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. 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.
This episode starts with a discussion of Ben’s taste in music, and then quickly moves into documentaries. Ben recently watched Jodorowsky’s Dune, on Don’s recommendation. This documentary has some ‘artful nudity’ that leads to a discussion of perverts on airplanes and the appropriateness of reading material such as Fifty Shades of Grey while crammed into an airplane seat. The conversation naturally transitioned into a discussion of microphone stands and coffee. Ben notes that owning a Nespresso machine has changed his life; he ranks it among his top 10 life changing things (including his wife and children). The guys then discuss other pop-culture topics including Deflate-Gate and TV shows The Affair,Portlandia (which had an episode satirizing raw milk), and Garfunkel and Oates. Note that Portlandia is required viewing before attending IAFP 2015 in Portland this summer
Ben leads off the actual food safety talk by mentioning sprouts and the number of outbreaks associated with them. The guys then discuss experiments to validate sprout cooking processes including charred bean sprouts. Ben then brings up the idea of baking cookies in a car and a visit from Linda Harris (who now downloads and listens). From there the talk turns to pathogen reduction validations for baking processes spurred by the Wegmans recall of baked fruit dessertslast summer, presumably because they contained peaches recalled for Listeria.
The FDA’s Reportable Food Registry, along with CDC whole genome sequencing of pathogens, is enabling more illnesses to be linked to products, as seen in Salmonella Braenderup linked to nut butter. Ben predicts more businesses will have to issue recalls because of validation issues, and the investigations that accompany these recalls will isolate pathogens from within facilities that can be linked to other illnesses which have occurred over months and years prior.
The discussion then turns to the very bad blizzard that New Jersey never had. Don discusses the similarities between the models for weather forecasting and models in food safety. Both situations have consequences for over or under reacting; both present risk management and risk communication difficulties.
A tweet from The New Yorker made Don mad: Bill Marler may be all that stands between you and Salmonella. This resulted in Don tweeting back to The New Yorker. Ben mentioned it was probably just Betteridge’s Law of Headlines. Bill Marler is probably not all that stands between you and Salmonella; as there are a few more people trying to do the right thing. The guys then go on to discuss how Marler and Caroline Smith DeWaal, a lawyer with the Center for Science in the Public Interest, have become controversial but generally respected food safety personalities over the years.
Don recently was quoted in an article about the safety of various cuts of meat (and Barfblogged here). Don and Ben were so happy Don was quoted correctly, they were able to ‘ding’ their podcast bell; a auditory high-five.
Pork has a reputation for being dangerous but decreases in the prevalence of Trichinella and Americans tendency to overcook pork have reduced the actual risk, so Ben wanted to discuss a recent MMWR Trichinellosis report. Don mentions ‘The Batz Report’ which determined the top 10 pathogen-food combinations with the greatest burden in public health. This led to a discussion of sample size, detection limits, consumption rates, and risk messaging, leading to the conclusion that cultural practices in food preparation adds complexity to the determination of risk.