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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
All of the recalled products were manufactured and packaged in a facility owned by a contract manufacturer, Dr. Bob’s of Upland, LLC.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. FDA 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.
Some Rutgers University students had a nasty gastrointestinal illness last week that is likely norovirus, according to the Daily Targum. Don and I talked about this outbreak on the podcast today. Rutgers has a few things working for them: the semester is over (leaving lots of time to clean and sanitize; and less places for the virus to be transmitted), and Schaffner is there providing some technical advice.
At least 35 students are complaining of feeling sick after a suspected virus broke out on campus around Dec. 7.
Many of these students, who claim to have eaten in the Livingston and Brower Dining Halls, believe they are suffering from food poisoning. But University Sanitarian John Nason said he does not think this is a food-borne illness.
“The virus is people-to-people. We don’t believe it’s food-borne,” he said. “Most people are getting sick 90 minutes to two hours after eating, which doesn’t make sense. Most people who get sick after eating think it’s food poisoning.”
He said the onset time of 90 minutes to two hours does not equivocate to a food-borne virus, considering viruses such as E. coli and salmonella have an onset time of about six to 48 hours.
Managing a norovirus outbreak is a bit tricky, here are a couple of infosheets we’ve used/developed over the years that might be of use.