Filtering by Tag: Bananas

Food Safety Talk 44: Stool Sampling Tools

Added on by Don Schaffner.

The show started with Mr. Roboto, Brazilian Cheese Bread, the upcoming IAFP’s annual meeting in Charlotte, and StoryCorps (not to be confused with Adventure Time). At the IAFP meeting Ben will be stuffing bags at the Food Lion and Don will try to control the unruly Dr. Harris at her first board meeting. The guys then celebrated Canada Day with some pop culture such as The Tragically Hip, Rheostatics and Frampton Comes Alive! (as featured on FST 1), and Reality Bites.

Ben and Don then turned their attention to Helicobacter pylori. Ben reported having had a belch inducing H. pylori infection, which was diagnosed by a breath test. It reminded Ben of Don’s asymptomatic H. pylori infection. Don wondered how Ben got exposed to H. pylori and whether it may have been foodborne, which Ben agreed was a possibility. In fact, Helicobacter pylori and Food Products indicates that the organism can also be widespread in some drinking water supplies. Don also noted an article on “Assessing the Risks and Benefits of Treating Helicobacter pylori Infection" which pointed at the possible commensal role of H. pylori.

The discussion moved from gastrointestinal microflora, to soil and water microflora and ecology and the impact of microflora on safety of the produce grown in different areas. This turned into a broader discussion of farming and extension and the need for multifunctional teams, such as NoroCore and STEC CAP.

In FST episode 43 the guys discussed the silliness of washing bananas, and Ben found yet another ridiculous article on the same topic. Don pointed out the lack of epidemiological evidence linking foodborne illness with bananas, though he recognized that “absence of evidence does not equal evidence of absence.” The earlier conversation about bananas prompted Don to post humorous photos of the individually wrapped bananas he found in the United Lounge at São Paulo airport.

Don then shared an email from listener ‘Deep South’ who was wondering where mechanically tenderized beef was being sold. An FMI survey of the membership indicated that none of the responding members sold this type of beef. So while it appears that the product is predominantly sold through food service, Ben noted the lack of epidemiological evidence connecting illness outbreaks with food service.

The guys then turned their attention to the Townsend Farm related Hepatitis A outbreak, which FDA has now linked to Pomegranate seeds. Ben applauded Bill Keene for focusing on employees first. Ben shared his thoughts about handling of pomegranate seeds and how they could become contaminated with Lynne Terry via Twitter. But are other producers learning from this and asking their suppliers the right questions?

In the after dark the guys discussed Ben’s tenure application. Good luck, Ben.


Food Safety Talk 42: The Powerful Barbecue Lobby

Added on by Ben Chapman.

Don rang in from São Paulo, Brazil, where he is spending some time thanks to a project funded by Scientists without Borders and managed by the Godfather (Godmother?) of the Brazilian Food Safety Mafia Bernadette Franco.  But podcasting away from home is proving to be more challenging that he had imagined, especially when he leaves his computer in his hotel room.  The guys announced the new “subscribe” feature on the Food Safety Talk website where listeners can subscribe to a email newsletter and share the show via various platforms. This prompted the guys to talk about their social media practices. iTunes ratings and sponsorship inquires are always welcome!

Ben the shared his recent trip to Nebraska for STEC CAP Grant meetings and his tornado experiences. This included a discussion of mechanically tenderized beef and how FSIS is poised to release a labeling rule for these products (similar to Canada’s labeling regime discussed in FST 41).  The guys discussed John Luchansky’s research and the actual versus theoretical risks of blade and needle tenderized beef.

In the Bug Trivia segment the guys talked about E. coli O157:H7. A 1994 outbreak linked to fermented dry salami resulted in research by the same Luchansky, then at Food Research Institute (FRI), to assess the effect of USDA Method No. 7 (not Mambo No 5) on food safety. Ben commented that he had just finished Jeff Benedict’s book Poisoned, which is about the 1993 Jack-in-the-Box E. coli O157:H7 outbreak and both Ben and Don agreed that this was an important and easy read for anyone working in the food industry.

The guys then talked about some other interesting food related books, including Cooked, Salt Sugar Fat and Catching Fire. Ben shared some information about relevant NC state regulations in relation to supplemental cooking rooms in North Carolina and Amazing Ribs got a special BBQ mention.

While still on the E. coli O157 and BBQ theme, the guys then turned their attention to an E. coli O157 outbreak related to Georgia BBQ Shack. While iced tea, which the CDC knew could have high levels of bacteria back in 1996, has been on Don’s radar since the IAFP 2011 symposium on the safety of fountain-dispensed beverages.

The guys then turned their attention to The Pueblo Chieftain article on clean, cook, and chill. The nonsense in this article made the guys so angry. Since when does washing bananas make a difference (unless you eat the peel) and whatever happened to cross-contamination and temperature control (think cantaloupes)? Don thought that one way of getting the message out was to present at conferences and publish in journals of organizations such as NEHA or NACCHO, or bring the environmental health folks to attend IAFP.

In the after dark the guys talked about TabLinks, Brazilian VISA requirements, Carol Wallace (of HACCP: A Practical Approach fame), Daft Punk (👍👍) and The National (👎).