The guys jumped right into the deep end and discussed the risks, or perceived risks, associated with salad bars and whether irrigation water or someone sneezing over the salad would pose a bigger risk. The guys also chatted about Don’s recent apparent food poisoning, new listeners to the podcast and Ben’s musical taste. Ben also admitted to being hooked on The Wire.
The discussion then turned to a barfblog article about research articles by Petran et al. on restaurant inspection, entitled “Health department inspection criteria more likely to be associated with outbreak restaurants in Minnesota” and “Using a theoretical predictive tool for the analysis of recent health department inspections at outbreak restaurants and relation of this information to foodborne illness likelihood”. While restaurant inspection per se may not improve public health, Petran et al. investigated whether the answers to specific inspection questions would help predict whether a given restaurant is at increased risk of a foodborne illness outbreak. The guys specifically discussed Table 4 of the first article, available here, which looked at the risk of norovirus, Salmonella or Clostridium perfringens outbreaks as related to different inspection questions.
Ben and Don then turned their attention to the recent Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney Infections Linked to Peanut Butter Manufactured By Sunland. This isn’t the first time that Salmonella and peanut butter caused trouble – previous examples include this this 2006/7 outbreak and this 2008/9 outbreak. As a result of the Sunland Outbreak, IAFP will be running a webinar on Best Practices in Peanut Butter and Peanut Production. Don noted the challenge wasn’t a lack of knowledge of how to control Salmonella in peanuts, but getting the information to those who most need it. Ben was particularly critical of companies who have testing schemes on which their food safety programs are built, but which continue to ship product despite detecting 9 different Salmonella strains. Ben also noted that denying test results is counterproductive when the epidemiological evidence is pointing at your product. A better communications approach was discussed in Food Safety Talk 25 in relation to the Salmonella outbreak linked with cantaloupe.
Don shared about his recent food poisoning in Hawaii, and noted that while foodborne outbreak investigations in Hawaii might be good, publicizing anything related to outbreaks wasn’t good for tourism. This reminded Ben of the heightened requirements for vendors at farmers markets in Hawaii. Don mentioned his dinner with Linda Harris, and her comment that the all of Hawaii fell under the Tester Amendment of the FSMA Act.
This brought to guys to an article that Don had recently reviewed, which had made him query who does the work of cooperative extension in Canada. Ben provided a bit of history and his understanding of the current situation. Ben believed that it fell mainly to the regulatory authorities, for example Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. Don was worried that this was likely to result in important research findings not being developed into useful extension programs, especially with the influx of Canadian food safety extension specialists invading the US.
In the After Dark, Don talked a bit more about his trip to Hawaii and how he got so angry on his first night. The guys talked about their Thanksgiving plans and they finished where they started: Chick-fil-A.