Coldplay is worst thing to happen to music, and Gwyneth is worst thing to happen to food; maybe that’s why they hooked up

There was this one time, that saint Gwyneth made everyone throw up, and shockingly, it wasn’t from the overwhelming nauseous feeling they got from hearing Gwyneth Paltrow talk about how perfect Gwyneth Paltrow is all evening.

"Mortdecai" Los Angeles premiere***NO DAILY MAIL SALES***It was from food!

That’s right, famous cookbook author Gwyneth Paltrow admitted on The Rachael Ray Show (via Glamour) Friday morning that she once made a meal that made everyone fill the 17th century gilded French porcelain toilets in her home with hot barf. Now, I’ve read both of Goopy’s cookbooks, and I’d say that roughly 79% of what I saw gave me the heaves (so many vegetables and not ONE recipe for Frito Pie). But according to Goopy, it wasn’t because she was serving her guests some kind of disgusting pickled heirloom kholrabi over mashed sunchoke bullshit; it was because she screwed up the recipe for eggplant parmesan.What do you think?

“I went to the store and bought some eggplant, a jar of tomato sauce, and some really rubbery mozzarella cheese. I didn’t know that when you cook eggplant, you first have to sweat it to get all the bitter juice out, and I didn’t realize that you also have to bread eggplant parmesan and fry it before. So I put slices of raw eggplant with jarred tomato sauce and mozzarella. And everyone threw up.”

What do you think?


Food tester: Lebanon tests smelly food sent to Syrian refugees

Health Ministry inspectors confiscated Saturday large quantities of food distributed to Syrian refugees in south Lebanon after receiving complaints that they were emitting foul odors.

Become-a-Taste-Tester-Step-5The food packages, which were donated to Syrian refugees through the Rahma and Ouzai charity centers in Sidon, were confiscated for testing, while Abu Faour referred the case to the judiciary.

Separately, the minister sent the ministers of finance, economy and public works a letter to demand the confiscation of large amounts of sugar stored in Tripoli’s port.

The request was based on skepticism that the sugar met safety standards.

Fake fish from plants; sous vide safety concerns?

Alastair Bland, a freelance writer based in San Francisco who covers food, agriculture and the environment, writes for NPR that San Francisco chef James Corwell wants to “create a great sushi experience without the tuna.”

tomato.sushiTo make this Tomato Sushi, he skins and removes the seeds from fresh Roma tomatoes. Then he vacuum seals them in sturdy plastic bags and cooks them in hot water for about an hour — a technique called sous-vide.

The process firms up the tomatoes and creates a texture similar to tuna. Corwell throws in a few more ingredients (he won’t divulge what they are), and slices them up. When eaten with sushi rice, nori, ginger, soy sauce and wasabi, they’re delicious.

Corwell is not the only entrepreneur experimenting with fish-like alternatives to seafood. (His product is so far available at one retail market in San Francisco and via mail order.) But with issues like overfishing, bycatch and high mercury levels gaining traction with consumers, it may only be a matter of time before demand kickstarts a faux-fish movement on the heels of the plant-based protein revolution already underway.

Corwell of Tomato Sushi was first convinced of the need to shift away from eating the bigger tuna species after visiting Tokyo’s celebrated Tsukiji fish market in 2007. He was stunned by the hundreds of frozen bluefin carcasses sprawled across the warehouse floor.

“The way I learned to cook with big slabs of meat [and fish] isn’t going to be possible in the future, and that’s nothing to be scared of,” Corwell says.

Tuna isn’t his only focus. Corwell has created an eggplant-based rendition of unagi and a granular seasoning blend meant to taste like dried, salted bonito flakes. Through the use of fermented ingredients and yeast, caramelization and lots of stovetop test runs, Corwell says he hopes to develop many more vegan sushi products.

“[Tomato Sushi] is the just the tip of the iceberg,” he says.

First partially successful vaccine developed against prion disease in deer

Investigators at the New York University School of Medicine have developed a weakly successful vaccine against Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in white-tailed deer[1]. CWD is a prion disease which is common in cervids and can cause progressive, irreversible degeneration and death. Though I could not locate any evidence of this disease making the species jump like bovine spongiform encephalitis did, the authors contend that given the large numbers of deer and elk suffering from this disease, there is a possible risk for human infection as well.

amy_deer(3)In this study, the investigators comment in the abstract:

In the current study, white-tailed deer were orally inoculated with attenuated Salmonella expressing PrP, while control deer were orally inoculated with vehicle attenuated Salmonella. Once a mucosal response was established, the vaccinated animals were boosted orally and locally by application of polymerized recombinant PrP onto the tonsils and rectal mucosa. The vaccinated and control animals were then challenged orally with CWD-infected brain homogenate. Three years post CWD oral challenge all control deer developed clinical CWD (median survival 602 days), while among the vaccinated there was a significant prolongation of the incubation period (median survival 909 days; p = 0.012 by Weibull regression analysis) and one deer has remained CWD free both clinically and by RAMALT and tonsil biopsies. This negative vaccinate has the highest titers of IgA in saliva and systemic IgG against PrP. Western blots showed that immunoglobulins from this vaccinate react to PrPCWD. We document the first partially successful vaccination for a prion disease in a species naturally at risk.


1.Goñi, F., Mathiason, C., Yim, L., Wong, K., Hayes-Klug, J., Nalls, A., Peyser, D., Estevez, V., Denkers, N., Xu, J., Osborn, D., Miller, K., Warren, R., Brown, D., Chabalgoity, J., Hoover, E., & Wisniewski, T. (2015). Mucosal immunization with an attenuated Salmonella vaccine partially protects white-tailed deer from chronic wasting disease Vaccine, 33 (5), 726-733 DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.11.035

‘Perverting the course of justice’ UK pub Christmas dinner death, chef and manager jailed

Della Callagher, 46, died after eating at the Railway Hotel in Hornchurch, east London in December 2012. Mehmet Kaya and Ann-Marie McSweeney were found guilty of perverting the course of justice and jailed at Snaresbrook Crown Court for 12 and 18 months respectively.

They had fabricated food safety records relating to the cooking of turkey meat.

Mitchells and Butlers (M&B), the chain which owned the pub, was fined £1.5m for placing unsafe food on the market.

The court heard that on Christmas Day 2012 the pub served lunch to 128 customers. Thirty-three of them suffered food poisoning.

But the turkeys prepared the day before were not cooled properly after cooking and not adequately reheated before being served to the guests.

Clostridium perfringens bacterium, a common cause of food poisoning, was later found in samples taken from the diners who fell ill.

The jury heard Kaya, 38, from Purfleet, Essex and McSweeney, 40, from Suttons Avenue, Hornchurch, retrospectively filled out due diligence logs before health inspectors could carry out an investigation.

Prosecutor Andrew Campbell-Tiech QC said it was “highly likely that other food-related records were fabricated.”

His Honour Judge Alastair Hammerton said the evidence revealed “systematic failings” in record keeping and that McSweeney was “in charge and in control of the cover-up.”

Norway finds ‘probable’ case of mad cow disease

A second positive test for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) on a 15-year-old cow reinforced suspicions that it had mad cow disease, the Norwegian Veterinary Institute said.

mad.cows.mother's.milk“We have a likely and strong suspicion of a possible variant of BSE,” Bjørn Røthe Knudtsen of the Food and Safety Authority told public broadcaster NRK.

The authorities however said there was a distinction between the type of BSE caused by cows eating meat-based feed — banned in Europe since 2001 after the British epidemic — and an atypical version which has sporadically appeared in older cows in several European countries in recent years.

A definitive diagnosis can only be made by a European reference laboratory in Britain.

“We take this seriously and we are handling it as if our suspicion were confirmed,” Food and Safety Authority official Solfrid Aamdal said in a statement.

Gastrointestinal outbreak confirmed at Canadian psycho ward

The London Health Sciences Centre (that’s in Canada) is in the midst of a gastrointestinal outbreak.

No Title ProvidedAM980 has confirmed an Alert Level Two outbreak has been called for gastrointestinal illness. The outbreak is confined to the 7th floor of the psychiatric ward at Victoria Hospital and the LHSC sent out a memo to staff.

This is the latest issue for the psychiatric ward, which just last week added security guards and visitor restrictions in the wake of what administration calls “an unacceptable level of safety for both our patients and staff.”

Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control, Dr. Michael John, tells AM980 there have been at least four cases.

Going public: Standards aim to cut down on Salmonella and campy in poultry pieces

The U.S. government is pushing the poultry industry to make their chicken and turkey a little safer with new standards aimed at reducing the number of cases of foodborne illness by 50,000 a year.

chicken.cook.thermometerThe proposed standards announced Wednesday by the Agriculture Department apply to the most popular poultry products — chicken breasts, legs and wings, and ground chicken and turkey. They are voluntary but designed to pressure companies to lower rates of salmonella and campylobacter, another pathogen that can cause symptoms similar to salmonella, in their products.

Among the measures companies could take to reduce the rates of those pathogens: better screening of flocks and better sanitation.

The proposal would ask poultry producers to reduce the rates of salmonella in raw chicken parts from around 24 percent now to less than 16 percent, and campylobacter rates in raw chicken parts from 22 percent to 8 percent. Rates also would be reduced in ground chicken and turkey, and sampling would be done over a longer period of time to ensure accuracy.

The Agriculture Department says the standards could eventually reduce salmonella and campylobacter illnesses linked to raw poultry by about a quarter, or 50,000 illnesses a year.

“We are taking specific aim at making the poultry items that Americans most often purchase safer to eat,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Ashley Peterson of the National Chicken Council said the industry has already made improvements. She said poultry companies have been exploring options to reduce contamination, including

The standards come after a lengthy outbreak of salmonella illnesses linked to California chicken company Foster Farms, which sickened more than 600 people between March 2013 and July 2014. In 2013, USDA said inspectors at Foster Farms facilities had documented “fecal material on carcasses” along with poor sanitation.

Foster Farms took measures to improve its sanitation and screening, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says the company’s products have less than 5 percent salmonella.

chicken.thingies.raw.cookVilsack said the Foster Farms outbreaks led the department to realize it needed to be more focused on reducing salmonella in chicken parts. The department already had standards in place for whole carcasses, but not individual parts like breasts and wings. The new proposal would cover the parts, which the USDA says is about 80 percent of chicken available for purchase.

USDA also would make public which companies are meeting the standards or going beyond them, and which companies have more work to do, giving companies more incentive to comply.

The secretary said companies should realize that complying is good business. “It’s in the long-term best interest of the market to have safer food,” Vilsack said.

“These new standards, as well as improved testing patterns, will have a major impact on public health,” said USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Al Almanza. “The proposed changes are another way we’re working to meet the ever-changing food safety landscape and better protect Americans from foodborne illness.”

“Getting more germs out of the chicken and turkey we eat is an important step in protecting people from foodborne illness,” said Robert V. Tauxe, MD, deputy director of the Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “I look forward to seeing fewer Americans get sick as a result of these proposed changes.”

A pathogen reduction performance standard is the measure that FSIS uses to assess the food safety performance of facilities that prepare meat and poultry products. By making the standards for ground poultry tougher to meet, ground poultry products nationwide will have less contamination and therefore result in fewer foodborne illnesses. FSIS implemented performance standards for whole chickens in 1996 but has since learned that Salmonella levels increase as chicken is further processed into parts. Poultry parts like breasts, wings and others represent 80 percent of the chicken available for Americans to purchase. By creating a standard for chicken parts, and by performing regulatory testing at a point closer to the final product, FSIS can greatly reduce consumer exposure to Salmonella and Campylobacter.

The federal register notice is available on FSIS’ website at

chickenConsumer Federation of America today applauded the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) for issuing the first ever performance standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter for raw poultry parts and updated standards for ground poultry.

“Pathogen rates on poultry parts and ground poultry are way too high,” said Chris Waldrop, Director of the Food Policy Institute at Consumer Federation of America. “These standards are essential to protect consumers and help drive down rates of contamination in these products.”

FSIS’ performance standards related to poultry have historically focused only on poultry carcasses. While reducing contamination on the carcass is critical, this approach has failed to address contamination levels once the bird is cut up into parts or processed into ground poultry. FSIS’ own testing revealed high prevalence levels of contamination on raw chicken parts – 24.02% for Salmonella and 21.70% for Campylobacter.  FSIS’ previous standards for ground poultry only addressed Salmonella (and not Campylobacter) and were set at nearly 50% so that a plant could fail almost half of FSIS’ sampling set and still meet the standard.

FSIS’ previous approach also did not account for the way consumers’ poultry purchases have changed over the years. Consumers today are more likely to purchase poultry parts such as breasts, wings and thighs, or ground poultry, than they are to purchase whole birds.


‘Loose motions’ Dozens sickened at Vasai hostel

Of the 31 boys who were rushed to Sir D M Petit Municipal Hospital in Vasai, India, Monday night after they suffered from food poisoning at a government hostel, two more were admitted at the hospital on Tuesday after they complained of body ache, bringing the total number of those admitted to four.

home-image3-1024x515The condition of the four is stable, hospital sources said. According to on-duty medical officer at Sir D M Petit Municipal Hospital in Vasai, two students, Sagar Sable and Siddhesh Kamble, were admitted on Monday night while two other, Sameer Dhodhade and Mangesh Wangad, were brought in on Tuesday morning.

The 27 other students, who also suffered from lose motions, were treated on out-patient department (OPD) basis and did not require admission.

The boys, all residing in government-run Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Government Boys Hostel in Vasai, allegedly suffered from food poisoning after eating lunch at the hostel’s canteen. The hostel houses around 62 boys, and lunch comprised chapatis, lady finger dry vegetable, salad, lentil (dal) and rice. Kamble, who had visited his parents for the weekend and had brought a tiffin from home, had also tasted the hostel’s food.

You see a cute turtle, I see a bug factory: Infant botulism from C. butyricum

We describe two cases of infant botulism due to Clostridium butyricum producing botulinum type E neurotoxin (BoNT/E) and a previously unreported environmental source.

how-to-care-for-terrapins.WidePlayerThe infants presented at age 11 days with poor feeding and lethargy, hypotonia, dilated pupils and absent reflexes. Fecal samples were positive for C. butyricum BoNT/E. The infants recovered after treatment including botulism immune globulin intravenous (BIG-IV).

C. butyricum BoNT/E was isolated from water from tanks housing pet ‘yellow-bellied’ terrapins (Trachemys scripta scripta): in case A the terrapins were in the infant’s home; in case B a relative fed the terrapin prior to holding and feeding the infant when both visited another relative. C. butyricum isolates from the infants and the respective terrapin tank waters were indistinguishable by molecular typing. Review of a case of C. butyricum BoNT/E botulism in the UK found that there was a pet terrapin where the infant was living.

It is concluded that the C. butyricum-producing BoNT type E in these cases of infant botulism most likely originated from pet terrapins. These findings reinforce public health advice that reptiles, including terrapins, are not suitable pets for children aged <5 years, and highlight the importance of hand washing after handling these pets. 

Infant botulism due to C. butyricum type E toxin: a novel environmental association with pet terrapins

Epidemiology and Infection / Volume 143 / Issue 03 / February 2015, pp 461-469

E.B. Shelley, D. O’Rourke, K. Grant, E. McArdle, L. Capra, A. Clarke, E. McNamara, R. Cunney, P. McKeown, C.F.L. Amar, C. Cosgrove, M. Fitzgerald, P. Harrington, P. Garvey, F. Grainger, J. Griffin, B.J. Lynch, G. McGrane, J. Murphy, N. Ni Shuibhne and J. Prosser