Food Safety Talk 61: I Needed a Semenko

Added on by Don Schaffner.

The show opened with a long discussion of various philosophical issues relating to careers in Academia, followed by a brief diversion into gutter cleaning drones, comiXology, and the new TV show Silicon Valley.

Ben shared he has been listening to Gord Downie, The Sadies, And The Conquering Sun. Downie will be familiar to FST podcast listeners as the Canadian rock musician, writer, occasional actor who is the lead singer and lyricist for the Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip. Don noted that he had backed the new Lee 'Scratch' Perry Album kickstarter project.

In the follow up segment the guys noted that a new show noter was still needed, before moving on to a listener question from Jon Kimble about the protective effect of wine in foodborne disease outbreaks. Ben also talked about his experiences at a raw milk conference he attended in Canada. Fortunately for Ben, Dave Semenko was not needed.

The Outbreak flashback segment of the show flash all the way back to the 1981 listeriosis outbreak linked to coleslaw made from cabbage fertilized with sheep manure. Ben noted that sheep were also one among many possible Listeria sources in Jensen farms outbreak, as also indicated by fashion plate and Apple guy, Dr. Lawrence Goodridge quoted in the story.

Ben wanted to talk about Hep A and Tevana, when the show finally started, because he is a mall rat. This led to a discussion about Hepatitis A vaccinations for Foodservice workers. While it might not be "cost effective", it still might be the right thing to do.

The discussion then turned to sous vide cooking, and a new product on the market, and Don's interactions with the reviewed.com reviewers as well as the product manufacturers in the comments. Don was less successful in leaving comments on a recent sous vide NPR blog post, but thanks to Doug, Don was able to weigh in on barfblog.

Don then quizzed Ben (who is from Canada), regarding whether he now lives in the South.

The show ended with a mention of the passing of noted self experimenter Seth Roberts, including the predictable reaction from hacker news. More on his cause of death has been provided on his blog, posted after FST recorded.

Food Safety Talk 59: You're thinking of Goldmember

Added on by Don Schaffner.

Don and Ben start the show talking about producing stuff, productivity, procrastinating and the excitement of being the bottleneck. Don then spoke about his love of treadmill writing using Dragon Dictate softwareDavid Allen’s two-minute rule and Omnifocus (not to be confused with the five-second rule) also made another appearance. Don also hinted that a certain productivity expert may make an appearance at IAFP 2014. This information made Ben get excited and talk really fast. 

Ben talked about watching a documentary about The Improv and took away that food safety communicators and some comedians both benefit from studying storytelling. The guys talked about blocking off specific times in the day to practice your craft (whatever it is).

Don and Ben announced that the infamous Andreas would be leaving the show as master show note person. Don and Ben wished Andreas the best, made him a lifetime member of the Food Safety Talk family and expressed their gratitude to him as helping grow the show. He will be missed. Don also talked about Scott Hurd and Wilber Feagan, who both passed away within 24hrs. 

In the new segment, Outbreak Flashback, the guys discussed the 2007 Castleberry’s botulism outbreak and it’s impacts. Don stepped through an FDA investigation report that Bill Marler had on his blog and highlighted some of the lessons that can be taken away for microbiologists as well as industry members. 

The guys happened to be in Orlando at the same time and didn’t connect with each other in person. Don was speaking at the Florida Association for Food Protection and Ben was visiting with the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals folks about non-traditional food manager training.

Don and Ben then discussed a question about a New Jersey entrepreneur making and selling granola at a Pennsylvania farmers’ market.

At the end of the show Don gave Ben a statistics test on confidence intervals from Andrew Gelmen’s blog. Andrew is also the source of this excellent paper on storytelling.

In after dark the guys talked about green jellybeans, acne and setting up projects with a statistics person in advance.

Food Safety Talk 56: Damned hard to make safe food

Added on by Don Schaffner.

The guys started the show following up on the previous episode, the write up on David Gumpert's website and the comments on the Internet. Theresa Lam also reached out wanting to know more about the risks associated with bootleg versus regulated raw milk.

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Despite raw milk drinker's hatred of epidemiologists, Don confessed that maybe he wants to be an epidemiologist, while Ben noted that he has admired them ever since the Jalapeno Saintpaul outbreak. Don also praised Petran, White and Hedberg, for their efforts to identify what items in a restaurant inspection were predictive of the possibility of an outbreak, and Ben's comments to USA Today on the topic.

A quick round of "I think you're thinking of" with Howard Dean, and Roger Dean, not to be confused with Roger Dean followed. The guys then hopped back in time with the whizzinator before moving on to food storage mistakes and tortilla safety as prompted by Listener John Kimble.

The guys covered the 1990's in the IAFP history segment, which also featured a discussion of 808, the Beastie Boys and the speed of Joe Walsh's Maserati. Ben identified the 1990's with the adoption of PFGE and rapid methods, while Don though the Mega Regs characterized the time. Ben recalled a recent discussion with Cathy Cutter about meat processing and how HACCP shaped other food safety regulations.

The discussion then turned to Norovirus, prompted by a couple of recent noro outbreaks on the "Explorer of the Seas" and the Caribbean Princess, the boat that Chris Gunter boarded. Unfortunately, Chris couldn't find out whether the hand sanitizer on the ship was the one that works, though he was assured that it was "alcohol based". Ben wrapped up the noro discussion with the MoChunk resort outbreak. The guys talked about Netflix in the short after dark.

Food Safety Talk 55: Damn Ignorant PhDs

Added on by Don Schaffner.
But I don't have to know an answer. I don't feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell, possibly. It doesn't frighten me. - Richard Feynman, 1918-1988

But I don't have to know an answer. I don't feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell, possibly. It doesn't frighten me.

- Richard Feynman, 1918-1988

The guys started the show with a teaser about a guest later in the show and reminisced about past guests Mike BatzChris GunterMichelle Danyluk and the infamous Andreas Kiermeier. The guys then followed up on cashew cheese (FST 53) and how to reach food entrepreneurs about hazards an risk management and resources like NECFE or the NMPAN. The guys then wondered about selling food (unregulated) over the Internet, possibly for Bitcoin, and the Swiss Cheese Pervert. And Don remembered Mary's name.

Then David Gumpert (The Complete Patient) came onto the show. David has written about raw milk and food rights including "The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America's Emerging Battle over Food Rights" and "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights: The Escalating Battle Over Who Decides What We Eat". The guys invited David to come on the show as a follow-up to FST 53, Raw Milk Hampsterdam, and David's critique of it. For audiences most interested in raw milk topics, the conversation with David begins at 25:30.

Discussion topics the group touched on included raw milk and consumer choice, including the Raw Milk InstituteDavid's follow-up post and the Real Food Real Talk - Raw Milk Revealed, the Minnesota study, CDC's Estimation Methods and Attribution of Foodborne Illness, The Joint FDA/Health Canada QMRA for Listeriosis from Soft-Ripened Cheese and FDA's failure to attend an IAFP sponsored raw milk meeting.

In the after dark, which begins around 1:30:00, Don and Ben talked about EvernoteHabitsShackelton Death or Glory, and Plan 9 from Outer Space.

 

Food Safety Talk 53: Raw Milk Hamsterdam

Added on by Ben Chapman.
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They dove in to follow-up with additional information they received from Cheryl Deem from the American Spice Trade Association (ASTA) on the spice story in FST 52. Cheryl explained why ASTA didn't have a response to the FDA risk assessment as reported in this NYT article and shared a guidance document ASTA had prepared in 2011.

The discussion then turned to yet another pruno-related botulism outbreak in a Utah prison. Pruno has been discussed in FST 27 and the investigation of that outbreak has just been published in this paper, including the experimental Pruno recipe.

In the IAFP History segment, Don shared Manan Sharma's article on the 1970's, which marked changes to food consumption, food safety and environmental trends, including HACCP and microwaves. After a short 1970's detour to Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus Vol 1, Ben marveled about the advances in microwave technology, including the magnetron. While Ben's new microwave exceeded his cooking expectation, Trader Joe's cooking instructions for Mac & Cheese fell short. In contrast to Trader Joe's, who don't have a social media presence, Don did like Publix who asked for a haiku on Twitter.

Don then shared his latest irritation with Fightbac.org. It was prompted by their latest campaign called Bac Down and their lack of understanding that Listeria monocytogenes can grow at temperatures as low 32 °F. The guys challenged listeners to send in their creative Bac-themed puns for great prices!

Ben then wanted to talk about Jeffery Arthur Feehan who tried to shoplift meat in his pants. But Ben wasn't quite so worried simply because store employees put the meat back on the shelf (a big yuck factor!), but that Jeffrey took the meat to the restroom for his pants stuffing misdemeanor. Jeffrey's comment to the judges reminded Ben of a famous Animal House quote.

The discussion then turned to a recent paper on Raw Milk Consumption and illnesses. While the underreporting aspect got some publicity, Ben suggested that all the information wasn't going to change minds This had been highlighted in this article on Michigan consumers of raw milk and that's got to do with raw milk proponents not trusting health officials. Ben discussed the "The Abuela project", an example of an innovative approach to overcoming the difficulty of developing successful education campaigns. The challenge of course is how to develop a campaign when raw milk sales are illegal (as is the case in some states). Maybe a Raw Milk Hamsterdam is the solution?

Food Safety Talk 52: A Keene epidemiologist

Added on by Ben Chapman.
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The guys started the show dreaming about a Red Mac Pro. They then turned to the passing of Bill Keene. Bill has been mentioned in various FST episodes and was a well respected epidemiologist as seen in the articles by the Oregonian and Doug Powell. The guys then turned to their beverages, Coffee Club, Napoleon Dynamite, Homeland, and Car Talk. Ben shared his preference for Aussie Rule football and Arcade Fire's album Reflektor. The conversation then turned to Don's limited iPhone music library, Privateering and Dire Straights, which reminded Ben of Money for Nothing and WWE Wrestling (not WWF Wrestling). To finish they talked about Christmas music, Bad Religion's Christmas Songs, Coulton and Roderick's One Christmas at a Time and Horrible Christmas songs.

Ben confused IAFP's History with Bug Trivia and shared Julian Cox's information about the 1960's, and this evolved into a broader discussion about the IAFP and its membership.

The discussion then turned back to Bill Keene and some of the outbreaks he had been involved in. This included a Salmonella Panama outbreak (not to be confused with Van Halen's Panama), which was the first outbreak that was solved through the innovative use of supermarket loyalty cards and that Bill and others were sued for (the lawsuit was eventually dropped.. The guys then discussed outbreak investigation in some detail and that public health officials are damned if they do and damned if they don't name commodities and suppliers. There is of course always a risk of getting the epidemiology wrong, as was the case with Salmonella Saintpaul in peppers. Finally, Bill's investigation of a Norovirus outbreak reminded Ben of a recent Norovirus outbreak in Las Vegas.

Then Ben commented on an exchange with Chris Gunter, who was presenting on traceability for small producers at the 2013 Strawberry Expo. Chris' presentation is based on the investigation of an E. coli O157 outbreak related to strawberries, in which Bill Keene played a part.

In the after dark, the guys reflected on mortality and that we should all Enjoy Every Sandwich. And because they love him,  Rob Ford got a mention again and again.

Food Safety Talk 51: Pee on the radiator

Added on by Ben Chapman.
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After congratulating Don on his birthday, the guys talked about their recent travels, including 10 slaca, the 3rd Asia Pacific International Conference on Food Safety, the China International Food Safety & Quality Conference & Expo, and then they compared their favorite David Tharp stories.

In follow up to FST 49: Less Risky Bathroom Event, Don shared some information about the microbiome of urine though he couldn't comment on which way to wipe. Ben also asked Don about the hygiene of hockey locker rooms, which was prompted by Pekka Rinne's E. coli infection. The discussion about locker rooms then reminded Ben about a big Norovirus outbreak of basketball players and Don that his student Hanna will be visiting some public bathrooms as part of the NoroCore project. And somehow the conversation turned to North America's most photogenic Major Rob Ford, aka Major McCrack.

In the Food Safety History segment, Don returned to the 1940's of IAFP's history, where advances in food safety were largely due to the requirements for supplying troops in World War II. This was not the first time that great advances in food safety were made in response to military needs, see for example the invention of canning.

Ben then wanted to talk about road kill, which has earned him the title of Dr Roadkill. This discussion originated from this recent article about a planned Montana permit system for salvaging road kill. The guys didn't agree with Fred Pritzker's arguments against the system.

The discussion then turned to the FDA Risk Profile Pathogen and Filth in Spices. The guys were disappointed by the Spice Producers response. It reminded them about the importance of good risk communication. Foster Farms provided another example of 'not to get it quite right', who added to their recent woes by showing that they can't count. Don wondered about their social media strategy and why so many media managers are dipsh*ts.

The guys touched on the fall out from the Sunland bankruptcy before moving on to fishy issues surrounding the regulation and trade of catfish.

To finish off the guys prepared for Thanksgiving with a Lifehacker article on leftovers. While the article was OK, the comments made their stomachs turn. Clearly they need to continue their battle to fix the internet one comment at a time.

In the after dark the guys discussed the latest OS X Mavericks upgrade, the TV show Veep, rejecting journal articles, Ben becoming a grumpy old man, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, End of the World, Adventure Time (Season 3)), Bronies and the Pulling the String podcast.

Food Safety Talk 49: Less Risky Bathroom Event

Added on by Don Schaffner.

The show started with Don and Ben sharing their love for iOS7 and iTunes Radio. Ben's still on his Beach Boys trip, having recently watched Beautiful Dreamer.

The discussion then quickly turned to food safety follow up. Ben wasn't happy with his Food Safety News interview on dishwasher cooking and the message that he might have sent. Don felt that a really important aspect was the multitude of variables that can change from one dishwasher to another and hence that it was difficult be safe.

The guys then discussed some listener feedback about safety of low sugar jellies, which was related to the work of one of Don's master's student. The listener commended the work on low sugar jellies, which will help provide important information to existing Cottage Food Guidelines. The guys then delved into the effects of water activity, pH, sugar contents for the safety of the preserving process and how some products, such as the Cronut Maple Jam, fall far outside the known safe zone. This got Ben onto the Toronto Public Health investigation update on the Cronut Burger outbreak, which was related to the already risky jam not being refrigerated by the producer or the vendor who purchased it.

Don then gave Amy Jane Gruber, from Just The Tip podcast, a plug for her participation in the Fare Walk for Food Allergy. You might even hear her on a future FST episode.

In the Food Safety History segment, Don shared the initial editorial from the journal of milk technology, which while written in 1937 still resonates strongly with today's food safety activities.

Ben then described personal challenge he has urinating in his office building without getting splash back. This reminded the guys of the aerosolization in the bathroom and potential risk that this can pose.

Ben then recalled the UPI story about a Swedish man urinating on supermarket produce. While urine is normally sterile, Ben wondered about the risks. While Don couldn't quantify the risk on the spot, he noted that in HACCP terms hand washing after a bowel movement was a CCP while after peeing it could be considered a GHP. But both agreed that sick workers just shouldn't be at work.

The discussion then turned to raw milk cheeses, which was prompted by the Gort's Gouda raw milk cheese related outbreak in Canada. Don noted that the rate of inactivation in a particular product was more important that just a '60-day limit' say. That's because the final risk is integrally related to the starting concentration and the inactivation rate.

To finish off the podcast Don wanted to talk about the Food Safety News article on food date labels, which was based on this NRDC work. While Don agreed that date labels were confusing, he was also rather sceptical of the underlying work.

In the after dark, the guys talked about the new markdown format for the shownotes and planned their podcasting schedules for the next few episodes.