Doug Powell

About Doug Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of barfblog.com, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Download C.V. »

Use a thermometer: Coles BS guide to how to know if steak is done

Coles is one of the two major supermarkets in Australia.

coles.thermometerThey recruit celebrity chefs like Heston-norovirus Blumenthal and Curtis-aren’t-I-handsome Stone, while Woolworth’s goes for Jamie-watch-all-the-food-safety-mistakes-I-make Oliver.

The new sales go on sale on Wednesday, just like it was 1978.

The Coles electronic flyer has this: No hormones, no thermometers, total BS.

Although Amy did find this at a local Coles, MasterChef branded food-porn crap thermometers reduced to clear.

coles.steak

But it got an A: Tarheel Q outbreak sickens 216 with Salmonella

Health officials now say 216 people have reported becoming ill after eating at Tarheel Q in Lexington, which was linked last week to a Salmonella outbreak.

tarheel.qSeven lawsuits have been filed against the barbecue restaurant, according to the Davidson County Clerk of Court’s office.

Tarheel Q voluntarily closed last week and said it would reopen Sunday, after customers who had eaten there got sick with symptoms consistent with Salmonella infection, most between June 16 and June 21. The restaurant, on U.S. 64, was still closed Monday morning.

Calls to the restaurant were not answered Monday.

A barbecue sample and a sample from a patient both tested positive for Salmonella, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

According to a health inspections website linked to the county health department site, Tarheel Q was last inspected June 3 and received a score of 98, an A grade.

Tennessee offers new app that shows restaurant inspection scores

The Tennessee departments of Health and Agriculture have partnered to develop a mobile app that allows users to check any Tennessee restaurant inspection score no matter where they are located.

tn-restaurant-scores-logoThe free app, available for both iOS and Android, lets users view health inspection scores from Tennessee restaurants and retail stores that prepare food, including grocery stores and convenience markets. The first screen of the app displays a map showing restaurants near the user and the most recent score for each location. It also includes scores for hotels, hospitals, schools and food trucks’ central kitchens. Users will have access to the last three inspection scores for each business and if any violations were cited, the app provides information about what was not in compliance with the Tennessee Retail Food Safety Act.

Updated daily, the feature that makes the app different from Web-based inspection scores is the ability for users to personalize it to see what is most important to them. Locations can be saved to a Favorites list for quick access to scores, and search results can be filtered to show only locations that have scores within a certain range. The Restaurant Inspection Scores app was developed by NIC, Inc., Tennessee’s eGovernment Partner since 2000. To obtain the app, go to http://tn.gov/main/article/mobile-apps.

NZ real estate agent mails poop to rival

An Auckland real estate agent who mailed poo to a rival agent has been discharged without conviction.

poop.jarGrant Campbell Tucker, 58, a director of Netrealty, appeared for sentence in the Auckland District Court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to posting a noxious substance.

The recipient of the package, David Beard, the lawyer of Tucker’s former employer Custom Residential, tendered a victim impact statement that detailed the impact on staff and the financial loss he had suffered because of the offending.

Judge Claire Ryan said Tucker posted the noxious substance on March 6, 2014, an offence carrying a maximum penalty of a $5000 fine.

The judge said the offending occurred after Tucker fell out with his former employer, John Wills, the director of Custom Residential.

 

Signs don’t work: Employees must wash hands

 Handwashing is important in preventing microbial cross-contamination. The US FDA Model Food Code requires that handwashing sinks have a sign or poster nearby that is visible to employees washing their hands.

jon.stewart.handwashing.2002This research collects and reviews existing handwashing signs and subjects them to quantitative analysis. An Internet search produced a database of handwashing signs. Lather time, rinse time, overall wash time, water temperature, water use, drying method, technique, and total number of steps were recorded.

Eighty-one unique handwashing signs were identified. Each sign had between one and thirteen steps. Thirty-seven signs indicated a specific lather time, with average time ~18 s. No sign suggested > 20 s lather, and none suggested < 10 s lather. Twenty-four signs recommended use of warm water. Two signs recommended 100°F (37.8°C) water and one recommended hot water. Sixty-two signs made a recommendation on drying hands, and fifty-three suggested using a paper towel.

Our analysis reveals that handwashing sign instructions can vary quite widely. Lack of consistent hand wash guidance on signage may contribute in part to a lack of handwashing consistency and compliance. Our study serves as a foundation for future research on handwash signage. 

Quantitative analysis of recommendations made in handwashing signs

Food Protection Trends, vol. 35, no. 4, pp. 270-279, July 2015

Dane A. Jensen, Donald W. Schaffner

http://www.foodprotection.org/publications/food-protection-trends/article-archive/2015-07quantitative-analysis-of-recommendations-made-in-handwashing-signs/

 

You can’t handle the truth: Surveys still suck and do not measure behavior

Food safety training is an important tool in preventing foodborne illness (FI), which affects millions of people each year in the United States and around the world and costs billions of dollars.

food.safety.trainingTraining gives those working in the food service industry the knowledge and skills necessary to properly handle, cook and serve food.

The objectives of this research was to assess changes in knowledge of Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County’s (PHDMC) Level One Food Safety Certification program participants, analyze which questions were most often answered incorrectly, and determine whether there was a relationship between quiz scores and primary job responsibility, using pre- and postquiz training data. The course teaches food safety topics, including handwashing, employee hygiene, correct cooking and holding temperatures, sanitization duties of the person in charge, and others. The participants are offered a quiz at the beginning of the course, and the same quiz is offered after completion of the two-hour training.

Pre-training and post-training quiz score data were obtained from approximately 692 participants completing the PHDMC Level One Food Safety Certification program from 2011 to 2013. Paired t-tests were used to evaluate change in scores overall, on individual questions, and by job responsibility. Quiz scores significantly improved both aggregately (20.6%) and in nine out of the ten questions. The temperature-related questions had the most incorrect answers (score range: 38% – 71%) but also showed the most improvement (improvement range: 28% – 49%). This research shows that PHDMC’s Level One Food Safety Certification class was associated with a change in knowledge of participants from pre- to post-training.

Increasing knowledge with food safety training at public health – Dayton & Montgomery County

Food Protection Trends, vol. 35, no. 4, pp. 262-269, July 2015

Matthew M. Tyler, Naila Khalil, Sara Paton

http://www.foodprotection.org/publications/food-protection-trends/article-archive/2015-07increasing-knowledge-with-food-safety-training-at-public-health-dayton-montgomery-county/

Surveys suck: Consumers don’t accurately report what they do in kitchen

Research utilizing both survey and observational techniques has found that consumers do not accurately report their own food handling behaviors. The goal of this study was to objectively observe conditions related to food safety risks and sanitation in domestic kitchens in an urban environment.

survey-saysSubjects (n = 100) were recruited from Philadelphia, PA. Homes were visited over a one-year period by two trained researchers using a previously developed audit tool to document conditions related to sanitation, refrigeration, and food storage.

Potential food safety risks identified included evidence of pest infestation (65%), perishable food stored at room temperature (16%), storage of raw meat above ready-to-eat foods (97% of homes where raw meat was present), and a lack of hot running water in the kitchen (3%). Compliance with correct refrigeration practices was also low, with 43% of refrigerator temperatures ≥ 41°F, and only 4% of refrigerators containing a thermometer. Consumers of minority race/ethnicity were more likely to have evidence of pest infestation in the home, lack a dishwasher and lack a cutting board in the kitchen, while Caucasian consumers were more likely to have an animal present in the kitchen during the audit visit.

 Visual audit of food safety hazards present in homes in an urban environment

Food Protection Trends, vol. 35, no. 4, pp. 290-301, July 2015

Patricia A. Borrusso, Shauna Henley, Jennifer J. Quinlan

http://www.foodprotection.org/publications/food-protection-trends/article-archive/2015-07visual-audit-of-food-safety-hazards-present-in-homes-in-an-urban-environment/

 

People don’t want to eat candy shaped like poop: Disney World stops selling its animal poo sweets because of customer complaints

Two weeks ago, Disney World’s Animal Kingdom opened up a new sweet shop called Zuri’s and, in keeping with the animal theme, they decided to sell hippo, elephant, giraffe and tamarin poo in chocolate form. Because, of course.

disney.poopThey were quite literally selling crap.

And while the $3.99 (£2.50) ‘poop platter’ doesn’t look particularly appetising, it does sound pretty delicious.

The giraffe dung is actually a rolled fudge brownie with fresh caramel, while the elephant poo is in fact chocolate peanut butter fudge with rolled oats and yellow coconut flakes on top.

The tamarin poop, meanwhile, is made up of pretzel pearls coated in peanut butter fudge, and the hippo version is chocolate fudge brownie with peanut butter.

Food blogger Kim Button, who was lucky enough to sample a giraffe poo truffle ahead of its launch, wrote of the production process: ‘The animal handlers of Disney’s Animal Kingdom worked in conjunction with pastry chefs so that they perfected the look of the animal poop exactly.’

Of the taste, she added: ‘I can’t say they are the best treats I’ve ever eaten at Disney, but they are a conversation piece.’

So, yeah, not an overwhelming endorsement.

And it seems the world wasn’t ready for faux-poo sweets, with some dubbing them ‘classless’ and ‘trashy’ online. Inquisitr reports that the ‘treats’ were withdrawn from sale at the weekend because of guest complaints, although no official comment has been made by Disney.

Sounds like hucksterism and Pinto defense: Chinese ‘mall’ for Australian food

Billionaire Richard Liu has further opened Australian food producers to the massive Chinese consumer market, launching an “Australia Mall” channel on China’s biggest online trading platform, JD.com.

Richard LiuThe 40-year-old Mr Liu, China’s 11th-richest man, was in Melbourne launching the new platform and announcing a deal with Treasury Wines to use the system, under which a2 milk is already sold.

“We believe it’s important to market the country first and then its product and we want to promote Australia as a very clean, very natural and very beautiful country,” he told The Australian.

“We also want to make Chinese people aware of how straight and stringent Australian regulations are in regards to food safety and security.”

Mr Liu said the platform would focus on food and cosmetics in Australia but also healthcare, sports, shoes, baby goods and others. A deal with Australia Post was also announced today.

JD, which is a $US46 billion company listed on the Nasdaq, has 100 million Chinese users and is the world’s third-biggest online trading platform, meaning there are big opportunities for local companies that team up with JD.

Food fraud detection: Chinese team develops new method for rapid authentication of edible oils and screening of gutter oils

The Food Safety and Technology Research Centre under the Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has developed a new method for rapid authentication of edible oils and screening of gutter oils. Authentication of edible oils has been a long-term issue in food safety, and becomes particularly important with the emergence and widespread use of gutter oils in recent years. However, the conventional analytical approach for edible oils is not only labor intensive and time consuming, but also fails to provide a versatile solution for screening of gutter oils. By setting up a simple analytical protocol and a spectral library of edible oils, the new approach is able to determine the authenticity of a labeled edible oil sample and hence screened gutter oils within five minutes.

1-polyudevelopThe conventional approach for edible oil authentication involves labor-intensive and time-consuming sample pretreatment and the subsequent chromatographic separation to separate complex sample mixture before mass spectrometric detection, a commonly used technology for identification and quantitation of chemical compounds. The whole process takes a few hours to analyze one sample. On the other hand, identification of gutter oils mainly involves detection of certain food residue markers or toxic and carcinogenic chemicals in the sample. However, due to the vast diversity of gutter oils, and the fact that target compounds could be removed by processing, a universal strategy to screen gutter oils is not available at present.

PolyU researchers have developed a simplified method for direct analysis of edible oils using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS). In the new MALDI-MS approach, only simple sample preparation, automatic data acquisition and simple data processing are involved. High quality and highly reproducible MALDI-MS spectra results can be obtained using this method, and a preliminary spectral database of labeled edible oils available in the market has been set up. Since different types of edible oils have different MALDI-MS spectral patterns, the authenticity of an edible oil sample can then be determined within five minutes by comparing its MALDI-MS spectrum with those of its labeled oil in the established database. Since this method is capable of authenticating edible oils, it also enables a rapid screening of gutter oils, given fraudulent mislabeling is a common feature of gutter oils.

The related paper has been recently published on Analytica Chimica Acta, a leading journal in Analytical Chemistry. The research team will establish a more complete MALDI spectral library of various edible oils in the coming two years, and improve the library searching technique. In addition, more testing of edible oil samples with different MALDI-MS equipment will be carried out to further validate the new approach.