Fancy dog food ain’t safe dog food: A ‘spoonful’ for Serena Williams edition

Serena Williams tried her 3-year-old dog’s hotel dog food and got one whopper of a stomach ache afterward, according to a Snapchat video.

“That looks better than my food,” reasoned Williams in a video, now available on YouTube, in which she explains why she decided to have a bite of her dog’s gourmet meal. “I’m like, what the heck, I’m gonna try a piece. It looks good.”

Williams, who uploaded the video to Snapchat to avoid “hating,” knew exactly what people might think about her taste test: “Don’t judge me, I ate a spoonful.”

Turns out, this was definitely no delicious spoonful. Two hours later, she said, “I just ran to the toilet like, like I thought I was going to pass out.”

The “force-swallowed” bite tasted “a little bit like house cleaner,” she said, adding with a laugh, “Chip liked it and it looked good … I don’t think it’s consumable for humans.”

The star sighed at the end of the video, and said, “So now I feel really sick.”

Williams managed to qualify for the Italian Open hours later (and won yesterday.

Please ignore: Katy Perry drinks apple cider vinegar

Whenever I visited my grandparents, this bored kid would check out the tabloids lying around, the real news of the world, the National Enquirer.

apple.cider.vinegarGlamour magazine reports (???) that Katy Perry recently opened up about the reason she says she’s been able to work so tirelessly: She drinks unpasteurized apple cider vinegar.

The singer tells SELF that she started drinking Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar for her health on the advice of her mom while growing up. Instead of having soda, she’d drink the vinegar, which contains the “mother,” i.e., stringy strands in the vinegar where probiotics and other nutrients are found.

This BS has been flogged for centuries.

Don’t take food advice from celebrities.

Don’t take any advice

Enjoy their, um, art.



Saying the wrong thing, celebrity chefs more than others

In grade 12, I ran for high school president (we had grade 13 back then, and that’s me, right, exactly as shown).

napoleon-couchThere were two assemblies, one for the juniors followed by one for the seniors, in which my opponent and I laid out our vision for the next school year.

I had been one of the entertainment co-ordinators on the previous council, and somehow exceled at bringing in bands and making money (a little).

There was this thing called live music back then.

Our high school, I’m told, hosted early versions of Rush and Max Webster, and I brought in local stalwarts, Goddo, and, the best named band in the area, Teenage Head.

My worthy opponent spoke first at the junior assembly, and I followed with my band-a-month pitch, and a proposal to paint the school logo over the centre of the basketball court.

The senior assembly began with the same speaking order, and I was stunned – flummoxed – when my competition lifted the school-logo idea.

I mumbled something in my pitch about how she had lifted the idea, and quickly realized no one cared.

It didn’t matter who was first, it mattered that the idea was out there (I won, barely).

So I’ve watched with mild bemusement as the various outlets fall over themselves to claim they broke the Dole-knew-about-Listeria-in-its-lettuce-plant story.

lettuce.skull.noroNo one cares, just that it’s out there.

What matters more is what Dole is going to do about it.

And they’re not talking (I’ll have some suggestions this week).

In a similar vein, researchers have updated our 2004 Spot-the-Mistake study about the food safety foibles of celebrity chefs.

That’s 14 years after we did the original work and 12 years after we published the results.

Now that it’s out there, I can say the new analysis fails for two reasons: The researchers cite dubious references about how the majority of foodborne illness happens in the home; and they use FightBac’s severely limited cook-clean-chill-separate mantra as a tool for scoring, ignoring the World Health Organization’s extra warning of source food from safe sources.

Anyone who has ever watched a TV or web-based cooking show knows that most of the content consists of a host gassing on about the small, sustainable, organic, natural, dolphin-free farm where the ingredients were acquired.

Food safety behaviors observed in celebrity chefs across a variety of programs

Curtis Maughan, Edgar Chambers IV, Sandria Godwin,

J Public Health, doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdw026

Background Consumers obtain information about foodborne illness prevention from many sources, including television media. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a variety of cooking shows with celebrity chefs to understand their modeling of food safety behaviors.

Methods Cooking shows (100 episodes) were watched from 24 celebrity chefs preparing meat dishes. A tabulation of food safety behaviors was made for each show using a checklist.

Results Proper modeling of food safety behaviors was limited, with many incidences of errors. For example, although all chefs washed their hands at the beginning of cooking at least one dish, 88% did not wash (or were not shown washing) their hands after handling uncooked meat. This was compounded with many chefs who added food with their hands (79%) or ate while cooking (50%). Other poor behaviors included not using a thermometer (75%), using the same cutting board to prepare ready-to-eat items and uncooked meat (25%), and other hygiene issues such as touching hair (21%) or licking fingers (21%).

Conclusions This study suggests that there is a need for improvement in demonstrated and communicated food safety behaviors among professional chefs. It also suggests that public health professionals must work to mitigate the impact of poorly modeled behaviors.

celebrity_chefs4 (1)And the original.

Mathiasen, L.A., Chapman, B.J., Lacroix, B.J. and Powell, D.A. 2004. Spot the mistake: Television cooking shows as a source of food safety information, Food Protection Trends 24(5): 328-334.

Consumers receive information on food preparation from a variety of sources. Numerous studies conducted over the past six years demonstrate that television is one of the primary sources for North Americans. This research reports on an examination and categorization of messages that television food and cooking programs provide to viewers about preparing food safely. During June 2002 and 2003, television food and cooking programs were recorded and reviewed, using a defined list of food safety practices based on criteria established by Food Safety Network researchers. Most surveyed programs were shown on Food Network Canada, a specialty cable channel. On average, 30 percent of the programs viewed were produced in Canada, with the remainder produced in the United States or United Kingdom. Sixty hours of content analysis revealed that the programs contained a total of 916 poor food-handling incidents. When negative food handling behaviors were compared to positive food handling behaviors, it was found that for each positive food handling behavior observed, 13 negative behaviors were observed. Common food safety errors included a lack of hand washing, cross-contamination and time-temperature violations. While television food and cooking programs are an entertainment source, there is an opportunity to improve their content so as to promote safe food handling.

Food Safety Talk 100: No buns in the bathroom

Food Safety Talk, a bi-weekly podcast for food safety nerds, by food safety nerds. The podcast is hosted by Ben Chapman and barfblog contributor Don Schaffner, Extension Specialist in Food Science and Professor at Rutgers University.  Every two weeks or so, Ben and Don get together virtually and talk for about an hour.1459283728049

They talk about what’s on their minds or in the news regarding food safety, and popular culture. They strive to be relevant, funny and informative — sometimes they succeed. You can download the audio recordings right from the website, or subscribe using iTunes.1461946810971

Episode 100 can be found here and on iTunes.

Here is a bulleted list of link to the topics mentioned on the show:

Jessica Alba sued over ‘unsafe’ baby food

Taking nutritional advice from a celebrity is like driving over a bridge constructed by an “alternative, all natural engineer.”

Jessica-Alba-Interview-About-Honest-CompanyBut, people do.

So it’s ironical that D-lister Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company is facing fresh legal action over organic baby food – from the Organic Consumers Association.

OCA filed a complaint at Los Angeles Superior Court earlier this month on “behalf of the general public” claiming The Honest Company bosses have been falsely labelling their Organic Premium Formula as organic, according to New York gossip column Page Six.

OCA lawyers claim the product contains 11 substances which are prohibited from organic foods under federal law.

On their website, they also state, “Some of the ingredients are federally regulated as hazardous compounds. At least one is irradiated. And some have not even been assessed as safe for human foods, much less for infant formulas.”

The group want the company to be prohibited from selling the product as organic, and to cover their legal fees.

News of the legal action comes as Jessica was named as the first-ever recipient of the Entrepreneur of the Year prize at the 2016 Webby Awards for her natural lifestyle firm, which she founded four years ago.


Thank you Mel Gibson and Dr. Ozß: Dietary supplements and nonprescription drug products may harm you, natural doesn’t mean safe

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that if you buy imported products marketed as “dietary supplements” and nonprescription drug products from ethnic or international stores, flea markets, swap meets or online, watch out. Health fraud scams mel.gibson.supplementsabound.

And in the U.S. too.

According to Cariny Nunez, M.P.H., a public health advisor in the Office of Minority Health at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), health scammers often target advertising to people who prefer to shop at nontraditional places, especially those who have limited English proficiency and limited access to health care services and information.

“These scammers know that ethnic groups who may not speak or read English well, or who hold certain cultural beliefs, can be easy targets,” Nunez says. For example, Native Americans, Latinos, Asians and Africans may have a long tradition of turning to more herbal or so-called “natural” remedies. Many advertisers put the word “natural” somewhere on the package of a product, knowing it inspires trust in certain groups.

But just because a product claims to be natural doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe, says Gary Coody, R. Ph., FDA’s national health fraud coordinator. Likewise, just because a product claims to be natural does not mean that it’s free of hidden drug ingredients.

Furthermore, these products may also be contaminated or contain potentially harmful chemicals or drug ingredients not listed on the label.

For example, many products that claim to help people lose weight contain hidden and dangerous prescription drug ingredients such as sibutramine. Sibutramine was in Meridia, a formerly FDA-approved drug that was removed from the market in October 2010 because clinical data indicated it posed an increased risk of heart problems and strokes.

Fancy food ain’t safe food, Brisbane rock ‘n roll edition: ‘Live roaches inside the drinking straws’

A trendy restaurant in Brisbane’s inner city which has been a magnet for rock ‘n’ roll types has admitted live cockroaches were running around its kitchen after pleading guilty to breaching food safety laws.

Libertine in The Barracks French-Vietnamese restaurant Libertine in The Barracks on Petrie Terrace was prosecuted in the Brisbane Magistrates Court and on February 5, admitted to eight breaches of food health laws in court that day.

The company, owned by Andrew Baturo, was fined $15,000.

Brisbane City Council’s Acting enforcement coordination manager Stephen Thomson told Magistrate Suzette Coates that he found more than a dozen live cockroaches and many more dead ones in 12 locations around the kitchen and pantry when he inspected on July 14, 2014.

He found “live cockroaches inside the drinking straws” kept under the stainless steel bench located on the right hand side of the kitchen near the door leading from the kitchen to the dining area.

Mr Thomson also found a dead cockroach inside a food preparation fridge, a live cockroach on the door steal of another fridge and a live adult cockroach on wall of the dry storage area.

Chipotle closed for wankfest

That was a boring super bowl, full of gimmicks and a quarterback pushing Bud Light as his soundbite, but it won’t be as boring as Chipotle’s two-hour wankfest when they close their almost 2,000 outlets for a food safety pep talk.

kenny.diarrheaIt’s not food safety, it’s a marketing gimmick (which is how Chipotle has been getting money all along).

Chipotle is closed for the next couple of hours.

And they’re going to show how much they know about food safety risk communication.

Or how bad their PR consultants are.

The meeting will go over an improved farm-to-fork food safety program, which the chain implemented in January. It includes paid sick leave to make sure employees will stay home when they’re sick, DNA-based testing of ingredients before they’re shipped to restaurants and some changes in food preparation protocols.

Why didn’t they do this before?

Because there’s money to be made in marketing hucksterism.

Ask Dr. Oz.

About 500 people got sick last year from outbreaks due to Norovirus, E. coli O26 and Salmonella,, including an entire basketball team at Boston College. Some of the sickened diners have sued Chipotle. Profits plunged 44% in the fourth quarter compared to the year before. The U.S. Justice Department is investigating the company for possible criminal activity.

Oh, they’ll also be launching a new website today, according to the aptly named Mark Crumpacker, Chipotle’s chief creative and development officer.

“The creative for this campaign, with one small exception, does not mention food safety or the recent incidents,” he said. “Instead, it reinforces our commitment to high-quality ingredients and great-tasting food.”

Market food safety. High-quality ingredients don’t mean shit (literally and metaphorically).

Beating up on Chipotle and hucksterism gets tiring. So let John Oliver do it.

Spoiler alert: 15-minute “sexy” burger on Top Chef LCK

(Technical difficulties: Written by Amy Hubbell not me — dp).

In Episode 5 of Bravo’s Last Chance Kitchen, Top Chef’s online spinoff, Tom Colicchio challenged the three chefs to make their best burger in 15 minutes.

One chef chose lamb, one chose to grind pork belly and mix it with beef, and the other did a beef and pork patty.

The food safety nerd in me knew there would be no time for thermometers and wondered how 15 minutes could be long enough to do all the prep and properly cook the meat. Yet among the chefs, there is a lot of talk about fear of overcooking the burgers.

Watch the tasting from the 8-minute mark here:

raw burger TopChef LCKep5When Tom cuts into the center of Burger #3, the beef-pork mix, it is apparently raw inside. “It’s a little raw dog,” says one competitor. “No! I think that’s a pretty sexy slice right there,” retorts Tom as he gobbles it.

Colicchio eating burger

And the raw burger wins. Tom apparently hasn’t died from E. coli yet.

Where’s the food safety? Food porn makes bucks for Instagrammers

Like many Instagram users, Natalie Landsberg, Gillian Presto and Emily Morse frequently posted photos of what they were eating. as their joint account @New_Fork_City took off, they found themselves with nearly 500,000 followers, and soon, free restaurant meals, gigs “curating” food for a music festival and an offer to create their own cookie-dough flavor.

The three 19-year-olds, who started the account in high school, are now in college, and their modest Instagram earnings aren’t footing their tuition bills yet. But their parents spent almost $15,000 to trademark the New_Fork_City name and create a limited liability company, “so down the road, if there is an opportunity to figure out a financial business model, the company is established,” said Ms. Presto’s father, Michael Presto.

Meet the professional food Instagrammers, courted by restaurants for their six-figure followings and stylish, sometimes over-the-top photography. Some have turned their accounts into full- or part-time professions, earning up to $350 for posting a flattering image, while others have parlayed their social-media savvy into free meals or public-relations jobs.'s.jr“There are people who decide on where they want to go out to eat by their Instagram feed, and that’s a fact that we in the hospitality industry just cannot ignore,” said Helen Zhang, director of media strategy at LFB Media Group, a public-relations agency that works with such restaurants as the Stanton Social and Casa Nonna.

Olivia Young, brand and communications director for the Altamarea Group, which operates restaurants such as Vaucluse and Osteria Morini, said the company has begun inviting some Instagram users for meals and plans to pay some to post photos.