Filtering by Tag: Salmonella

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 48: Ninja moves to rock and roll

Added on by Don Schaffner.

The guys started the show with some general chit chat about The Beer Store and The Nail Shop, the Beach Boys, including "Pet Sounds", Chuck Berry, Bed Bad Baaaaaaatz, Don's Etymotic hf5 earphones, Twitter, (including this discussion), and Barb O'Neill's great work.

Prompted by a link from Alejandro Amezquita, the guys then turned their attention to laundry and in the process gave the phrase "Eat My Shorts!" a new meaning. In the article, Lisa Ackerley discussed the hygiene of laundering. The guys recalled a couple of research articles by Chuck Gerba related to the topic (here and here). Neither Don nor Ben were particularly worried about this.

This reminded Ben of The Salt article on cooking food in the dishwasher. The guys discussed the potential risk of this approach and the sciences that is needed. Another The Salt article on washing poultry had also resulted in a large amount of social media engagement, which is something the Don and Ben are always keen to explore. And both enjoyed Alton Brown's proper method for washing out the inside of a whole poultry.

The guys then moved onto the bug trivia replacement segment called Food Safety History, in honor of a 100 years of the IAFP Journal of Food Protection. In this episode the Don covered the pre 1940 era. It all started with the Journal of Milk Technology and the connection with raw milk reminded Ben of this Toronto Star article.

Don then wanted to talk about this NY Times article, related to Salmonella in spices, and the related Food Microbiology article. Don posed Ben the questions that he was asked for a Rutgers Q&A press release on this topic and the guys compared their answers.

The guys then got fired up about the Cronut Burger-related outbreak article by Jason Tetro. Ben didn't quite agree with some of Jason's assumptions, so Ben queried the manufacturers about the parameters of the product, which Le Dolci didn't know. Ben eventually found the answer from Toronto Public Health, and was able to set the record straight.

To finish off, Don mentioned The New Disruptors podcast (earlier episodes), which featured Marisa McClellan in Episode 38 "Yes, we can!" talking about food preservation. Don was pleasantly surprised by her knowledge, including her mention of the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

In the after dark the guys continued the canning discussion, including Canvolution, Canning Across America and pink flamingos for their 50th episode.

Food Safety Talk 45: My chicken is dry

Added on by Ben Chapman.

Ben had difficulty talking while eating, which didn’t matter too much while the guys discussed the weather. A link from fan Erin (see also barfblog coverage), on the emerging food-safety-expose genre got Don and Ben warmed up for the show.

To follow up from FST 44, Ben’s H. pylori issues have been resolved, though one of his hockey friends had an interesting story involving yogurt. The guys then followed up on the mechanically tenderized beef discussion from FST 43 and FST 44, and a bit about Ben’s grad student’s research plan.

The guys then took a pop culture detour thanks to Ben worrying about peaking to early (research wise speaking), which remind Don of a Dan Bern’s Tiger Wood song. The discussion also covered Sound City, and some Australian pop-culture with Muriel's Wedding and The Castle.

In the bug trivia segment the guys focused on Vibrio parahaemolyticus, which is the other fast growing bacterium (c.f. FST 39) and can double every 7 minutes under optimal conditions. Don was familiar with this organism as he’s published about the effects of lime juice on V. parahaemolyticus in ceviche. The guys then tossed around some ideas for a follow up segment for when they run out of bugs for bug trivia which included using the IAFP 100 year celebration materials.

The discussion then turned to a Food Safety News articles on the NC Farm Bill and Ben thought that there might be some unintended consequences to this Bill. The guys then discussed the broader issues related to the risks of producing food, especially produce, and what this means for liability. The guys agreed that in some cases there just aren’t identifiable contributing factors, such as in the Fayetteville outbreak, and contemplated that this might differ in terms of liability compared to a case where there is clear negligence.

The focus then shifted to chickens, which was prompted by this paper in Journal of Food Safety. The rates of Campylobacter and Salmonella found on chickens purchased from farmer’s markets and supermarkets were similarly high. Don was also interested in a link shared by Andreas about raw chicken hand towel, especially because of the comments posted to it. To finish off the chicken theme the guys talked about a Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak linked to a single poultry producer. But the industry and USDA have been vewy, vewy quiet!

Ben’s watching The Newsroom again and in the after dark the guys were frustrated by their iTunes ratings and that Carl Winter and even a dog food safety podcast episode was rating higher. Ben also shared the sacrifices he has to make to get new hockey skates. The guys finished off with a trail mix inspired Best in Show, Family Tree, Launch Bar and Food Safety Talk shirts.

Food Safety Talk 41: Always Looking Out for Nuts

Added on by Ben Chapman.

Don shared that he’s been flogging the podcast mercilessly during his recent travels. The guys then launched straight into the Bug Trivia segment, highlighting Clostridium perfringens, which can be a big problem particularly for meat processors who need to cool large cuts of cooked meat quickly (to meet the FSIS performance standard). Carl Custer’s notes indicate that it was infamous for causing gas gangrene. During cooking of meat the spores germinate and these can grow incredibly fast if the rate of cooling is inadequate. Luckily it generally doesn’t cause death, but can cause a potentially fatal disease called pig-bel especially in countries where cooked meat is held at room temperature for long periods of time. Ben has developed some food safety infosheets for this organism, including this one detailing an outbreak linked to a school event.

The guys then turned their attention to baked goodies and that some things on the Internet are not true. Don referred to one of those typical urban legend emails warning people to discard their out-of-date pancake and cake mixes for risk of causing anaphylactic allergic reactions. Turns out that there is some truth to the matter as you can see from Snopes and this scientific article “An unusual case of anaphylaxis. Mold in pancake mix.” While there are some incorrect aspects to the story, Don would always advise people to not use food that has passed its best or sell by date because of the lower quality (the dates are there for a reason).

The conversation then turned to canning as Ben, the self-proclaimed Canning King of Wake County NC, recently received a question about canning mushrooms. While the email appeared to be about quality, Ben’s concern was Clostridium botulinum (see bug trivia in FST 39) and hence he elevated this email to an 11 on the 1 to 10 scale. So, Ben passed on information on canning mushrooms from the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Don was also dealing with canning questions and was worried about people fiddling with established jam recipes for fear of a repeat of what happened in Cowichan with watermelon jelly.

Ben then went on a Salmonella-fuelled hazelnut caper – he was grumpy about the lack of supplier information provided by the CFIA, although Lynne Terry from The Oregonian managed to find it out. Ben felt this information could be important to other distributers who would be able to make better decisions (provided they had the right food safety culture). Don noted that weenie public health folk, such as Dr. Eric Wilke, had Doug all fired up. Dr Wilke’s antics at the press conference turned serious foodborne illness outbreak into bizarre theater. Not cool, dude. The Salmonella outbreak from Fayetteville Hotelon the I-95 reminded Don of FST 11 and the guys discussed some of the ill-informed responses of public health officials after food borne illness outbreaks.

Don and Ben then turned their attention to needle tenderized beef, which was prompted by the MeatingPlace opinion about this Consumer Reports article. While James Marsden was against labeling of mechanically tenderized beef, Canada has already moved to such a labeling requirement, although Doug had some questions about it. Ben had managed to find some research on cooking inoculated and mechanically tenderized beef, although the debate about it is ongoing. Both Ben and Don would prefer to have this type of product clearly labeled, although their preference is for naturally tender and flavorsome beef cuts (such as MSA graded beef).

In the after dark the guys talked about Don’s upcoming trip to Brazil and Denmark, and Ben's trip to Nebraska.

Food Safety Talk 40: All in on Boogers

Added on by Ben Chapman.

The guys started the show with some news and general chit chat, including hockey, an article about fighting bacteria with mucus, Linked In (perhaps the creepiest social network), Don’s Silver Beaver Award, surely a ’Major Award’, and the TV they are watching: Arrested Development, Adventure Time and Game of Thrones.

The new ‘Food is the New Rock’ podcast (suggested by fan of the show Brian Sauders - @BSauders) that provides a blend of food and music topics, reminded Ben of this Freganism barfblog article. Don then mentioned some interesting work of University of Iowa's Computational Epidemiology Group was working on, which was followed by a discussion about IAFP annual conference and IAFP PDGs.

The bug trivia segment focused on Staphylococcus aureus, which is ubiquitous in the human and animal buccal cavities. Staph produces a heat resistant enterotoxin in food, famous in part for causing the Chinese canned mushrooms outbreak. Don also noted that S. aureus poisoning was also known as Ptomaine poisoning.

The guys then talked about this SciLogs article by Matt Shipman (from Ben and Matt YouTube fame) and why people might not care about grants that have been awarded but are more interested in research outcomes.

The discussion then turned to the Salmonella Saintpaul cucumber outbreak and Ben was surprised by the lack of media coverage this outbreak created. Don noted that cucumbers generally had high microbial counts, as did other fresh produce such as tomatoes and lettuce, and he wondered why there hadn’t been more outbreaks to date. Ben was wondering whether contamination might be related to the water used in greenhouse production, which reminded Don of a recent article on bacteria in surface waters. Don pondered whether high relative humidity in greenhouses might be related to the transfer of pathogens.

The NSF’s article on the germiest kitchen items made Don and Ben so angry. They were flabbergasted by the lack of scientific rigor used in the work and in the reporting of it. The less-than-helpful food safety messages in the article reminded Don of Merlin Mann’s Old Butchers post, which mentions the ‘useful’ Lifehacker article on using soap to clean dishes.

The guys didn’t feel much better about the Consumer Reports article on ground turkey. They wondered about the low Campylobacter isolation rate and Don shared some concerns about the study that he had also discussed with Marge Perry. Ben and Don congratulated AMI on their spot on public response but they felt that the National Turkey Federation response lived up to its name.

In the after dark the guys talked about Dan Rockey’s research on Chlamydia and Don’s upcoming Brazil trip thanks to Scientists without Borders.