This is a handwashing sign

The Moose Cree First Nation (formerly known as Moose Factory Band of Indians) is a Cree First Nation band government in northern Ontario, Canada. Their traditional territory is on the west side of James Bay. The nation has two reservesFactory Island 1 (the northern two-thirds of Moose Factory Island); and Moose Factory 68, a tract of land about 15 km upstream on the Moose River covering 168.82 square kilometres (65.18 sq mi).[

My friend, who has been canoeing down the Moose River for the last week found this in the restaurant at Moose Factory (you aren’t Canadian unless you know how to make love, or just have sex, in a canoe).

Maybe signs would work: Avacado theft in New Zealand

Someone is stealing avocados in New Zealand. Not just picking a handful to make guacamole for a picnic, but driving up to orchards in the dark of night, using rakes to sweep hundreds from trees, collecting them in blankets and driving off to sell them illegally at road stands, grocery stores and small restaurants in Auckland, according to police.

theft-sign-proofThe problem appears to be one of surging demand and short supply, avocado industry officials say. Traditionally, the soft green fruit have been grown largely for export, but local consumers have been rapidly acquiring a taste for them — just as heavy rainfall in neighbouring Australia badly damaged last year’s harvest. As a result, the price has more than tripled, reaching as high as $NZ6 per avocado ($5.70 in Australian dollars) and fuelling a spate of stealth robberies by enterprising thieves.

“It’s an easy way to make a quick buck, but I don’t think we are dealing with a sophisticated or highly organised operation here, more opportunistic,” Jen Scoular, chief executive officer of New Zealand’s avocado association, was quoted as saying in the Guardian on Wednesday. Officials said there have been dozens of thefts. In the most recent incident, police said, midnight bandits liberated 350 avocados from an orchard in the Bay of Plenty area on the country’s north island.

Police warned that anyone handling or eating the purloined pears may be facing a health risk, because those that have been recently sprayed with pesticides could carry toxins on their skins. No violence or confrontations have been reported in connection with the crime wave, but Scoular said many growers are installing automatic light and alarm systems to protect their lucrative crops.

Restaurant inspection disclosure in Belgium

There’s something lost in translation in a story that food safety friend Albert Amgar provided, but I don’t want to bother him, but do want to publish the groovy graphic.

The story is about an interview with some group, and a person says, “Generally, the Belgians do not like to be regulated and controlled. This is even more true when it exercises an independent business. Today, have realized that these controls are now part of best practices. And frankly, in Hainaut, inspectors are relatively accommodating.

“They are not to annoy or to prevent restaurateurs from doing their job. When they see that you are of good will, they show understanding. Of course, if breaches, hygiene especially its obvious, here it does not forgive …”


Restaurant inspection apps are coming for smart phones

Diners in Kanawha County, West Virginia will soon be able to check their mobile phones for restaurant inspections.

Dr. Rahul Gupta, executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, told The Charleston Gazette he is developing a mobile application featuring inspections for all restaurants in the county.

He secured funding for the application three years ago, he said, when presenting the idea to the state Legislature. The idea can get off the ground with renewed interest in reforming the county’s health inspections, he said.

Gupta also presented the proposed changes to the county’s health inspections, modeled after Albany County, N.Y.

Beginning in July, Albany County will require restaurants to post a sign near the front of the entrance explaining the establishment’s sanitary inspection results. The sign will indicate Excellent Compliance, Good Compliance or Fair Compliance with the county’s health code. Restaurants that received unsatisfactory ratings will be shut down and re-inspected within days.

Texas proposes changes to salmonella warnings for handling reptiles (another of my favorite reads) reports the Texas Department of State Health Services has proposed changes to the wording reptile retailers in Texas use on signs warning customers about salmonella. The deadline for the public to submit comments is Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010.

Current law requires all retail stores that sell reptiles to post warning signs and distribute written warnings about reptile-associated salmonellosis. The signs are to include recommendations for preventing the transmission of salmonella. The proposed changes, according to the department, allow for consistency with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.

If approved, the warning signs would have to include the following recommendations, at minimum.

• Persons should always wash their hands thoroughly with soap and running water after handling reptiles or reptile cages or after contact with reptile feces or the water from reptile containers or aquariums. Wash your hands before you touch your mouth.

• Persons at increased risk for infection or serious complications of salmonellosis, such as children younger than 5 years of age, the elderly, and persons whose immune systems have been weakened by pregnancy, disease (for example, cancer) or certain medical treatments (for example, chemotherapy) should avoid contact with reptiles and any items that have been in contact with reptiles.

• Reptiles should be kept out of households or facilities that include children younger than 5 years of age, the elderly, or persons whose immune systems have been weakened by pregnancy, disease (for example, cancer) or certain medical treatments (for example, chemotherapy). Families expecting a new child should remove any reptile from the home before the infant arrives.

• Reptiles should not be allowed to roam freely throughout the home or living area. Wash and disinfect surfaces that the reptile or its cage has contacted.

• Reptiles should be kept out of kitchens and other areas where food or drink is prepared or consumed. Kitchen sinks should not be used to bathe reptiles or to wash their dishes, cages or aquariums. If bathtubs are used for these purposes, they should be cleaned thoroughly and disinfected with bleach. Wear disposable gloves when washing the dishes, cages or aquariums.

The signs would also have to include a statement notifying customers that even though reptiles may not appear sick at the time of purchase, they may carry salmonella bacteria, which can make people sick.

The entire proposal is available at:

Do not stand on toilets; a graphical illustration

We’ve seen a lot of toilets along the highways and byways while making the 19-hour drive from Arkansas to Anna Maria Island, Florida, including a couple of special ones in the middle of the night on Alabama back roads (it was a shortcut).

I told the woman encased in her plastic booth at a Shell station off I-75 in northern Florida that the men’s room was out of paper towel: she sneered.

But the best sign came from the toilets at the Southbank splash park and playground in Brisbane, Australia, where people apparently have a unique approach to using the facilities.

Do handwashing signs make people safe?

Jon Stewart said in 2002,

“If you think the 10 commandments being posted in a school is going to change behavior of children, then you think “Employees Must Wash Hands” is keeping the piss out of your happy meals. It’s not.”

But that doesn’t stop a health department in Pennsylvania from proclaiming “free handwashing signs help keep petting zoos safe.”

Summer fairs and festivals can get free handwashing signs from the Allegheny County Health Department for their petting zoos and farm animal exhibits.

Signs are nice, but maybe the health department should be using their scarce resources to ensure there are suitable handwashing facilities at such exhibits. And that fair promoters know how to properly clean up poop.

Washing your hands, California style

Doug and I are in L.A. for a few days and I’ve appreciated the prominent handwashing signs in public and private lavatories. This one comes from the outdoor Public Restroom off the beach at the famous Gladstone’s of Malibu seafood restaurant. I read the sign when I walked into the bathroom, but when I tried to wash my hands, the water came out of the faucet in a tiny trickle. The water pressure in their indoor/private facility was slightly better but still conservative. It’s impressive to have signage that indicates all the different times when one should wash her hands, but if the facilities are lacking, there isn’t much point.

The second sign, found today at a beach café in Long Beach, CA was also interesting because the Spanish appears larger than the English part. I also like the idea that I’m breaking state law if I do not wash my damn hands before returning to work.