The show started with Ben struggling to get the sound right. Then guys talked about writing proposals and how Ben’s bitten off more than he can chew.
Prompted by Amy Jane Gruber’s experiences with allergies on Salt & Fat, including her allergy to chicken proteins, the conversation turned to allergy awareness and where it fits with food safety. The guys shared their own experiences – Ben’s reactions to aspirin and Don’s sons allergies and intolerances to milk and lactose. This prompted a broader discussion of allergies, controlling allergens and cross contamination. They discussed the similarities and differences compared to microbial cross contamination. Don noted the importance of tools such as GloGerm that can provide immediate feedback to people on how cross-contamination works.
The guys then talked about the Cleveland County (NC) fair E. coli outbreak in October, for which the final investigation report had been alluded to. The report apparently (although it isn't online) identifies a number of risk factors but no definitive source. The epidemiologists considered the possibility of insect vectors contributing to the outbreak, the potential for which has previously been identified. Don recalled a 1999 paper that reported experiments on the transmission of E. coli O157:H7 by fruit flies. While this work showed the possibility of such transmission, Don questioned whether there is any epidemiological evidence to show its importance.
Then the guys moved on to antibiotic resistance of Yersinia in US pork, which was prompted by this Consumer Reports article, which was followed by this Food Safety News article. Subsequently, Don was interviewed for Food Safety News where he questioned the public health significance of the findings, as Yersinia has previously been found in pigs, though there was some evidence associating Yersinia with pork chitterlings. Ben thought that while the industry has long been managing Yersinia, the Consumer Report article has ‘unearthed’ and publicized its presence in pork, even if it’s a none-issue. Ben felt that the most important part was for industry to communicating the risks, and controls, before someone else points out the risks, such as Beth Weise in this Thanksgiving article. While the guys agreed that “science by press release” wasn’t transparent and rigorous enough, Ben looked at the bright side, namely that the article has provided an opening to discuss food safety in a broader sense.
The guys then talked about a bunch of non food safety related stuff. Don then commended Ben on his appearance on the 5by5 show "The Frequency." Don was also excited about finding out about John Roderick’s TourFoodRules. Ben thought he wouldn’t eat at a place called “Crazy Fingers” (Rules 3 & 4 combined – and it actually exists) which reminded Don of a Grateful Dead song and Ben of Fubar.
In the After Dark, Ben expressed his frustration with not finding anything in iTunes 11 and that the guys can only see the US reviews of FoodSafetyTalk. Andreas confirms that only he has submitted a review in the Australian iTunes store. Don explained the extended family’s traditional Brooklyn Christmas Eve celebration and Ben also shared his Christmas plans.