Top 5 Records presents: top 30 food blunders of 2012

‘Tis the season for end-of-year lists, for which I have at least 10 reasons to avoid. But I can reprint one, because it takes no effort and has pretty pictures.

Huffington Post concludes the food industry “needs a new publicist.”

The complete slide show is available at:

Top 5 albums on a desert island? Top 5 beers? Not the Grateful Dead one

My top five albums to be stuck with on a desert island for my eternity would be something like:

Old and in the Way

Tonight’s the Night

American Beauty

Let it Bleed

Beggar’s Banquet

Top 5 beers?

Not sure, but it probably wouldn’t be Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s American Beauty, endorsed by what remains of the Greateful Dead.

I don’t want dog or fish in my beer.

Top 5 Records presents: Top 5 food safety trends of decade

In the 1995 book, High Fidelity, written by Nick Hornby and adapted into the outstanding 2000 film of the same name, protagonist Rob is forever making top 5 lists. The one I most closely identify with is, Rob Gordon’s Top Five Bands or Musicians Who Will Have To Be Shot Come the Musical Revolution:

1. Simple Minds
2. Michael Bolton
3. U2
4. Bryan Adams
5. Genesis

Even though the Canadian government has apologized many times for Bryan Adams, he, and the others, all make my list of music that sucks.

This is the kind of meaningless, fun, Top 5 list that proliferate during end-of-year reflections.

When the folks at Kansas State University asked me for the Top 5 food safety events of the decade, I may have groaned or fell asleep. Eventually, I informally polled a dozen food safety friends around the world, and put together a list that will not be made into a movie.

My favorite response was from the expert-type who said something like, “it’s too bad they didn’t ask you to do this about the 1990s. The 2000s were sorta boring.”

Highlights from the past 10 years in food safety include fresh produce outbreaks and the creation of a food safety culture, said Douglas Powell, an associate professor of food safety at Kansas State University.

"Those ‘Employees Must Wash Hands’ signs don’t really work," Powell said. "But access to the right tools coupled with compelling messages have been shown to work. Most cases of foodborne illness are not acts of God; they’re rooted in human behavior."

Powell offers a look at five significant events and trends involving food safety from the past decade:

* Growing a food safety culture. Forget legislation, policy and training. The creation and establishment of a strong food safety culture within any farm, processor, retailer, restaurant and home is going to most effectively reduce the millions of Americans who get sick each year.

* Power to the people. Public disclosure of food safety information — restaurant inspection reports, in-plant video, public posting of test results — has increased throughout the decade and will continue.

* Fresh produce can make people sick. It’s not just meat. Hundreds of outbreaks related to fresh fruits and vegetables reached its peak with the 2006 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in fresh spinach that killed four people. Such outbreaks finally kick-started serious efforts to manage pathogens on produce.

* Forensic microbiology. The use of DNA technology and tools continues to deepen the understanding of foodborne illness and the array of foods involved in outbreaks such as pet food, pot pies, pizza, produce, pepper, cookie dough and many others.

• There are problems; there are solutions. The array of food safety solutions rolled out over the past decade demonstrates that when a problem is identified — E. coli in beef, salmonella in eggs, listeria in cold cuts — solutions are created and implemented. Food defense has been a significant priority since 9/11, and the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, NBAF, in Manhattan, along with K-State faculty, staff and students, will continue to provide a proud legacy of food safety solutions.

Come out swinging and have some evidence to back your amendments to the Top 5 food safety thingies of the decade. Although, like bad music, it’s just opinion.

Did I mention that U2 sucks?