Why I let my kids watch South Park: Vaginas, for steaming and yogurt

It was bad enough when ex-Coldplay fan Gwyneth Paltrow hawked the vaginal steam (“The real golden ticket here is the Mugworth V-Steam: You sit on what is essentially a mini-throne, and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam cleanses your uterus, et al … It is an energetic release — not just a steam douche — that balances female hormone levels. If you’re in L.A., you have to do it”).

FFN_RIJ_IRON_MAN3_042413_51078055-1Now, Cecilia Westbrook, an MD/PhD student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, has decided to see if it was possible to make yogurt from vaginal bacteria.

Westbrook noted that the most common bacteria found in a healthy vagina was lactobacillus, the same bacteria commonly found in yogurt. She figured she could easily whip up a batch of yogurt just by extracting some of her vagina’s bacteria with a wooden spoon.

Homemade yogurt is traditionally made by mixing a small amount of a yogurt starter culture with some milk and heating it.

However, Westbrook discovered there was not much information on making yogurt with vaginal bacteria — or much information on vaginal bacteria at all, according to an interview she gave to Jezebel.

“I was actually surprised to know that we really don’t know a lot about vaginal flora, There’s really been only one or maybe two big studies and, interestingly, most of the information that we do know about is from white women, which suggests that there might be some indication that people from different ethnic backgrounds might have different flora. I was surprised about how much we didn’t know.”

To do the experiment, Westbrook used three bowls: One with yogurt made with a traditional starter culture, one with just plain milk, one with just milk and her own bodily contribution.

Westbrook left out the batches overnight and awoke to find a decent amount of yogurt in that third bowl, according to Westbrook’s friend, Janet Jay, who wrote the VICE article on the experiment.

Jay said Westbrook’s experiment was done on her own time and not connected with any class assignments. The two attended Carnegie Mellon together a few years ago, but the vagina yogurt experiment has its roots in conversations that started last summer.

“It just started with us riffing on vagina puns, pretty much,” Jay told HuffPost. “It was just a cool weird little experiment for us all to giggle at.”

Theresa Eisenman, press officer at the U.S. Federal Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, told VICE that “vaginal secretions are not considered ‘food’, and they may transmit human disease, a food product that contains vaginal secretions or other bodily fluids is considered adulterated.”

Over 300 sickened: State knew Chobani yogurt was tainted months before recall, FDA says

Whether it’s food, automobiles, consumer goods, whatever – selling deficient product and trying to cover it up usually backfires.

chobani.yogurtPeople and corporations are found out over time: so suck it up and go public early and often.

In response to continual mold problems, Chobani, the Greek yogurt people, made staff changes at its Twin Falls plant and corporate headquarters in New York, hired one new public relations firm and one advertising firm during the recall, and fired Nicki Briggs and “other in-house PR staffers” in November after “a broad refocusing of its resources.”

Chobani official said those PR changes had nothing to do with the mold outbreak and resulting recall.

Chobani may have been focusing on the wrong problem.

MagicValley.com reports the Idaho Department of Agriculture saw moldy yogurt during a routine inspection at Chobani two months before the company issued a voluntary recall, says a U.S. Food and Drug Administration report obtained by the Times-News under a Freedom of Information Act request.

The state denies the FDA claim.

More than 300 people got sick after consuming the moldy Greek yogurt from Twin Falls.

The state inspection was conducted in July. But not until September did Chobani issue a voluntary recall of 35 varieties of its tainted yogurt, advising the public it was contaminated with Mucor circinelloides, a mold commonly associated with yogurt production.

A report summarizing five separate inspections by the FDA in September gives this account of the state’s inspection:

“In July the routine Grade A sampling and testing samples taken by the Idaho Department of Agriculture (ISDA) from the Chobani Idaho Inc. production were visually noted, by the laboratory technician, that surface defects were present and additional testing was conducted noting a yeast like growth developing in the yogurt samples.”

chobani-recall-2013-updateThe FDA inspections also prompted Chobani to clean various pieces of equipment at the Twin Falls facility. After some “minor deficiencies” were reported, the FDA did not issue a mandatory recall or take further action.

ISDA spokeswoman Pamela Juker said state regulators never took note of any mold during the July inspections, and she’s unsure where the FDA got its information.

“All of the raw and finished product-testing results met the requirements of the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance,” Juker said. “All of the tests we’ve done met the requirements.”

Chobani repeatedly has declined to provide details on the issue. But Weber Shandwick, a third-party public relations firm, emailed a company response Wednesday.

“Our goal is to ensure our Idaho facility is not just a leader in size, but also in cleanliness, quality and safety,” a Chobani official wrote. “To accomplish this, we have brought in significant resources and are working with internal as well as outside experts to put together one of the most advanced food safety and quality systems in our industry.”


And I prefer science as an enhancement of nature.

Chobani yogurt mold not so harmless in animal models

That mold in Chobani yogurt that most said was harmless even though over 200 people reported getting sick? Not so harmless.

chobaniA team of medical researchers led from Duke University reports in mBio, the open access journal of the American Society for Microbiology:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported that yogurt products were contaminated with M. circinelloides, a mucoralean fungal pathogen, and >200 consumers complained of symptoms, including vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. The manufacturer voluntarily withdrew the affected yogurt products from the market. Compared to other food-borne pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites, less focus has been placed on the risk of fungal pathogens. This study evaluates the potential risk from the food-borne fungal pathogen M. circinelloides that was isolated from the contaminated commercial yogurt. We successfully cultured an M. circinelloides isolate and found that the isolate belongs to the species M. circinelloides f. circinelloides, which is often associated with human infections. In murine and insect host models, the isolate was virulent. While information disseminated in the popular press would suggest this fungal contaminant poses little or no risk to consumers, our results show instead that it is capable of causing significant infections in animals.

 Analysis of a food-borne fungal pathogen outbreak: virulence and genome of a Mucor circinelloides isolate from yogurt

mBio vol. 5 no. 4 e01390-14

chobani.yogurtSoo Chan Lee, R. Blake Billmyre, Alicia Li, Sandra Carson, Sean M. Sykes, Eun Young Huh, Piotr Mieczkowski, Dennis C. Ko, Christina A. Cuomo, Joseph Heitman


Looking in the toilet works too: scientists create yoghurt that changes color of poop to diagnose disease

 It’s the logical next step for Jamie Lee Curtis and her Activia yogurt that makes people poop.

Researchers have, according to Mail Online, worked out a way to tell if a person is ill by changing their poop to different colors.

Swill down a yoghurt-style drink which interacts with the food in your stomach and your excrement turns a variety of hues depending on how sick you are.

The scientists have so far only suggested it could detect the progress of e.coli – but they hope one day it could diagnose far more conditions.

Even colorectal cancer, worms or a stomach ulcer could one day be pinpointed by people peering into the toilet until no brown remains.

The process has been developed by British designers Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg and James King.

He and Ms Ginsberg have created a special blend of BioBricks, or standardized sequences of DNA, which interact with the E.coli and turn red, yellow, green, blue, brown or violet depending on how advanced the condition is.

Adventures in customer service: UK man who found tooth in yogurt refunded $1.05

A UK man who found a tooth – complete with fillings – in a tub of supermarket brand yogurt was given a 68p (US$1.05) refund when he took it back to the store to complain.

David Casey, from Bedworth, about 163km northwest of London, said he bit down on what he thought was a piece of fudge in the Tesco’s Devonshire-style fudge yogurt, only to find it was a tooth.

Angered by the unappetizing discovery – a picture of which was published by the Coventry Telegraph yesterday (right) – he drove to the store where he bought the product to complain, and was given a refund.

"They’ve said sorry for the inconvenience, but it’s not inconvenient – it’s disgusting," said Casey, a 43-year-old former corporal in the Royal Infantry who is currently having treatment for a tumor in his stomach.

"I could have someone’s scabby tooth in my stomach right now and that would not have been nice."

Since his complaint the supermarket giant has twice sent Casey a £15 Tesco voucher – which he has returned both times labeling it an "insult" after the company’s report into the matter suggested there was a chance it could have been his tooth.

"I’m furious, you don’t expect to be treated like this," Casey said.

A Tesco spokesman said, "We take matters of this kind very seriously and we are looking into it."

Yoghurt problems in NZ and Pakistan

Looks like I picked the wrong week to start eating yogurt.

An employee at a hospital in Lahore, Pakistan, died while two employees fell critically ill after they ate contaminated yoghurt.

The three employees ate rice with the contaminated yoghurt at a local restaurant. Soon thereafter, all of them fell sick and were taken to hospital where Khan died. A case has been registered against the restaurant owner and manager.

Biofarm Products of New Zealand is recalling 1 litre containers of Bush Honey Yoghurt with a March 5 best before date after laboratory tests show the presence of E. coli.

People need to poop, but if by yogurt, prove it

That Jamie Lee Curtis yogurt that makes people poop has been hit with hefty fines for nonsense health claims.

USA Today reports the Dannon Company will pay a $21 million fine and stop making exaggerated health claims for two very popular Dannon products under an agreement with the federal government and attorneys general from 39 states.

Dannon will stop claiming that one daily serving of Activia yogurt relieves irregularity and that its DanActive dairy drink helps people avoid catching colds or flu, the Federal Trade Commission announced on Wednesday.

The FTC charged that Dannon’s ads were deceptive because it did not have substantiation for its claims. The commission also charged that Dannon’s claims that Activia and DanActive were clinically proven were false.

In one TV spot for Activia, actress Jamie Lee Curtis reassures viewers that eating Activia can help people who suffer from irregularity.