Filtering by Tag: Epidemiology

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 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 46: The mother of all messy epidemiology

Added on by Don Schaffner.
During their podcasting foreplay Don and Ben discussed their breakfast choices, their love for guacamole (despite the risks associated with cilantro), and the challenge of separating work from private life.

The guys then got onto the recent IAFP annual meeting (abstracts are here), which clearly was a huge success. Ben was impressed by Michelle Danyluk’s deconstruction of the FSMA Fresh Produce rule to create a convincing story, which included recently published work from Don and Michelle. Ben then talked about the symposium on farmers' markets, and Erin Jobe’s talk about the realities of the Carrboro Farmer’s Market. Lastly, the guys talked about the round table discussion on “Bridging Gaps between Scientific Assessment of Risk and Public Perception” which was reported on Barfblog and Food Safety News. And of course, IAFP always includes Karaoke.

Moving on from IAFP, Don noted that he’s following John Gruber and Merlin Mann's advice and is podcasting for just one person, Chuck Haas. Turns out that Chuck also sent an email about an upcoming publication on the dose-response curve for Helicobacter pylori (see FST 45).

Ben then recalled the conversation about the Salmonella outbreak associated with the Holiday Inn and the article he wrote on barfblog. Ben wondered why employees wouldn’t tell management that they were sick but would tell the health department? Both Don and Ben concluded that it’s surely related to not getting paid while being off work.

The discussion then turned to the current Cyclospora messiness and disagreement between epidemiologists. While there is lots of bad advice out there, the most recent information indicates a link to prewashed salad mix to Taylor Farms de Mexico, though this information wasn’t available when ACSH reported that the “mystery was solved". The guys also noted Bill Marler’s interesting thoughts about disclosure as well as why naming a product too early can have consequences. The guys also re-iterating that washed fresh-cut salads don’t need additional washing.

To finish off, Ben wanted to talk about Jimmy John’s who are considering bringing back sprouts, with a warning sign. Don felt that this approach was nonsense and that the risks of eating still outweigh the risks of not eating. Instead Don wanted to know about Jimmy John’s food safety program, and whether it included buying from sprouters who get it, like Bob Sanderson’s at Jonathan Sprouts. Ben wasn’t against the label though he felt that it could be improved.

In the after dark the guys talked about Don’s video call with IFT, his appearance on SSKTN’s Show me your Mic (including the After Show me your Mic), preschool and the Food Safety Talk newsletter

Food Safety Talk 12: Dueling Experts

Added on by Don Schaffner.

Ben has McDonalds for lunch, which starts the guys talking about the golden arches, food safety and comfort foods, with brief digressions into banjo music, which is a Deliverance reference. Apparently they have rednecks in Canada too.

From there the guys talk about Don's Extension Stakeholder Review and the trials and tribulations of a life in academe. Food Safety Talk is not a productivity podcast, despite the fact that the guys talked about Getting Things Done by David Allen, and a survey on how people fall off the GTD wagon. Don also mentions The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande that he is listening to as an Audible audiobook.

Ben brings the discussion back to food safety by talking about his food safety infosheets and building a Food safety culture as per Yiannis, Griffiths, Ben and Doug). Ben also brings up Malcolm Gladwell. Don holds his tongue and doesn't mention what others have said about Mr. Gladwell.

Don starts the food safety talk in earnest with a mention of the outbreak linked to Your Family Cow, with an aside to Abbott and Costello. Don also mentions his talk on sampling raw milk for pathogens and the early history of HACCP. This evolves into a discussion of sampling and the uncertainties of epidemiology, and the dangers of possibly getting it wrong.

Ben notes that he thinks that Edwin Shank from Your Family Cow guy, does get some aspects of his message correct, noting that Mr. Shank said:

... we are concerned. We do not take even a suspicion of food-borne illness lightly. We took action accordingly.

After a quick digression on Ben's microbe ornaments (not actual size), Ben moves the discussion to labeling, including meat and the USDA cook to a safe internal temperature label, unpasteurized juice labeling, Pillsbury's polite message, and more terse advice from Betty Crocker, regarding Bisquick. Don chimes in with concerns about the profusion of food allergy labels.

The guys get sidetracked into a discussion of dough and flour related food safety including the E. coli outbreak linked to refrigerated cookie dough, the Aunt Jemima Salmonella in flour mix recall, and the Listeria in Eggo frozen waffle recall.

Ben brings things back to consumers and labeling by mentioning research by Kansas State scientists on consumer preparation of frozen, uncooked, breaded chicken products. Not to be outdone, Don mentions research from his lab on the risk of salmonellosis associated with consumption of raw, frozen chicken products cooked in low-wattage microwave ovens.

Food labels seem to be getting longer and more complicated, but even with increased complexity, managing risks of things like hydrolyzed vegetable protein recall may be problematic give the different ways people eat Ramen Noodles, for example. Clearly the safety of microwaved foods is complicated, as microwaved containers also pose non-microbial risks, like tipping over and burning you.

Finally, no discussion of labeling snafu's would be complete without a mention of those kosher "broiled" chicken livers, which made a bunch or people sick, including one reported case in Minnesota. Why do more people seem to get in Minnesota? Here is a hint, it has a lot to do with the Minnesota's commitment to public health including efforts like Team Diarrhea.

Ben concludes by noting that he is a fan of Canadian Marshall McLuhan, even if he gets the quote wrong.

The guys wrap up with a discussion of ideas that they will put in the parking lot for future shows:

Dueling Experts