Food Safety Talk 123: My mom was pissed

In this episode, Don and Ben talk about life hacks and things that might not be life hacks; Gwyneth Paltrow, cookbooks and Ben’s recent media experiences (and the perils of emailing while sitting on the toilet). Also in this episode the guys breakdown STEC in soy nut butter and Dixie Dew’s FDA 483 form plus a bonus on ROP cheeses.

Episode 122 can be found here and on iTunes.

Show notes so you can follow along at home:

Heston still don’t know food safety, and Aust. viewers thought he was on acid

In late February 2009, complaints from customers who suffered vomiting, diarrhea and flu-like symptoms began pouring celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal’s UK restaurant, the Fat Duck.

A report by the UK Health Protection Agency concluded that 529 patrons paying a ridiculous amount of money for food-porn styled dishes were sickened with Norovirus – this at a restaurant that only seats 40 patrons per night — introduced through contaminated shellfish, including oysters that were served raw and razor clams that may not have been appropriately handled or cooked.

Investigators identified several weaknesses in procedures at the restaurant that may have contributed to ongoing transmission including: delayed response to the incident, the use of inappropriate environmental cleaning products, and staff working when ill. Up to 16 of the restaurant’s food handlers were reportedly working with Norovirus symptoms before it was voluntarily closed

Last night, Heston appeared on Australian current affairs program, The Project, and left hosts and viewers scratching their heads.

Appearing on the show to promote the announcement of the world’s 50 best restaurants, Blumenthal was asked a simple question by Waleed Aly but gave the world’s most confusing answer, with some viewers joking he might have been on “acid.”

“What is it that makes a great restaurant?” Aly asked.

“This might seem a little tangential,” Blumenthal replied, which turned out to be the understatement of the year.

“Human beings became the most powerful species on the planet because through being able to imagine things that don’t exist we created shared beliefs. So all the things that happened after humans: religion, money, language, cultures, social media, fairy tales, they are very human being.

“The reason that happened was the brain trebled in size for lots of reasons but primarily through eating cooked food. It broke the food down and our gut changed and this [touches head] is on top of our body to protect, because this [touches neck] is where the next generation are prepared for life.”

Blumenthal’s answer was met with blank stares from The Project panelists, but the celebrity chef pushed on.

“And so the thing, we should be called omnivores or herbivores, we’re coctivores … we are interdependent beings,” he said.

“We’ve been able to work collectively in numbers larger than any other creature and our efficiency in group learning has become quicker, quicker, quicker, quicker. We don’t have to climb a mountain to get water every day, we don’t have to kill an animal to the death to feed our children.”

The Project’s resident smarty pants, Waleed Aly, interjected and said, “That explains why we like restaurants, but how do we tell the good ones from the bad ones?”

And Blumenthal was off again.
“We have two universes,” he said.

“We have our internal universe, our human being and we have our human doing. We have our feelings and our emotions and then we have getting on in life … The problem that’s happening is we are confusing the two things. We are thinking that our happiness is going to be developed by a numerical system … thank god we have because that’s what’s got us to where we’ve got to.

(Hang in there, it’s almost over)

“There’s a palliative care nurse that wrote a piece in The Guardian last year, the most common things, regrets people had while they were passing away and it was they wished they lived a life true to themselves,” Blumenthal said.

“If every human being had an ambition not to have that feeling, and that’s because our new brain that came from eating cooked food … starts to fade and then our raw emotion comes through and we realise, actually, this is about emotion. Food is about emotion.”

Food is also about sustenance, enjoyment, socializing, and not making one barf.

Heston is a master of both food and words to make one barf.

Our battle with Gwyneth: cookbook edition

The coverage of extension associate Katrina Levine’s research on cookbook food safety messages took an unexpected turn yesterday. Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘people’ weighed in.

By ‘people’ I think it’s the folks who published her cookbooks.

It started with a string of emails from some folks in the UK who saw the NC State press release about the research. After analyzing 1700+ recipes from cookbooks on the New York Times best seller list we found that safe endpoint temperatures only appeared in just over 8% of the instructions.

Not great.

A few journalists want to know who are the biggest offenders are (quick answer: it’s pretty well everyone we looked at – but not all the time).

One of the books included in our study was Paltrow’s It’s All Good. In a flurry of questions, and without being able to find all the recipes online, I sent one of the enquiring minds a recipe from another book, My Father’s Daughter as an example of what we were looking at, with this note:

“Here’s one from chef Paltrow that does not have a safe endpoint temperature included (165F or 74C).

Heat oven to 400°. Mix butter, garlic salt, paprika, pepper and salt in a bowl. Rinse chicken inside and out; pat dry. Insert fingers between skin and breast to separate the two. Rub seasoned butter over chicken and under skin. Tuck wings underneath bird and tie together with a piece of twine. Tie legs together with another piece of twine. Place chicken on its side in a heavy roasting pan and roast 25 minutes. Turn onto its other side and sprinkle with several tbsp water; roast 25 minutes more. Turn chicken on its back; roast 10 minutes more. Turn on its breast; roast until skin is crispy and chicken is golden brown, 10 minutes more. Remove from pan and let rest, breast side down, 15 minutes, before carving (remove skin).”

The Paltrow folks responded, through the journalist with this:

“The recipe for “Roast Chicken, Rotisserie Style” was published in MY FATHER’S DAUGHTER in April 2011. While it did not have an endpoint temperature included, the directions called for the chicken to be roasted at 400F for 70 minutes, which is ample time to cook a 3-4 pound chicken.

IT’S ALL GOOD, which was published in April 2013, does include endpoint temperatures. “Super-Crispy Roast Chicken” in IT’S ALL GOOD is baked for 1-1/2 hours at 425 degrees and the recipe advises “The chicken thigh should register 165 degrees F on a digital thermometer at the very least (I usually let it get to 180 Degrees F just to be completely sure it’s cooked all the way through the bone).”

So we went back to the data – and yep, we noted that the Super-Crispy Roast Chicken had a safe end point temperature. What they omitted was that the first instruction in the recipe was to wash the chicken; one of the steps that can increase the risk of foodborne illnesses.

There were these other recipes from It’s All Good that don’t have the safe endpoint temperatures (and tell the reader to do non science-based things like touch it, look for clear juices or color to ensure doneness):

The row (I think that’s the correct colloquial British term) made the front page of the Daily Mail (above, exactly as shown).

As for this comment, ‘the directions called for the chicken to be roasted at 400F for 70 minutes, which is ample time to cook a 3-4 pound chicken.’

Maybe, show me the data. Lots of variables that can impact the final temperature – starting temperature of the chicken, thickness, oven heat calibration.

Isn’t it just easier to tell folks what the safe temperature is and tell them to stick it in?

Food and Wine points out exactly what we found. It’s not just Gwyneth.

But for once, let’s cut Paltrow some slack. Out of the whopping 29 best-selling cookbooks these experts analyzed, only nine percent of them included specific temperature information. She’s in good company. Meanwhile, only 89 — 89! — of the 1,497 recipes included in the study were deemed instructionally safe.

Honestly, none of this seems too egregious, and we almost wish Paltrow didn’t have to deal with the PR headache.

Oh well.

Raw is risky: Drake cancels show in Amsterdam after sushi makes him barf

For Canadians, the musician Drake will always be known as Jimmy Brooks from the teen dram series Degrassi: The Next Generation.

For Americans, he’s known as Drake, with 21 tracks on the streaming songs chart (all from ‘More Life’), beating his own record for the most concurrently charting tracks. He’s also No. 1 on Billboard.

For the Dutch, Drake is known as the barfing performer who couldn’t do a show.

TMZ reports Drake ate some bad sushi on Monday, and it messed up his stomach. We’re told it was so bad he had to get medical treatment immediately. It wasn’t enough though … he was still too sick to go onstage, which seriously pissed off the entire arena full of fans who’d already been waiting in their seats for 75 minutes when they got the bad news.

It was the third time in 3 months Drake had to postpone an Amsterdam gig … which explains why fans threw crap onstage. He’s promised to make up the show Wednesday.

Sometimes celebrities — and mere mortals — use foodborne illness as an excuse to mask their excesses the night before. Just sayin’.

Hundreds get food poisoning from free meal in Myanmar

 

I used to look like Buddhist, Richard Gere, but I’ve aged and he hasn’t.

A free lunch for villagers in southern Myanmar turned sour after it landed more than a third of the rural community in hospital with food poisoning.

Hundreds of villagers from Eain Ta Lone, west of Yangon, fell ill after eating fish stew served at a Buddhist ceremony to celebrate the ordination of local novices.

The entire 1,000-person village was taken to the nearest hospital, where 367 were admitted for treatment, said charity worker Wai Lin Aung, who helped to transport the villagers. ‘

Celebrity barf: Ryan McCartan spent Halloween in hospital

Ryan McCartan of Minnetonka High School in Minnetonka, Minnesota, who plays Diggie on the Disney Channel sitcom Liv and Maddie, spent Halloween in hospital with food poisoning.

ryan-mccartanRyan posted an Instagram picture of himself in the hospital, hooked up to an IV and looking pretty miserable. He’s doing better now, but Ryan wrote he landed in the hospital because of food poisoning, dehydration and diabetes-related complications. Yikes!

“This is how I spent my Halloween after a series of food-poisoning, dehydration and diabetes-related complications… Life is precious but fragile, and boy did I get that reminder!” Ryan wrote under his picture.

Celebrities want to own a restaurant: Gladys Knight Chicken & Waffles scores 44 on health inspection

The popular but troubled diner Gladys Knight Signature Chicken & Waffles scored a low failing grade of 44 on a recent health inspection.

gladys-knight-chicken-wafflesRoaches and fruit flies, as well as grease and dirt build-ups, were noted on the Peachtree Street restaurant’s inspection, which happened last Thursday.

Under Georgia law, the restaurant will be inspected again within the next 10 days. Another failing grade could lead to Chicken & Waffles being shut down temporarily to fix the problems or even having its license revoked.

Gladys Knight has filed a lawsuit to have her name removed from the chain of restaurants now run by her son, Shanga Hankerson. Hankerson has refused.

That move came after federal revenue officials conducted a June raid at all locations of the restaurant and its corporate headquarters.

The Department of Revenue has opened an investigation of Hankerson, alleging he has failed to pay more than $650,000 in sales and withholding taxes.

Lionel Messi vomits while sitting on the Barcelona bench- proves to the world he is human after all

I don’t know who Lionel Messi is but he seems to be some soccer dude, and apparently he is mortal and can barf.

colbert-soccerMessi (who was only a sub) sitting on the bench during the first half of Barcelona’s match against Deportivo La Coruna. He’s sitting there, watching the game… when he starts to vomit.

Some of you might not think much of it. You might think the fact Messi came on later in the game and scored in a 4-0 win suggests this was just a strange, inconsequential moment.

However, this clip takes on a much bigger significance once you look at the considerable history of Messi puking.

Why does this keep happening? There are several theories, but the one offered by former Argentina head coach Alejandro Sabella might be the most revealing. “Nerves. I reckon that in these moments there is anxiety more than anything.”

Not something Messi probably wanted the world to hear, but if that’s true, it does prove a couple of things.

  1. The stress of being a football genius is far greater than many of us realize.
  2. Barcelona’s main man does have at least one human flaw which proves he is not a hi-tech footballing cyborg from the future.

Food poisoning grounds Blue Angels at California airshow

Sam Stanton of The Sacramento Bee writes the Blue Angels flight team abruptly canceled its performance Saturday afternoon at the California Capital Airshow at Mather Airport after the squadron’s commanding officer came down with a form of food poisoning.

blueangelsformationpdAir show officials announced the cancellation after determining that Cmdr. Ryan Bernacchi “contracted a foodborne ailment and is under the medical supervision of the team’s flight surgeon.”

“Cmdr. Bernacchi will be re-evaluated regularly, as the team is hopeful he will be ready to fly for the final day of the air show,” a statement from organizers stated. “At this time, the Blue Angels are scheduled to perform on Sunday as planned.”

Organizers said people who attended Saturday’s show can have their tickets honored for general admission for Sunday’s show, and parking passes will be honored with proof of purchase from Saturday or a parking stub.

The Blue Angels are the U.S. Navy’s flight demonstration squadron and stars of the two-day event at Mather, which last year drew more than 109,000 attendees to the event at the former Mather Air Force Base.

Members of the squadron were among Capital Airshow performers who participated in a Friday night “block party” in midtown where fans were able to meet air show pilots, the Sacramento Kings Dancers and take part in other entertainment.

Up until about 3 p.m. Saturday, there were no indications of problems. Before noon, the Blue Angels’ Twitter account indicated all systems were go: “Happy October, Fans! Today, we turned up and inspected the jets, making sure they were good to go for today’s California Capital Airshow.”

But word that illness had grounded the team led to fans expressing their disappointment on social media, and to a number of suppositions about the origins.

“No more gas station sushi!” one follower tweeted.