Ben Chapman

About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is an associate professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.

Food Safety Talk 119: It’s Purple, I Visited It

Don and Ben talk passion, flushing habits, ceviche, flour, cookie dough, Listeria and posting warning letters.

Episode 119 can be found here and on iTunes.

Show notes so you can follow along at home:

Food Safety Talk 118: Hand Size Matters

This episode has you covered from the top of your head to the tips of your lucky socks. Ben and Don dig into some 1980’s culture and shoot forward into the food on the future, and then back again. It’s a food (and pet) safety grab bag covering pineapple safety, hand sizes and hand sanitizers, safe raw cookie dough, rats, turtles, milk from camels, microgreens and toilet history.1485292970453

Episode 118 can be found here and on iTunes.

Here are some links so you can follow along at home.

Food Safety Talk 117: Clean Out The Air

Ben and Don talk about stuff they are watching, good kid movies and some food safety stuff. The pathogen conversation moves from listener feedback about oysters and couscous; to raw meat for pets; hazelnuts and Salmonella; and, sucking pathogens out of Chipotle air.3038290487_86889e7bc1_b

Episode 117 can be found here and on iTunes.

Show notes so you can follow along at home:

Food Safety Talk 116: Amusing My Bouche

Served gratis and according to your host’s selection alone, we offer up this post-holiday treat for your listening pleasure. Don and Ben talk about Carrie Fisher, barfblog, eating off of iPads, raw milk in vending machines and Vibrio performance standards in molluscan shellfish. 1483555419963

Episode 116 can be found here and on iTunes.

Show notes so you can follow along at home:

Observing is better than asking

Ten years ago, as a bunch of University of Guelph students were barfing in their residence bathrooms with noro, Brae Surgeoner, Doug and I hatched plot to observe hand hygiene practices in situ. We wanted test whether students in the midst of an outbreak would report they were really good at washing their hands or using sanitizer. We guessed that what they said, and what we would see, would be drastically different.

It wasn’t our first foray into observational research. A couple years before we did a bunch of secret shopping at Ontario grocery stores and interacted with associates to see what they share about food safety with patrons (us). We heard a whole bunch of nonsense. Ellen Thomas advanced this style of research by training a cadre of secret shoppers throughout the U.S. to order undercooked burgers at restaurants.

As Doug wrote a while back, ‘I view the grocery store and the restaurant as my laboratory. I watch and ask questions of people, especially front-line staff. The head of food safety back at corporate HQ may know the correct food safety answer, but are they providing support to front-line staff, the people customers are most likely to interact with?’

That lab also includes the home (or simulated home) kitchen.

Asking people what they know or do is a start. But it’s never enough. People lie, forget or don’t care. Employing other methods to confirm what they say they do is necessary to confirm actions.

So we’re working with RTI International and USDA FSIS to conduct observation research on consumer food handling behavior. FSIS announced the plans in the Federal Register for comment.

To test new consumer messaging and tailor existing messaging, FSIS can help ensure that it is effectively communicating with the public
and working to improve consumer food safety practices. This behavioral
research will provide insight into the effect FSIS consumer outreach
campaigns have on consumers’ food safety behaviors. The results of this
research will be used to enhance messaging and accompanying materials
to improve their food safety behavior. Additionally, this research will
provide useful information for tracking progress toward the goals
outlined in the FSIS Fiscal Years 2017-2021 Strategic Plan.
To inform the development of food safety communication products and
to evaluate public health education and communication activities, FSIS
is requesting approval for a new information collection to conduct
observational studies using an experimental design. Previous research
suggests that self-reported data (e.g., surveys) on consumers’ food
safety practices are unreliable, thus observational studies are a
preferred approach for collecting information on consumers’ actual food
safety practices. These observational studies will help FSIS assess
adherence to the four recommended food safety behaviors of clean,
separate, cook, and chill, and to determine whether food safety
messaging focused on those behaviors affects consumer food safety
handling behaviors and whether consumers introduce cross-contamination
during food preparation. For this 3-year study, FSIS plans to conduct
an observational study each year and to focus on a different behavior,
food and food preparation task, and food safety communication product
each year. The initial study will examine participants’ use of a food
thermometer to determine if meat and poultry products are cooked to the
proper temperatures. FSIS may decide to continue to conduct these
studies annually, and if so, will request a renewal to extend the
expiration date for the information collection request.

Be wary of thy service providers: Listeria in ice cream edition

Last week a restaurant operator called me about their tomato sauce. It’s apparently amazing, not the typical tomato, basil, garlic combo (or so I was told). They wanted to know how to bottle and process it so they could sell it. I stepped them through the food safety concerns with canning, told them about how to apply for a variance to the food code. And told them about another option -copackers – service providers who will take a recipe and process something.

Picking the right one, who knows how to manage food safety, matters.

Altijira Murray Products, LLC got caught up in some service provider mess and has recalled about 4000 pints of Foxy brand ice cream.

All of the recalled products were manufactured and packaged in a facility owned by a contract manufacturer, Dr. Bob’s of Upland, LLC. ucm534040

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found samples positive for Listeria monocytogenes in the contract manufacturer’s facility and in finished product of another company’s brand, leading the contract manufacturer to recall all ice cream products.

About Altijira Murray Products LLC.

We make amazing ice cream that’s just a little healthier for you. Ice Cream is not supposed to be healthy. It’s a treat, a reward, something sweet at the end of the day. We’re members of 1% For The Planet and use local, smaller manufacturers where possible to stimulate jobs and look after the environment. Our Foxy’s brand is a super premium ice cream with 20% less sugar and probiotics snuck in at the last minute – but don’t panic, you’d never know the difference.

Altijira Murray Products LLC is an extremely small business – just two people. Please leave a message on the Recall line and someone will call you back as soon as possible.

Uh huh.

 

Today in norovirus news

Winter vomiting virus, noro, Norwalk, whatever you want to call it, is all the rage right now. There are so many outbreaks it’s hardly new and novel.

Today, two schools in Denver shut due to an outbreak. And one in Florida.10849902_719581291471357_3442145704847569295_n1-300x3001-300x300-1

A hotel in Ireland also closed for to control the virus through cleaning and disinfection after residents, staff and guests came down with gastrointestinal illness symptoms. Sounds like a memorable wedding.

 

Outbreak at San Antonio Housing Authority event leads to hospitalization

‘The people was wonderful. The food was wonderful,’ James Hamilton said, ‘when I first ate it.’

Sounds like most outbreaks.

According to KSAT12 an event for individuals supported by the San Antonio Housing Authority is being linked to a bunch of illnesses.

Hamilton said it did not take long for the food to make him ill.photo

“I started walking down the hallway to my apartment and I didn’t make it,” he said. “I got very sick before I even made it inside the door.”

The gala was held Friday at the Freeman Coliseum and the menu was a traditional holiday mix. Less than 48 hours later, Hamilton said he was in the hospital.

The housing authority would not disclose who prepared and provided the food.

The whole situation has left a bad taste in Hamilton’s mouth. “Getting food poisoning is one thing,” he said, “but them not telling the public that it happened is another thing altogether.”

Yep, that sucks. Businesses that make people sick don’t deserve to be protected. Share what you know. And what you don’t.

Tragic Thanksgiving outbreak linked to Clostridium perfringens 

It’s deja vu all over again. In November 2015 over 40 fell ill with Clostridium perfringens in my home state of North Carolina following a Thanksgiving community meal.

The caterer failed to keep the hot foods hot according to the investigation report in MMWR:

Turkeys were cooked approximately 10 hours before lunch, placed in warming pans, and plated in individual servings. Food was then delivered by automobile, which required multiple trips. After cooking and during transport, food sat either in warming pans or at ambient temperature for up to 8 hours. No temperature monitoring was conducted after cooking.

Today, according to the LA Times, perfringens has been linked to another Thanksgiving outbreak. This one was fatal.thanksgiving-dinner-1_0

Health officials say common foodborne bacteria caused an illness that left three people dead and sickened 22 others who attended a Thanksgiving dinner at an events hall in Antioch, Calif.

Officials identified the three people who died as 43-year-old Christopher Cappetti, 59-year-old Chooi Keng Cheah, and 69-year-old Jane Evans. All were residents of assisted living facilities in Antioch.

From a Contra Costa County press release:

A laboratory at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) confirmed the presence of the bacteria in stool samples taken from people sickened by food served at the Nov. 24 holiday celebration, held by a community church at Antioch’s American Legion auditorium.

“Our investigation was not able to determine exactly what people ate that made them sick. But after extensive interviews we found most of the ill people ate turkey and mashed potatoes and they all ate around the same time. Some dishes served at the event, including cooked turkey, were brought to the site after they were prepared in private homes,” said Dr. Marilyn Underwood, CCHS Environmental Health director.

 

CSPI petitions undetectable limit of Vibrio vulnificus in molluscan shellfish, FDA says no

The almost tweet-length version is that CSPI is looking for the shellfish industry to be held to a performance standard zero tolerance of V. vulnificus in stuff like oysters, highlighting the public health risks. unknown-1FDA writes a well referenced and reasoned response denying the request citing lots of evidence that the states and industry have been successful in reducing risks.

You can read the response here.