Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, both the Canadian, in early October, and the American, today, the last Thursday in November.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has finally found a consistent voice and has recommendations to make #Thanksgiving safer. Bring your own food and drinks, stay at least 6 feet apart, and wash your hands often. Choose outdoor or well-ventilated spaces.
Most importantly, CDC and others strongly recommend to celebrate only with those you live with, and use virtual gatherings with others (I am exceedingly thankful for the electronic toys we have to help weather the pandemic; 1918 and the Spanish flu would have really sucked).
Of course, the current White House occupant is planning on hosting several parties throughout the holidays. Please ignore Trump et al. and listen to the science.
To that end, the N.Y. Times surveyed 635 epidemiologists and found that most are staying at home, and that those who are gathering with family or friends are taking precautions or rethinking their holiday rituals altogether.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving my American friends and colleagues, and be thankful that someone will live with you.
Australia has somewhat enviable statistics related to this pandemic and the lesson that America is only beginning to grasp is this: go fast, go hard and go smart to limit the spread of coronavirus or any illness.
Friend of the barfblog, Michéle Samarya-Timm, MA, HO, MCHES, REHS, health educator and registered environmental health specialist at the Somerset County Department of Health in Somerville, New Jersey, has graciously made time from the public health front lines to continue her U.S. Thanksgiving tradition of contributing to the barfblog.
It’s the 10th month of COVID-19 response for public health professionals in the U.S.
That’s 46 straight weeks (and counting) of conducting public testing clinics, providing COVID-19 information and test results, contact tracing, and educating on prevention.
In addition, public health has been proactive with regular disease prevention work, holding COVID-safe flu clinics, providing guidance to food establishments, schools and workplaces, and planning for the herculean task of vaccinating 70% of the population (twice) for COVID-19 as soon as the vaccine is delivered.
We do what we’ve been trained to do, and what needs to be done to protect our residents. It’s the prime directive of public health: prevent disease and save lives.
Be thankful, as I am, for their dedication and efforts as you pass the turkey…and pass the hand sanitizer.
This year, in addition to food safe practices to assure a disease-free meal, remember to add 3 W’s:
On Thanksgiving Day in 2016, as many as 1,100 people ate their holiday dinner at Golden Ponds Restaurant and Party House, which was located just up Long Pond Road from the Greece Town Hall in Rochester, N.Y.
Within 24 hours, patrons began to experience stomach pain, cramping and diarrhea. Some were hospitalized and at least one underwent emergency surgery.
Eventually, 306 people who dined at Golden Ponds that day reported they had been sickened by the food, officials at the Monroe County Department of Public Health now say.
A public-health investigation later determined that the pernicious Clostridium perfringens bacteria that made people ill was in gravy that had been stored and served at an unacceptably low temperature.
“Rest assured there are a significant number of people who will never think of Thanksgiving the same way,” said Paul Vincent Nunes, a Rochester lawyer who has brought lawsuits against the defunct Greece restaurant.
Golden Ponds is closed. The establishment at 500 Long Pond Road, which had been operated by Ralph Rinaudo for 33 years, was closed by the health department after the food poisoning episode. Improvements were made and the restaurant was allowed to open in late December. But business was predictably slow, and it closed for good in February 2017.
Rinaudo sold the property in January of this year to a corporation that shares the address of a Henrietta construction firm, Team FSI General Contractors. The building appears to be empty at present and future use of the property isn’t clear. Officials at FSI did not respond to a request for comment.
The health department has continued its practice of inspecting every restaurant once a year. It has not stepped up inspections of buffet-style eateries like Golden Ponds, spokesman Ryan Horey said. Inability to maintain food at the proper temperatures during buffet serving was key factor in the Golden Ponds incident. The Democrat and Chronicle checked inspection records available on nydatabases.com for six Rochester-area buffet restaurants. Five of them have been cited by the health departments for serious violations involving foods being kept at the wrong temperature since the Golden Ponds episode.
Four lawsuits filed on behalf of 31 plaintiffs are pending against Golden Ponds. The four were consolidated into one case in July. Court-ordered mediation to seek a resolution before trial is set to begin soon. The cases are not suited for class-action status, as the damages incurred differed from one patron to the next, Nunes said.
Nunes said, “These were not just tummy aches. People were quite sick, some in the hospital. These are life-threatening events.”
In the run up to the beginning of the five-week orgy of food and shopping in the U.S. known as Thanksgiving, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and public health and regulatory officials in several states are investigating a multistate outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella infections linked to raw turkey products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) is monitoring the outbreak.
Seventy-four more ill people from 26 states were added to this investigation since the last update on July 19, 2018.
As of November 5, 2018, 164 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading have been reported from 35 states.
63 people have been hospitalized, and one death has been reported from California.
Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that raw turkey products from a variety of sources are contaminated with Salmonella Reading and are making people sick.
In interviews, ill people report eating different types and brands of turkey products purchased from many different locations. Three ill people lived in households where raw turkey pet food was fed to pets.
The outbreak strain has been identified in samples taken from raw turkey pet food, raw turkey products, and live turkeys.
A single, common supplier of raw turkey products or of live turkeys has not been identified.
The outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading is present in live turkeys and in many types of raw turkey products, indicating it might be widespread in the turkey industry. CDC and USDA-FSIS have shared this information with representatives from the turkey industry and asked about steps that they may be taking to reduce Salmonella contamination.
Always handle raw turkey carefully and cook it thoroughly to prevent food poisoning. This outbreak is a reminder that raw turkey products can have germs that spread around food preparation areas and can make you sick.
CDC is not advising that consumers avoid eating properly cooked turkey products, or that retailers stop selling raw turkey products.
CDC advises consumers to follow these steps to help prevent Salmonella infection from raw turkey:
Wash your hands. Salmonella infections can spread from one person to another. Wash hands before and after preparing or eating food, after contact with animals, and after using the restroom or changing diapers.
Cook raw turkey thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Turkey breasts, whole turkeys, and ground poultry, including turkey burgers, casseroles, and sausage, should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F to kill harmful germs. Leftovers should be reheated to 165°F. Use a food thermometer to check, and place it in the thickest part of the food.
Don’t spread germs from raw turkey around food preparation areas. Washing raw poultry before cooking is not recommended. Germs in raw poultry juices can spread to other areas and foods. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils with warm, soapy water after they touch raw turkey. Use a separate cutting board for raw turkey and other raw meats if possible.
Thaw turkey in the refrigerator, in a sink of cold water that is changed every 30 minutes, or in the microwave. Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter.
CDC does not recommend feeding raw diets to pets. Germs like Salmonella in raw pet food can make your pets sick. Your family also can get sick by handling the raw food or by taking care of your pet.
To my Canadian brethren, who have consumed the 165F minimum temped bird and are now plopped on the couch watching hockey, including reruns of last night’s barnburner of a hockey game where our beloved but hapless (sorta like me) Toronto Maple Leafs pulled out a 7-6 overtime win against Chicago, I can say we did nothing to celebrate this year.
For every day is … never mind.
The house renovations just got finished, the bank account is empty, maybe we’ll pull something off for American Thanksgiving.
“This is a highly unusual incident and not representative of how sheep are transported in New Zealand,” Ministry for Primary Industries spokesman Peter Hyde said.
Ellerslie resident Ada Rangiwai captured the sight on a cellphone while travelling along the city’s southern motorway. The sheep didn’t seem nervous and it was just standing there, unfazed by the attention.
“It was surfing,” she said.
And if you get a facebook request from me to be friends, ignore it. I, like millions of others, have been hacked.
I usually pull the pop-up thermometer out of my bird when I cook it. I’m a digital-tip-sensitive thermometer kind of guy. Last Thursday, while roasting this year’s turkey, I left mine in, as a bit of an experiment for my graduate student Minh, like last year’s Consumer Reports pop-up test:
We tested 21 pop-up thermometers in whole turkeys and turkey breasts. Our testing covered pop-up timers bought online and put into place by cooks before sliding the bird into the oven, and models pre-inserted in the meat at the processing plant. To determine the pop-ups’ accuracy, we also measured the internal temperature of the meat with a calibrated reference thermometer. Our findings may make a few eyebrows pop:
Self-inserted and manufacturer-inserted timers generally “popped” in our tests at internal temperatures above 165° F—the minimum safe temperature for all poultry. But three timers popped up when meat was still below that safe zone, one as low as 139.5° F.
Here’s mine (right, exactly as shown). Thanks pop-ups, I was only 20F (and 75 min of roasting) short.
The Monroe County Health Department says the updated number comes after speaking with 80 people who made reports. Spokesman John Ricci says those people mentioned family members and friends who also got sick after eating at the restaurant.
The restaurant was closed down last month after people started reporting getting sick after eating there on Thanksgiving. News10NBC found Golden Ponds had 106 violations since 2009.
Eight people were treated at Sutter Delta hospital between Friday and Saturday, county officials said. It is not yet known if it is an outbreak of a foodborne illness. All the victims reportedly live together, officials said.
Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch confirmed they received eight patients with probable foodborne symptoms. Three patients died, four patients were treated and released and one patient remains hospitalized, officials said.
Contra Costa County Public Health Department is investigating the cause and does not believe there is any risk to the general public.
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.
Now that Thanksgiving is over, and bloated Americans are returning to work Monday thinking Donald Trump is going to be president, it’s prime time to step away from the food and shopping orgy and consider the things we’re thankful for, on a daily basis, not because some American president (FDR) declared it would be the fourth Thursday in Nov.
I like my parents and sister who still talk with me although I’ve been sortofa dick for a long time.
I like Amy, and Sorenne, and the other 4 daughters, who still talk with me, and some even live with me, although I’ve been sortofa dick for a long time.
My friends, and their spouses, who still talk with me, although I’ve been sortofa dick for a long time.
I like coaching hockey.
I’m thankful our hockey club – or at least me – is going to focus on the club rather than the individual.
I like the new dog, Ted, (size due to townhouse body corporate regs).
I like that Australians are sorta dumb about Thanksgiving (Australia, you’re an agricultural exporting country, it’s a celebration of the fucking harvest).
I’m thankful I didn’t make anyone barf at our annual Thanksgiving feast (it’s real easy to screw up cooking turkey for 50 people).
And, after five years, I can now say, I’m thankful I live in Brisbane.