Participating in the Krispy Kreme Challenge challenged Ben in more ways than one. Don is looking for a new podcasting mic and he is getting some guidance from Dan Benjamin’s guide. The guys discussed the download statistics for the podcast and Folding Text to manage their pre-show notes, as well as Don’s homework, The Newsroom (Canadian TV series), which prompted Don to correctly note the excessive plaid fashions. Bill Hallman had provided some further thoughts on the “no illness language” in recall notices (FST Episode 33) which led to a broader discussion about recalls, including one for Listeria in Crab Dip.
The discussion continued with Listeria, namely Missa Bay LLC's recall due to Listeria in apple slices and the more recent FDA warning letter to the company. Don and Ben were surprised by where and how much Listeria was found by the FDA. The guys agreed that the publication of these warning letters was a good thing – not only for customers, but also to provide valuable information to suppliers of similar products – which reminded Ben of the Blue Pages for teachers.
The guys then switched to the Chicago Tribune article “Triclosan: Anti-bacterial soaps called useless, potentially dangerous” that Don had been interviewed for (based on his publication “A Meta-Analysis of the Published Literature on the Effectiveness of Antimicrobial Soaps.”) The average benefit of antimicrobial soaps over normal soaps was about 0.5 log, or 63%, and Don explained that the benefits were greatest when the contamination levels of hands were high, for example after handling raw meat and poultry or after cleaning up vomit.
Then Ben and Don got back into the reusable bag discussion. This was prompted by an article by Klick and Wright (not Watson and Crick). Klick and Wright combined Gerba, Williams and Sinclair’s research on bacteria in reusable shopping bags with a pathogenic E. coli related illnesses and deaths in hospital in the San Francisco area. They concluded that the ban on grocery bags led to an increase of 5.4 additional deaths per year, though Ben got really fired up on Barfblog about the lack of epidemiology and microbiology evident in the article. Don also took issue with a couple of lawyers mistaking correlation with causation and recalled FST Episode 19 where the guys had discussed reusable bags, which Carl Custer likes to call nickel bags (or check out this link).
Ben then shared that that his department was advertising a local food extension / research position to collect evidence for a range of possible impacts of local food systems, including food safety, nutrition, or related areas. This led to a discussion about local food systems and Don was all in favor of fresh food, such as the locally source food available at Wegmans.
In the after dark the guys geeked out with Folding Text, Markdown and its syntax, the octothorpe (not to be confused with Dr. Octavius from Spider-Man 2), Ben’s Garage Band workflow, Apple messages for the Mac, and Ken Finkleman.