poisoning.’ Guaranteed. Not the flu.”

Add amateur epidemiologist to Grover’s CV. I wonder what he thinks the pathogen was.

Pizzeria in Sweden mixed sauce with cement mixer

People send me things, and I am grateful. This one’s from Sweden, and some things may be lost in translation.

A customer at a pizzeria in Skåne who found a screw in his kebab went back the day after with his find to confront the pizza bakers. They expressed no surprise, but told me that other customers found the screws in the food, according to the customer who reported the incident.

“The screw was sitting on a pair of pliers that we use throughout the day to add to salad and finally to release it and fall into the kebab box. The screw is black and kebab is black – it’s not easy to see the time,” says the restaurant’s owner told DN.

It was March 8 that the customer bought a kebab at the pizzeria to take away and eat at home. In the food he found to his undisguised astonishment a screw. The day after he went back to the pizzeria to talk about the event and show the screw. The staff seemed, as the customer, do not be surprised, but told me that something like this happened before.

The customer reported the incident to the Environment Agency on the resort. In an unannounced inspection at the pizzeria told the staff that they noticed that the screw on a pair of pliers were plaster gone. It had been replaced with a new screw. Although a nut was missing on the forceps used it anyway in daily operations. Where the original screw gone had not thought about, according to the inspection report that DN seen.

It was also found during the inspection personnel to use a cement mixer for mixing sauces and dressings. It was painted with blue paint – paint flaked off in several places. 

Hot New York pizzeria Don Antonio closed by health dept

 A new New York pizzeria, Don Antonio, has already been shuttered by the Dept. of Health.

Eater reports a tipster spotted the yellow sign on the door yesterday, and when an Eater operative went by to snap a pic of the exterior, the management freaked out and said they’d call the cops.

The information from yesterday’s inspection isn’t up on the DOH site yet, but in March, an inspector found 22 violation points (enough for a B-Grade), including two critical violations: cold food held above 41º F, and evidence of mice or vermin. Don Antonio currently does not have a letter grade.

An employee at the restaurant said they hoped to get the restaurant open by tomorrow or Friday.

Verified: cooking the poop out of pepperoni pizza

I had grilled whole grouper during my Dubai dinner with Bobby the other night. Amy and Sorenne had frozen pizza in Brisbane.

Ever the safe food partner, Amy sent me the cooking instructions from the Emilia pizza mediterranea frozen pizza box which included:

“For food safety, bake to an internal temperature of 75 C as measured with a food thermometer.”

Such labels have become commonplace, at least in the U.S., after numerous outbreaks involving frozen, not-ready-to-eat foods.

In Nov. 2007, frozen pizza made headlines as all Totinos and Jenos pizzas with pepperoni were recalled due to contamination of E. coli O157:H7. The recall affected nearly 5 million pizzas and was linked as the cause of 21 confirmed illnesses throughout Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Five of the 21 ill required hospitalization.

The recall hit the Pillsbury USA ranges particularly hard, as net sales for the division fell two per cent.

At the time, I speculated, “People were probably cooking these in their toaster ovens or microwaves.” The manufacturer has a note on the cooking instructions discouraging the idea of cooking the pizza in a microwave. The advice, located next to the instructions was the smallest print on the box and might be easily ignored by consumers.

And just because something is written on a label doesn’t mean anyone follows the advice; research shows that labels are sorta lousy as a risk communication vehicle, but it’s there for those who care.

If some frozen pizza provider can recommend thermometers, why is it the best taxpayer-funded agencies like the UK Food Standards Agencies is to cook things until they’re piping hot?