103 sickened at Egyptian wedding

Mariam Nabbout of Step Feed reports 103 wedding guests got food poisoning from meals they were served at a marriage ceremony. Before the arrests, the incident was reported to Al Zakazik Police Station, who then launched an investigation into the matter.

Samples of the meal were sent to a lab for testing 

Police have since obtained samples of the food served at the wedding from leftovers stored at the groom’s house. The rice and meat dish that was served to the guests will now be tested for suspected contamination.

News of the incident is all over Twitter.

Young and fearless

We were driving home from Florida – to escape the Canadian winter for a week – and back then we’d do the 24 hours with four kids in one shot in early 1996, and this song came on an American radio station.

I thought it was awesome.

Then I said, is that Sloan?

We didn’t have Google or phone tethering back then, so just argued, as you do.

This youthful enthusiasm encapsulates everything I miss about universities and why I hate  the smothering bureaucracy they have become.

Things that are cool about Canada on this Canada Day (and it ain’t us)

Wayne Gretzky

Neil Young

Dan Ackroyd

Phil Hartman

Robbie Robertson

Alexander Graham Bell


Lorne Michaels

Kids in the Hall

Blue Rodeo

Leslie Neilson

Tragically Hip

Frederick Banting




Hockey (the ice kind, and the girls kind)

And the warmth and understanding for an 18-year-old who killed two other guys in a 1981 car crash.

G turns to D: From one chord to another

It was 20 years ago today that Sloan released their third album, One Chord to Another.

I first heard the song, Everything You’ve Done Wrong, driving home from Florida with the family and said, that sounds like Sloan. But it doesn’t. And I like it.

That album/CD would become a mainstay of my lab as I became a shiny, happy professor in Sept. 1996.

I’ve had lots of nostalgia in the past few weeks, hanging out with some long-time food safety buddies (the best way to fix food safety – close all the takeaways and fire all the vets), chilling in France, being quoted on food safety for Ramadan in a publication in Pakistan, and getting interviewed for a professoring job.

But nostalgia only goes so far.

I will always (attempt) to teach someone to skate.

I never turn down a request from students (but almost always from bureaucrats).

I love my wife and children.


Surveys still suck but this involves Chipotle, so it’s fun (for me)

The Daily Meal asked the public what impact, if any, the six-foodborne-illness-outbreaks-in-six months has had on the number of times they dine at Chipotle.Dan Myers writes 450 people responded, and here are the results:

chipotle.slide.jan.16I’ve never eaten at Chipotle, and I’m not about to start now:  5.9%

I’ve cut back on dining there, but haven’t completely stopped: 6.8%

I held off during the outbreak, but will start eating there again now that it’s over: 13.8%

It didn’t affect my Chipotle addiction at all: 21.8%

I’ve stopped dining there completely: 46.5%

Nearly half of all respondents have sworn off Chipotle completely, while only a relatively small percentage is planning on returning at all! At the other end of the spectrum, however, more than 20 percent of respondents remained loyal throughout the outbreak, food poisoning risk be damned. These loyalists weren’t enough to fend off a major drop in sales, however.

Chipotle has spent millions of dollars trying to woo customers back, and will continue to spend more, and the chain is confident that this plan will work. But if nearly half of its customer base swears the chain off for good, can it ever really recover?

Sloan slams lawyers again

Americans don’t get The Tragically Hip, but they seem to like the pop-oriented tunes of Nova Scotia’s Sloan when introduced – although no one down here has heard of them.

The 1996 Sloan song, Autobiography, often comes to mind when I read dribble from the blog, Defending Food Safety, written by some lawyers somewhere.

When you find you’re a conformer
Take pride and swallow whole
But if you’re trying to climb the ladder
Don’t let people walk over you
Because that’s just what they’ll do

The latest swallow had to do with an entry that begins,

“It’s no secret that virtually all foods are safe if handled properly. Indeed, according to FDA, most food-borne (sic) illnesses are avoidable if consumers follow proper food handling techniques. This is true whether consumers are shopping for products, transporting them home or preparing them in their kitchen."

I’m not sure what consumers have to do with contaminated peanut butter, pet food, pot pies, frozen pizzas, bagged spinach, carrot juice, lettuce, tomatoes, canned chili sauce, hot peppers and white pepper.

And I’m not sure where such lawyerly assertions about the source of foodborne illness come from – we’ve written a peer-reviewed article about where foodborne illness happens and argue it’s the wrong question.

Contaminated food for resale found during Michigan traffic stop

Driving the long stretches of big sky country in Kansas, the mind can wander. I wonder what’s in that rental truck up there, the one I may pass in the next hour. Maybe it’s a load of fresh produce in a truck that was moving chickens the week before; maybe it’s a widely popular Canadian band tyring to break into the U.S. where they are unknown; maybe it’s a crystal meth lab.

The Grand Rapid Press reports that during a routine traffic stop at the eastbound Int. 96 weigh station near Ionia this week, motor carrier officers discovered a large quantity of perishable food being transported in a nonrefrigerated rental truck.

Inspectors discovered a case of Biofeel, a yogurt drink included in a nationwide import alert on dairy products originating from Asia because of the melamine contamination of baby food and milk products in some Asian countries.

Inspectors seized and destroyed more than 2,000 pounds of food products, including tofu, dairy, meat, seafood and noodles. They also seized 200 pounds of beef that had not passed USDA inspection.

And since that video of the Canadian band I like is no longer available on youtube, here’s a different version, circa 1999.

Losing California

That’s the title of one of my favorite Sloan songs off their best album, 1999’s Between the Bridges, all about the Nova Scotian’s band rise to obscurity in California and deciding to stay in Canada (and featured ever-so briefly as one of the albums the cool kids try to steal from John Cusack’s Championship Vinyl in one of my all-time top-five movies, High Fidelity).

I understand. Sloan bassist Chris Murphy plays hockey in Toronto. My girls used to listen to Losing California as part of their pre-game ritual to get pumped up. They even met Chris and Patrick from Sloan during one of their Guelph concerts. I miss the hockey.

But I don’t miss the cold. So Amy and I are off for a weekend of beach strolling in Los Angeles, after I deliver a talk to the California Food Protection Association annual meeting on Friday.

They’re Losing California. Inch by inch, sit back and watch it go.