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Food Safety Talk 39: Des Moines is Known for their Scallops

Added on by Don Schaffner.

The guys start by answering a question from listener Tom (whom Ben met at the Consumer Federation of America National Food Policy conference) and his request for guidance on research areas in food safety. Don’s advice was that Tom should follow his passion and from there pick a university or faculty member. This then turned into a broader discussion about education, with a focus on distance and online learning.

Don then talked about his attendance at ISGP’s  Food Safety, Security, and Defense: Focus on Technologies and Innovations conference in Verona, Italy, which operates under the Chatham House Rules (not to be confused with the Cider House Rules). Don really enjoyed the discussions between the scientific experts and policy makers and he enjoyed meeting Lynn Frewer. Don also talked about his recent visit to GOJO with his student (and some times listener Dane Jensen) to discuss Dane’s PhD research.

In the Bug Trivia segment, Ben talked about Clostridium botulinum, the ‘sausage poisoning’ bug, and Ben’s recent Barfblog post on the topic. The guys thought that tin-foiled potatoes caused unnecessarily large concern because of one outbreak, as most botulism cases are linked to ineffective home canning practices. While Ben had trouble pronouncing nitrosamines, he challenged Andreas to find papers by Gibson and Roberts on Clostridium and cured meats. Andreas did not disappoint, finding Factors controlling the growth of Clostridium botulinum types A and B in pasteurized, cured meats parts I, II, III, IV, V, and VI.

The guys then talked about the Egg Rollie, as Aaron "you-SUE-ghee" wanted to know whether the cooked ‘egg rollie’ could be contaminated by raw egg as it rises. Ben wasn’t too concerned and Don pointed out that while there was a risk, the risks of illness from eating raw eggs were rather low.

The conversation then turned to the Listeria and cantaloupes, as FDA was planning to undertake a survey of Listeria monocytogenes in US cantaloupe packing houses. Ben has been organizing industry workshops with Chris Gunter (guest in FST episode 3) and some others. Ben explained what he would do if he was a producer and FDA were about to visit his packing house for sampling. Don agreed with Ben’s strategy and pointed out that baseline information on pathogen prevalence on produce was needed. However, the guys couldn’t understand why the samples were not also going to be tested for Salmonella, which had been involved in more cantaloupe related outbreaks than Listeria. In addition, Don wasn’t convinced that this survey was the best use of public funds. This reminded Don of a USA Today article on sequestration which included a Doug Powell quote, which Don also posted on his Tumblr.

Ben sent a shout out to Ashley Chaifetz, a PhD student studying public policy, who wrote a Barfblog post on Salmonella in dog food (and this follow up post) and how she now longer trusted the dog food manufacturer. Finally the guys sent a big thank you to the folks at SHS Design who updated their FST logo for iTunes.

In the after dark the guys talked about a couple of iTunes comments, their usual scheduling challenges, a potential guest, "Rappaz R.N. Dainja” and Science Online.