We have two Persian fluff balls for cats, and one insists on sleeping in the sink.
According to The Atlantic, the parasite Toxoplasmosis gondii comes into us by undercooked meat, well-intentioned placentas (what?), gardening soil, or, most infamously, cats. It is the reason that pregnant women are not supposed to empty litter boxes.
“If you’re young and healthy and have it already, it might provide some benefit, as we saw in our research,” says Ann-Kathrin Stock, a cognitive neurophysiology researcher at the University of Dresden in Germany. “But the adverse effects are potentially huge. If you ever really get sick it might be what kills you.”
Many people have what feels like a cold after they get infected with Toxo. The symptoms pass, and the person feels fine. But the Toxo lives on inside them, hidden dormant in little cysts, kept in check by constant pressure from the person’s immune system. If our immune systems become weak, because of a serious illness later in life, though, the Toxo can break out and attack organs like the brain or retina.
“You might lose your ability to see, or lose your cognitive faculties,” Stock said.
Neuroscientist Joraslov Flegr, an eminent voice in Toxo research, told The Atlantic last year that, “Toxoplasma might even kill as many people as malaria, or at least a million people a year.”
What does it mean to learn that it can also have beneficial effects?
Toxo has been all over the news in recent years, since it became known that the parasite manipulates people’s behavior. Maybe most interestingly and notoriously, it seems to make men more introverted, suspicious, unattractive to women, and oblivious to the way others see them.
Clearly, I have Toxo.
Infected women, inversely, have been shown to be more outgoing, trusting, sexually adventurous, attractive to men, and image-conscious.
Clearly Amy has Toxo.
I don’t miss winter.
I look at the temperatures and the pictures from Kansas and Brantford, and I don’t miss winter.
I’ve discovered those things can be done in warm weather, and I’d rather just sleep with Amy.
Fewer shovels to the head.
On January 8, 2013, the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene notified the Wisconsin Division of Public Health (WDPH) of two patients with Escherichia coli O157:H7 clinical isolates that had indistinguishable, but commonly identified, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns. The two patients were interviewed by local health departments within 1 day of the initial report. They revealed that they had eaten raw ground beef purchased from the same meat market and served as “tiger meat” or “cannibal sandwiches.” In this dish, the raw ground beef typically is served on rye bread or crackers with onions and is a traditional winter holiday specialty in certain regions of the upper Midwest. Five agencies (the Watertown Department of Health; WDPH; Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection; U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service; and CDC) investigated to determine the magnitude of the outbreak, prevent additional infections, and better understand raw ground beef consumption.
The market provided a list of 62 persons who preordered raw ground beef for the 2012 winter holiday season. A case-finding and knowledge-attitudes-practices questionnaire was administered to 53 of 62 persons included on that list, plus nine additional household members, and two persons with reported illness. A probable case was defined as diarrhea with onset occurring in a person who had been exposed in the previous 10 days to raw ground beef sold by the market during December 22, 2012–January 4, 2013. A confirmed case was an illness meeting the probable case definition in a person from whose stool E. coli O157:H7 with PFGE and multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat analysis (MLVA) patterns indistinguishable from those of the outbreak strain had been isolated.
Among 17 patients (four with confirmed and 13 with probable cases), 13 were female, and median age was 46 years (range: 1–82 years). Eight (47%) had received outpatient medical care; no hospitalizations or deaths occurred. Fourteen patients reported eating raw ground beef served as tiger meat or cannibal sandwiches during the holiday, and three had exposure to raw ground beef from cross-contamination. The market voluntarily recalled 2,532 pounds (1,148 kg) of raw ground beef on January 15, 2013. E. coliO157:H7 isolates from four patients and two raw ground beef samples (one in original packaging) collected from two households had PFGE and MLVA patterns indistinguishable from the outbreak strain.
Among respondents to the questionnaire, 55 (98%) of 56 reported consuming raw ground beef only during special occasions or winter holidays. A total of 53 (91%) of 58 were aware that consuming raw ground beef could cause illness, but only 17 (41%) of 42 thought that illness could be severe. Six of 15 (40%) patients and 28 (70%) of 40 non-ill persons said they intended to eat raw ground beef in the future.
In this same region of Wisconsin, raw ground beef served as tiger meat was associated with large (more than 50 cases) outbreaks of foodborne illness reported to WDPH during 1972, 1978, and 1994 (1–3). Despite ongoing outreach efforts addressing the dangers associated with consuming undercooked or raw ground beef, this regional holiday tradition continues to be associated with outbreaks.
Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence implicated raw ground beef from the market as the source of E. coli O157:H7 in this outbreak. The rapid public health response resulted in timely case detection and likely prevention of additional cases through product recall.
A professor once told this nubile food science graduate student that it was all about adding water and salt to protein and charging more.
The Dutch food safety authority NNWA has made ‘several enforcement visits’ to Dutch factories where meat is tumbled with water to increase its weight in recent months, the Guardian newspaper reported on Saturday.
The aim of the visits was to stop the practice of adding water to imported chicken destined for resale as raw meat, the paper said. The NVWA told the paper chicken produced in this way is illegal.
When academics or politicians or pretty much anybody is lost on an issue, they usually say, we need to educate people about this very important issue.
We’ve done research and found the education model don’t work so well. More importantly is how to inform people so they actually give a shit (instead of putting shit, on food).
Some German researchers investigated a cluster of shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O104:H4 infections after a family party during a large STEC O104:H4 outbreak in Germany and report their findings in Epidemiology and Infection.
To identify the vehicle we conducted a retrospective cohort study. Stool samples of party guests, and food and environmental samples from the catering company were tested for STEC. We defined cases as party guests with gastrointestinal symptoms and laboratory-confirmed STEC infection. We found 23 cases among 71 guests. By multivariable analysis consumption of salmon [odds ratio (OR) 15, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2·3–97], herb cream (OR 6·5, 95% CI 1·3–33) and bean salad (OR 6·1, 95% CI 1·4–26) were associated with STEC infection. STEC O104:H4 was detected in samples of bell pepper and salmon. The food handler developed STEC infection. Our results point towards transmission via several food items contaminated by a food handler. We recommend regular education of food handlers emphasizing their role in transmitting infectious diseases.
There’s some fast-food workers strike in the U.S., so, according to The Braiser, Umami Burger decided to serve a ‘money’s no object’ burger.
The New York City outpost of LA’s burger chain Umami Burger announced on Facebook a new burger on the menu, called “M.N.O. (Money’s No Object).” It costs $75. Its Facebook description:
Imagine all that dry-aged Bryan Flannery wagyu beef, vintage wine port reduction, freshly shaved white Alba truffles and oh yeah, that Grade A Hudson Valley foie gras.
What I care about is the heaping helping of vomit-inducing sprouts on the burger.
The kid has taken to eating dried apricots as a bedtime snack.
But I don’t know anything about raw apricot kernels.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand apparently does and is changing its advice: that it is unsafe for adults to eat more than three raw apricot kernels (with skin on) per day. Children should not eat any.
Some plant based foods, such as raw apricot kernels contain cyanide which can pose a risk to consumers.
Apricot kernels are edible nut-like objects found within the stone of fresh apricots. There are different types of apricot kernels—those with the skin on contain high levels of cyanide that can be released into the body when eaten. Those with the skin off also contain cyanide, but at lower levels.
There have been reports of poisoning incidents in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United Kingdom and Europe from eating raw apricot kernels.
In 2011 a consumer in Queensland was hospitalised after consuming raw apricot kernels with high levels of hydrocyanic acid. At the time, FSANZ warned consumers not to consume raw apricot kernels.
Based on new information, FSANZ has revised its earlier advice and now advises that it is unsafe for adults to eat more than three raw apricot kernels (with skin on) per day. Children should not eat any.
Consuming processed foods derived from apricot kernels (e.g. amaretti biscuits, almond finger biscuits, apricot jams, and apricot nectar) doesn’t pose a risk because processing or cooking these foods reduces cyanide to safe levels.
“When you tell them they can’t do it, they think you’re talking about life, when all you’re talking about is second base.”
I’ve had to cut, or let go, little girls from a travel hockey team, I’ve had to deal with disappointment, but it doesn’t mean I failed at life. Maybe I just sucked at skating.
And maybe I just sucked at being a vice-president.
As Sparky says, “When you run a team you have to make decisions … I got my team and you got your team … if there’s anything I can ever do for you, just let me know.” (the relevant bit is about 20:30).
Christmas can be exhausting in Australia. There’s no Thanksgiving, little Halloween, and summer’s here, so everyone’s ready to party.
Tonight, to relieve some pressure, we ate at the pool after the swimming lessons, because every Aussie child must swim (and play hockey – the ice kind – but that’s my addition).
I got a burger and fries for me and Amy, and chicken thingies with fries for the kid.
No aioli or mayonnaise.
But I did ask the person who took two frozen patties and fried them up, how do you know when the hamburger is done.
She said she cuts the patty in half and looks at the color.
Color is a lousy indicator of safety, and my burger was not cut – not that it would matter.
Use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer and stick it in. That’s what I’ll be doing at the kid’s birthday party at the barbie in the park tomorrow.