Go with data or go home: It’s still a f*cking pink chicken

Steve Sayer of MeatingPlace, the home of all things meat, has much praise for Food Safety Scotland’s pink chicken advice, which is apparently grounded to “ensure that public information and advice on food safety, standards, and pink.chicken.fss.jun.16nutrition are accurate while being consumer-focused. It’s obvious that the FSS plucked the pink chicken mascot to warn Scottish consumers about the possibility of getting sick by consuming seemingly under-grilled/cooked chicken that’s still pink internally.

“However, the only exception was the insistence that the internal color of properly grilled chicken should never be pink.

“The USDA has long stated that reaching the internal temperature of 165 degrees F., (by measuring at the thickest part of the chicken) will kill pathogens and is safe to consume. The USDA has also claimed that the internal coloring is not always an accurate indicator whether chicken is properly cooked or grilled, which includes, you guessed it, the color pink.

“Don’t get me wrong, I think the Scot’s pink message bird is rather clever and its intent admirable, as it could very well lessen the amount of people undercooking their summer grilled chicken. But the fact remains it’s not completely accurate.”

It’s a f*ucking pink chicken and it’s wrong.

So how can anything else this science-based organization say be accepted as accurate?

Go with the data or go home.

Waste of money.

It’s still a f*cking pink chicken

I’m guessing she doesn’t like my it’s still a f*cking pink chicken approach.

cooked.chickenBut color is a lousy indicator of safety, only a thermometer can do that (right, safe chicken, and this photo has been around for 20 years)

Coral Beach of Food Safety News however, thinks the f*cking pink chicken is brought to you by an unidentified genius in the PR department at Food Standards Scotland, and its new summer barbecue food safety campaign has a catchy slogan and a hilarious super villain.

Dubbed simply Pink Chicken, the super villain is scheduled to travel the hills and dales of the tiny nation for three months, visiting beach partiers and backpackers while “creating mayhem and ‘spoiling’ summer” according to the Scottish food safety agency.

Since I’m an American and write in American English, I can say this without fear of profanity filters blocking me: It’s bloody brilliant.

No, it’s a f*cking pink chicken and it’s dumb.

It also goes against evidence- or science-based reasoning.

Guess that’s where we differ.

And I’m not an educator, I provide information. People make their own choices. Education is up to individuals.

Food safety is not simple, so stop saying it

It’s not simple.

Food safety is not simple.

food-safety-1But wanker organizations and bureaucrats around the world insist it is.


Food safety is not simple.

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has launched its festive food safety campaign, urging Christmas cooks to follow simple food safety tips when preparing meals.

The campaign uses tongue-in-cheek humour to get the food safety message across, featuring Santa Claus stricken by a bout of food poisoning. 

Geoff Ogle said there are number of simple things that people could do to help reduce food poisoning infections. He added: “These should include allowing adequate time to defrost your turkey in the bottom of your fridge or somewhere cold: large turkeys can take a couple of days. If it’s not completely de-frosted it can mean inconsistent cooking through the bird and won’t get rid of bugs like campylobacter which can cause food poisoning.

“Also make sure it’s cooked through until the juices run clear, store leftovers in the fridge and eat them within two days unless they’ve been frozen, and re-heat them just once. And keep your fridge temperature at 0-5°C.”

Use a thermometer. Juices running clear is terrible advice.

But food safety is simple.

And if you get sick, it’s your fault.

Venison E. coli outbreak numbers reach 11 in Scotland

Another person has been diagnosed with E. coli in an outbreak linked with venison, Health Protection Scotland has said.

side-of-venison1-360x360All 11 of those now affected by the same strain of E. coli O157 had consumed venison which was purchased raw and cooked at home before falling ill.

Health watchdogs have linked the outbreak to Dundee firm Highland Game.

None of the 11 patients are in hospital.

A spokeswoman for Highland Game previously said a full inspection of the Dundee premises had been undertaken following the “very rare incident”, and said there was “no substantiated evidence to support the actual source of the outbreak.”

Corporate BS.

Scotland teen’s summer cut short by E. coli

Joey Comstock, a junior at Caledonia-Mumford High School, summer vacation came to an unexpectedly quick close in late August.

e.coli.scotlandA sudden and violent onset of illness came over Comstock and he spent the remaining days of his summer vacation in Golisano Children’s Hospital in Rochester. Doctors determined that the teen was infected with E. coli.

On Aug. 21, Comstock became ill with what his parents Terri Comstock and David Straub thought was a stomach bug. The following day, Joey was worse and his mother called the doctor who reassured her it was probably a virus and not to worry.

By Sunday morning, the teen was worse and was disoriented. He was making no sense at all, his mother said.

A second call to the doctor led to the recommendation that the teen go to the emergency room for evaluation.

“The longer we were in the emergency room, the less he knew or could make sense,” Terri Comstock said.

She was convinced her son was just dehydrated but after numerous tests, the doctors determined that Comstock’s kidneys were not functioning. He was started on an intravenous dose of antibiotics and placed on dialysis. The teen spent seven days in the intensive care unit where doctors  confirmed their diagnosis that Comstock had contracted E. coli.  As a result, the teen suffered hemolytic uremic syndrome, or kidney failure.

9 sick: E. coli O157 linked to venison products in Scotland

Scottish health officials have confirmed they were investigating a number of cases of E. coli O157 across the country.

hqdefaultHowever, they refused to identify which areas were affected by the outbreak or the ages of the victims although it is thought they are a mixture of adults and children.

The bacterium, which is common in deer, causes people to become ill with stomach cramps, vomiting, often bloody diarrhea and fever. It can prove fatal in some cases, especially for the elderly and young children.

The latest outbreak is linked to venison products purchased from “various outlets”, including sausages, grill steaks, steaks and meatballs which were cooked at home.

Venison has enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years, thanks to marketing campaigns, mentions by TV chefs and greater uptake by high-street retailers.

Health Protection Scotland (HPS) said eight of the latest victims were now recovering at home while one patient remains in hospital.

Officials were unable to say whether further cases will emerge over the coming days, although the fear will be that many more people will fall ill.

Scotland’s leading expert in bacteriology, Emeritus Professor Hugh Pennington, of the University of Aberdeen, said Scotland had hundreds of cases of E. coli every year resulting in a small number of deaths, adding, “Here we go again. In the past it was the fast-food outlets that were the issue with rare burgers but now the cases are increasingly linked to home cooking.

“I think the latest outbreak which I believe is linked to venison products is carried out on the premise that all cases resulted from a single event such as a deer carcass severely riddle by E.coli which is totally invisible to the eye, but of course they have to do a lot of testing to establish the facts.”

side-of-venison1-360x360A statement on the latest cases said: “Health Protection Scotland is investigating nine confirmed cases of E.coli O157 PT32 across Scotland. These cases have all consumed various venison products including, venison sausages, grill steaks, steaks and meatballs which were raw when purchased and cooked at home.”

Dr Syed Ahmed, consultant in health protection and clinical director, stressed there were simple ways to avoid infection and added: “It is important that all deer meat should be cooked thoroughly and should not be eaten medium or rare. The risk of E.col O157 infection can be reduced by carful handwashing, especially after contact with animals, handling raw meats, after going to the toilet and immediately before preparing or eating food and by making sure that food is always properly prepared.”

Not so simple.

The advice fails to mention cooking with a thermometer – what is medium or rare? – and the risks of cross-contamination.

Lynn, Scotland needs you: Hospital, schools and shops slammed

Schools, nurseries, Edinburgh College, the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and Jenners are among hundreds of businesses to fail basic food hygiene inspections in the Capital.

if.it's.not.scotish.it's.crapFour schools, five nurseries and two playgroups have been served with an Improvement Required notice by food safety authorities.

The Royal Edinburgh failed its hygiene inspection in November, with officials ordering NHS chiefs to repair a kitchen floor covering, install an extra wash-hand basin and segregate ready-to-eat and raw vegetables.

Figures obtained by the Evening News through a Freedom of Information request show that 431 businesses across the Capital received an Improvement Required notice in inspections carried out since January last year – with 129 failing the test on all three categories of hygiene, confidence in management and structure.

The Scottish food hygiene system offers just two options to council inspectors – Pass and Improvement Required – in contrast to the rankings used in England and Wales which rate each business on a scale of one to five.

And in Scotland, unlike Wales and Northern Ireland, restaurants do not have to display their most recent hygiene standard rating.

Scotland’s new food standards regulator must be a strong independent consumer champion

I vote for Lynn (right, exactly as shown) who’s either really happy to see me or holding a fish.

lynn.fish.mar.15The UK consumerist outfit, Which? has called on the new food standards organisation for Scotland to “operate transparently as a strong, independent consumer champion”.

The organisation has set out a priority list for the new Food Standards Scotland agency’s first year, including ensuring it adequately tackles food fraud and misleading practices.

The FSS is launched today, taking over full operational control from the Food Standards Agency, providing Scotland with regulation and independent advice on food safety and standards, food information and nutrition.

Which? said it should act on recommendations of reports conducted in the wake of the 2013 horsemeat contamination scandals by Chris Elliott, professor of food safety and director of the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University, Belfast and Professor Jim Scudamore for the Scottish Government. That would mean improving intelligence gathering, stepping up surveillance and investigating and prosecuting potential breaches.

Campy surge in Scotland

More than 6,000 people fell ill as a result of Campylobacter, which is present in raw meat particularly poultry, last year.

andy.murrayInfants and toddlers were among those who suffered the symptoms such as sickness and diarrhea, with a 25 per cent increase in cases recorded among those under the age of four.

In total 6,636 cases were confirmed by NHS laboratories during 2014, a rise of 7.7 per cent compared to the previous year. Experts say the actual number of people likely to have fallen ill will be higher as not everyone who experiences food poisoning contacts the health service for advice.

There were 355 confirmed cases among pre-schoolers in 2014 and 284 in 2013.

At the start of last summer the Food Standards Agency launched a campaign about Campylobacter, saying it was the most common cause of food poisoning even though more people have heard of salmonella and E. coli.

One of their key messages is not to wash raw chicken as splashed droplets can spread the bacteria across hands, clothing, work surfaces and cooking equipment.

Commonwealth Games athletes’ village outbreak report released

In July over 80 staff and volunteers were hit with a touch of the norovirus prior to the Commonwealth Games (the Olympics, sort of, except the only nations invited are part of the British, uh, commonwealth). According to Herald Scotland, HS Greater Glasgow and Clyde released a report (unfortunately we can’t locate it to mine it for other gems) that states that the lack of (and inappropriate) cleaning and sanitation of a specific washroom was to blame – and so was using ineffective alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead of handwashing.2014_Commonwealth_Games_Logo.svg

Now identified as the very common but debilitating norovirus, the bug was first reported on July 15. The Games opened on July 23.

The report said: “This outbreak did not have serious public health consequences. However, due to the timing of the outbreak, there was a risk to the success of the Games if the virus spread beyond the security staff and cases were reported among athletes and team officials.

“Because of the association with the Commonwealth Games there was immense media and political interest.”

The report reveals “deficiencies of cleaning” at the Athletes’ Village. It said: “Some areas of the Village were not covered by any cleaning arrangements. These included the pedestrian screening area, general security areas and one block of toilets being used by security staff.”

It found staff were using the “wrong type of alcohol hand gel, which would not have been effective against norovirus” rather than washing with soap and water.

It also discovered three different cleaning firms contracted at the site were using different products, including quaternary ammonium compounds, which do not kill norovirus. Staff, the report found, did not know how to report something that needed cleaned up.

Eighty of the 83 cases were security staff. No athlete was affected. 

Environmental health officers, meanwhile, checked temporary toilet blocks and found they were substandard. The report said: “In many cases, there were no hand washing facilities with only non-gold standard hand gels being provided.”

Games organisers said their catering, cleaning and waste planning regime was “fully compliant with all relevant industry standards” and insisted they quickly teamed up with health officials to overcome the bug.

Missing a restroom on a list of sanitation stops, using incorrect sanitizers (like quats) in the middle of an outbreak and having only alcohol-based hand sanitizers (that apparently weren’t VF481) isn’t industry best practice.