Filtering by Tag: Michelle Danyluk

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 38: Like an 80's Dating Show

Added on by Ben Chapman.

Once again, Skype and Call Recorder weren’t playing nicely for Ben while Don felt a bit like Michael Douglas in the Wonder Boys. Don has been investigating Google Hangouts for running a online live show though Michelle Danyluk didn’t think they could do a live show at IAFP, unless maybe it was in the format of an 80’s dating show, like the one on Mallrats.

Ben had some follow up to his son, Jack, vomiting on a Delta plane reported in Episode 37 . While Ben initially thought the etiological agent was Astrovirus (which would make Jack ‘Astro Boy’) he wasn't sure after feeling the effects a week later. It even stopped Ben from fully enjoying the dinner he had at Fire with Michele.

Ben then had some follow up about the state ag-gag laws. The guys were concerned about the protective approach instead of being open and transparent. The latter would also help the agriculture industry to create a greater understanding of food production. And sometimes an exposé (or Exposé) can change things for the better.

In the new Bug Trivia segment, Don shared some information about Salmonella pulled together by Carl Custer. It turns out that Salmonella was named after a guy who didn’t discover it and after a disease that it didn’t cause – go figure.

The discussion then turned to a Cryptosporidia-related outbreak in Bendigo, Australia. Ben felt that the public health messages in the article were conflicting (and incorrect). The guys disagreed with the advice that hand hygiene was important (in this instance) and were more inclined to believe that it was transmitted through swimming pools. In fact, crypto is a hardly little parasite for which alcohol based sanitizers and even chlorine aren’t effective.

This reminded Don of a recent hepatitis A scare and an article that was published in the journal of Food Protection entitled “Cost Effectiveness of Vaccinating Food Service Workers against Hepatitis A Infection” which concluded a public health benefit to hospitality workers, but not patrons. This prompted a broader discussion about Hep A infected restaurant staff.

The guys then turned from pastry chefs in restaurants to pastry in Greek university canteens. The guys were concerned about the results, though Don’s work on ready-to-eat foods in university canteens shows much, much lower levels. Well, maybe the staff in the Greek university canteens didn’t have time for training, just like the business that took part in a study by Campden BRI, which indicated that food safety training was hampered by lack of time. However, Don and Ben were skeptical about “43% [who] said food safety training was obstructed by the difficulties of checking the effectiveness of training programmes.”

Ben then steered to conversation to writing journal articles and Don’s use of contour plots – he clearly is The Boss. Don’s contour plot shows the log increases in Listeria organisms given time and temperature, from which suitable consumer messages can be created.

Before signing off, the guys then briefly talked about Doug Powell being fired from Kansas State for bad attendance and Don expressed his gratitude for all of Doug’s work, which helped him enormously over the years. And it looks like Doug’s keen to come on the podcast … so stay tuned.

In the after dark, the guys talked about toilet paper dispensers for campers, though Ben’s missing the iPhone holder, and the Apple remote.

Food Safety Talk 31: The Christmas Holiday Spectacular

Added on by Ben Chapman.

Ben was in a holiday mood after spending time in Florida and catching up with friend of the show, Michelle Danyluk. He also met up with Doug Powell for the annual barfblog editorial team meeting and had lunch with Bert Mitchell. The guys exchanged their holiday MP3 picks, including Sloan’s Merry X’mas Everybody and Jonathan Coulton & John Roderick’s Christmas in Jail. Some non-Christmas and non-food safety-related ramblings included The Good Lovelies, The Comic Book Club of Ithaca, Doctor Doom, Teen Titans, the comiXology app, and Saga.

The guys then talked food safety communication and Ben praised this system for restaurant inspection disclosure, as well as jurisdictional approaches (such as this one in Plano) that provide access to restaurant inspection histories. Don was excited about "Variability Among States in Investigating Foodborne Disease Outbreaks", but felt let down as there was little information about the reason for this variability. Ben and Don wondered whether it had to do with the caliber of epidemiologists – or was it related to how hard they were looking for foodborne illness problems and the things that define their food safety culture?

The discussion then turned to smartphone apps, which was prompted by Ben’s barfblog article about a soon to be released app by Food Sentry. The guys were curious about what they’d be getting for the subscription fee and how rankings were magically created, and noted that some of the information is already publically available through the FDA’s Product Recalls app and others. The serious discussion about risk rankings quickly degraded into poop-a-licious fun with the Poop the World app. While Don was a little freaked out he was pleased that the app included a hand washing reminder. Ben was wondering whether the data could be used similar to Google’s Flu Trends to identify and track food borne illness outbreaks.

The guys then talked about several food safety related papers, including a paper co-authored by Don entitled “Fate of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella on fresh-cut celery”. The second paper was “Efficacies of Sodium Hypochlorite and Quaternary Ammonium Sanitizers for Reduction of Norovirus and Selected Bacteria during Ware-Washing Operations” and Ben wondered what the implications for cleaning up after a vomiting event in a restaurant setting are (like the one Ben lived through in Episode 22). The article “Outbreaks of Acute Gastroenteritis Transmitted by Person-to-Person Contact – United States, 2009-2010” blew Don’s mind as he found at that the CDC was not tracking person-to-person transmission of acute gastroenteritis prior to implementation of the National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS) in 2009.

The guys then finished off talking about some recent Kansas City Star articles about the beef industry, especially one about problems with needle tenderised beef, as well as the recent barfblog article about a paper on food safety and social media.

Don was excited that Chuck Haas and Aamir Fazil are now listening to the podcast and he invited listeners to comment on the discussion during the show. They guys also urged listeners rate the podcast on iTunes.

In the after dark, Don told Ben about the Spaceteam app, which he wants to play with Ben and Mike Batz (like these guys). And planning a Skype call between the guys and Andreas in Australia was proving a little difficult, because of the time difference.

Food Safety Talk 31: The Christmas Holiday Spectacular

Food Safety Talk 25: Two Little Super Heroes, Mangoes and Cantaloupes

Added on by Don Schaffner.

The guys started the show with the usual technobabble. Ben explained the history of barfblog and the reason for the recent server switch. He also mentioned the attack on GoDaddy by Anonymous – possibly because of the elephant shooting and their support of SOPA – which affected 1.5 million websites, including barfblog and Dani’s new mommy-blog. The guys counseled listeners not to piss off the Anonymous or WikiLeaks people.

Don then talked about his recent radio appearance to talk about the Stanford meta-analysis on the safety of organic and conventional foods. Don complained how a Google search on the topic resulted in a large number of media publications, but except for the New York Times article, none provided information to help track down the original publication. Eventually he found the original article, and in his quest to find work on microbial food safety of organic food he then tracked down a couple of papers by Francisco Diez-Gonzalez. But Don’s key message during the radio interview was that people shouldn’t worry about the safety of conventional versus organic, but instead focus on eating fruits and vegetables, because they are healthy.

Ben then talked about the ambiguity in the Stanford press release, such as “there isn’t much difference between organic and conventional foods, if you’re an adult and making a decision based solely on your health.” Maybe that’s why some people took this paper as evidence that organic foods were better. Nevertheless, Ben liked the conclusion that “this is information that people can use to make their own decisions based on their level of concern about pesticides, their budget and other considerations.” Don thought that for the majority of people it was more beneficial to buy more fruit and vegetables than to buy the expensive ones.

Ben still hasn’t started his homework – watching The Wire. But at least he’s done The Wire personality test – just to find out he’s “Snot Boogie.”

Ben then recalled the discussion from last podcast and how washing cantaloupe increased the probability of pathogen spread. Michelle Danyluk commented to the guys that she believe it was retail stores who required washing. Ben wondered whether the buyers knew about the risk of washing. Don strongly doubted it as people probably thought that not washing is riskier, because they don’t consider cross-contamination and because they use sanitizer. That said, Don did wonder whether producers really understood and had verified the efficacy of their systems. Ben recalled that as part of the T-GAP program in Florida the field packing of tomatoes has been outlawed, and he was concerned that this would likely result in producers to choose to wash tomatoes.

Mike Batz’ tweeted about CDC having made MMWR available online for 1952-1982. Don fondly recalled the only enjoyable bit of his first undergraduate microbiology class where the professor would read them an “MMWR bedtime story.” The guys reminisced about the stories in MMWR 1(1) and how far technology had come – unlike then we can now often find the cause of an outbreak.

Don then followed up a comment on norovirus on cruise ships (last episode) that Andreas had left them in the show notes. Craig Hedburg had previously shared with Don that while people shed norovirus for a long time they only spread it when they have active diarrhea. Don also noted that infection via hands touching infected objects, such as door knobs and railings, was less likely than infection via direct ingestion (as a result of cross contamination at the self serving bar).

Ben then recalled a conversation with Richard Sprenger, who runs the training company Highfield, in Dubai last year. In particular, Richard had said that full implementation of HACCP at retail would require elimination of outside contamination sources as much as possible, but doing so would reduce sales. Hence, any retailer wanting to remain in business had to weigh up the risk and benefits of eliminating all potential contamination sources. This then prompted a short discussion about various risk-benefit tradeoffs that retailers would have to consider all the time – though Don prefers those who err on the side of caution.

The discussion then turned to the large foodborne illness outbreak associated with Mexican mangoes, which has now resulted in various product recalls. Don talked about a hypothetically bitchy email from an unnamed colleague, which sparked a discussion about outbreaks and recalls and how they do and don’t occur together. Don recalled this USDA report about a green onion related hepatitis A outbreak and the associated economic impacts on Mexican producers with various degrees of GAP implementations. In particular, it showed that those doing the right things were less impacted, if at all. Ben then stressed the need for all producers to demonstrate how they were doing the right things, which was, at least partially, in response to a Huffington Post article on the requirements placed on organic producers.

The conversation then turned to the difficulty of good risk communication in the face of an outbreak. In particular, Don recalled his recent ‘deer in the headlights’ moment when he was asked how he would advise Chamberlain Farms to communicate with the associated press after the link between patients and isolates found on Chamberlain Farm fields had been confirmed. Luckily, Doug Powell and Ben managed to save Don by providing some well thought out words.

Ben finished off with some information about a workshop he delivered to producers on how to recover from a recall or outbreak. In particular, he recalled a retail representative comment on how they make decisions about whether they continue to buying from a supplier after an outbreak – they base it on how the supplier reacts and communicates and whether they know what they are doing.

In the after dark the guys reminisced about Alf and Don also found a Frank Zappa on the toilet picture online, in memory of Doug writing his words of wisdom in the dunny.

Food Safety Talk 25: Two Little Super Heroes, Mangoes And Cantaloupes

Food Safety Talk 18: Bunkum!

Added on by Don Schaffner.

The show opens once again with the requisite Skype complaints. Don tries to impress Ben with his use of the 5by5 soundboard, but to no avail. The guys briefly discuss Ben's son Jack, Don's student (and fan of the show), Dane, and other fan of the show Michelle, who was inspired by e16 to spend the day listening to "The Hip".

As usual, the guys eventually get around to discussing food safety and the current Tempeh-borne outbreak, which is occurring in Bunkum County, North Carolina. Where Alice B. Toklas might have once lived, or not. The Tempeh in question was produced by a company called Smiling Hara, where according to Wikipedia, Hara might be a Japanese term referring for the stomach, feces in Maltese language, or pigsty in Latin. Ben has actually visited Buncombe County, because it is well established, he is a hippie. Surprisingly, or maybe not, the food safety risks of tempeh have actually been documented in the scientific literature, including the observation that "Active mycelial growth on the beans resulted in a sharp increase in pH. This was always accompanied by a sharp increase in the growth rate of the test organisms".

After the discussion of tempeh food safety, the guys move on to a discussion of the safety of cut leafy greens and proper refrigeration temperature and the FDA model food code. Of course, this leads to a mention of the Conference for Food Protection, where issues like time out of temperature control get debated. Ben points out that the Federal regulations for food processors require refrigeration at 45 F, while the more up to date Food Code says 41 F is the right temperature. He has this on good authority, as he's checked this with Kevin Smith... er... anyway, the Kevin Smith from the FDA Office of Food Safety. Ben's interest in cut leafy greens lead his student to do research, which may have lead her neighbors to think she was cooking meth in her car. In the interest of public safety, we are passing on Randy Phebus's sage advice: if you see a cooler by the side of the road, don't open it.

The guys discuss a bunch of stuff in the after-dark, and discover the amazing fact that Rochester, NY is equidistant from their respective home towns.

Food Safety Talk 18: Bunkum!

Food Safety Talk 11: Somewhere on I-95

Added on by Don Schaffner.

Episode 11 opens with a This is Spinal Tap reference, and a call back to an earlier episode. As usual, the guys seem to have technical difficulties, starting with Ben's need for a noise gate. It has taken a while to get this episode posted due to repeated issues relating to a Skype call with more than two people. Fortunately, Ben was able to fix it in post. Next time in might be easier to meet in person somewhere along I-95. Below are links to some of the stuff talked about on the podcast:

Somewhere On I-95