Junk science: Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to faithfully ensure his meals aren’t poisoned

As a genetics student in the early 1980s, we were taught about the silliness of Trorfim Lysenko, who set back Russian agricultural production by hundreds of years.

food.tasterToday’s current Russian leader, Vladamir Putin, wants to go further back to the dark ages, and apparently has a professional food taster on his full-time staff.

Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian, but didn’t take any chances that some assassin might toxify his favourite dish of asparagus, peppers and cauliflower. A woman called Margot Woelk was brought a plate of food to test, at noon every morning of his last two years alive. If she didn’t fall ill, the food was packed up in cartons and delivered to his military HQ.

Food tasters have been used for thousands of years to sorta protect those in power from the many poisons out there. Doesn’t work so well with microorganisms like Listeria that may take six weeks to incubate, but other procedures have been developed.

There’s recurrent stories of U.S. Presidential food tasters, that are always denied, but the Food and Drug Administration does takes an active role in food prep for the President.

There are plenty of bacteria that would take days to develop into symptoms.

Nice science, Vlad.

Veterinarian and pork producers president-elect arrested for trying to take gun in to DC meetings

Capitol Police confiscated a 9mm Ruger handgun from the bag of Camden, S.C., resident Ronald William Prestage shortly after 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning at the Cannon House Office Building. Prestage, 59, was arrested and cannongun-01charged with carrying a pistol without a license, a District of Columbia offense that carries up to five years in prison.

Records indicate he has a concealed carry permit in South Carolina. Prestage is a veterinarian and farm operator, and is president-elect of the National Pork Producers Council. He may have been on the Hill to lobby on agriculture issues.

Lizard found in egg puff, 3rd in a month in India

 The city police have registered a case against owner of the New Ragam Bakery at Ammankoil near Sivanandapuram after one of the customers found a dead lizard in an egg puff on Friday evening. The customer was rushed to a nearby hospital after he started vomiting in the bakery. A similar incident was reported last month after a man found a dead lizard in an egg puff bought from a bakery near Town Hall.

Egg PuffsfinalA Balachandran, 29, a car driver, P Rameshkumar, 31, an electrician, and their friend T Rajendran, 32, a coconut seller from Chinnavedampatti had gone to New Ragam Bakery near Sivanandapuram on Friday evening.

“I ordered two vegetable puffs and one egg puff for my friend Rameshkumar. He took a few bites and saw the dead lizard inside the egg puff. He started vomiting and felt giddy. I took him to a private clinic at Sivanandapuram and lodged a complaint against the bakery with Saravanampatti police station,” said Balachandran.

He added that they were regular customers at the bakery for the last eight years. “After seeing the dead lizard in the egg puff, we have decided to stop eating puffs altogether,” said Balachandran.

Montana pool closed after intentional poop incident

Who poops in a pool? On purpose?

Bogert Pool was closed Thursday after fecal matter was found in the pool that morning.

caddyshack.pool.poop-1“To us it appears someone was in the facility overnight,” said Elizabeth Hill, the city’s interim aquatics manager. “It was something that would have been done sometime between us closing last night and opening this morning.”

Staff members discovered “a decent amount” of fecal matter intentionally placed in the pool when they removed covers from the surface, Hill said.

The pool was closed while it was cleaned and more chlorine was added. It is expected to reopen this morning.

“We just follow the standard procedure of letting chlorine do its work in filtering through the system for 24 hours,” Hill said. “Our first priority and concern is just getting the matter out of the water and letting the chlorine start to work.”

Poop beer from Iceland

In this week’s do-not-miss world of beer news, it appears the Icelandic brewery Borg Brugghús has created a beer that gets its unique taste characteristics from, yes indeed, sheep dung.

Borg BrugghúsThe malted barley that goes into their Fenrir Nr. 26 is smoked over burning Icelandic sheep excrement for several hours, resulting in a brew that is, according to brewmaster Sturlaugur Jon Björnsson, “Þetta er í raun léttur IPA bjór með sítruslegt og ferskt bragð og lykt frá humlunum. Síðan kemur svolítið þyngri, taðreyktur fílingur í þetta en þetta gengur allt saman upp.”

For the non-Icelandic among us, that more or less translates as “It’s a lightweight IPA with fresh citrus and hop notes, then comes a bit heavier taste from the…” Well. You get the idea.

This sort of madness isn’t exactly new—witness Beer Geek Brunch Weasel beer from Denmark craft beer superstar Mikeller, which derived some of its flavor from Vietnamese ca phe chon coffee (beans harvested from civet cat poop). But, you know, it’s still not exactly mainstream.

Australian mother finds lizard in baby formula

A mother has called on a leading baby formula brand to recall a batch of one of their popular product lines after she opened a tin and discovered a dead lizard rotting inside.

1405218021287.jpg-300x0Artilina Castanares, a 30-year-old mother-of-two from the outer north-western Sydney suburb The Ponds, said she made the unpleasant discovery on Friday when she opened a newly purchased tin of S-26 Original Process formula.

“I opened it and there was a funny smell. Its tail was sticking up and, thinking it was a thread, I lifted it up and it was a gecko,” Mrs Castanares said.

“I squealed and dropped it. I was in shock from then on,” she said.

Mrs Castanares said she immediately informed “Careline”, the product’s contact hotline listed on the side of the tin, about her discovery.

A spokesperson directed her to return the tin with the dead lizard inside to Aspen Australia, the company’s head office, for an investigation, but was advised she would have to wait up to two months before she heard anything.

“She [the spokesperson] was very casual about it. She said ‘send it in, and well send it overseas for investigation, but be aware it will take 6-8 weeks,’” Mrs Castanares said.

Mrs Castanares said this was an “unacceptable” response as “babies could be at risk.”

“I’m in shock,” she said.

Suitable for dog poop: don’t marinate chicken wings in plastic newspaper bags

Mike Much in Upper Saucon Township, apparently saves the bags in which his newspapers are delivered for marinating chicken wings.

Irene “Toilet Lady” Zalutsky, who shared her homemade concoction for clearing a clogged toilet in 2009, responded, “I just wanted to make a comment about the guy who marinates his chicken wings in the newspaper bags. No way. Uh-uh. Not for me. Even if he cleans it out, it’s still unsanitary.”

Newspaper-Bag-300x199Lewis Gaines of South Whitehall Township responded that, “While this frugality is nothing if not amusing, the use of non-food-grade plastics in this application is a bit extreme as food-grade plastics are processed using a more limited range of chemical-grade polymers and processing aides. General-use polymers can have contaminants that should not be ingested. While the risk is low, I strongly recommend that newspaper bags be used only for newspapers or perhaps for retrieving items such as dog poop.”

Lauren Sucher, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration responded her mother used to store used plastic bags beneath their kitchen sink in an empty milk jug to use in trash bins. (I do that too).

“In this case, a bag containing a newspaper may have mineral oil used in the ink from the newspaper on the inside surfaces of the bag,” Lauren said. “The oil would be expected to migrate to the food and be consumed. The type of mineral oil used for printing is generally not safe as a food additive due to the higher levels of carcinogenic aromatics present. Plastics not specifically made for food contact may contain other substances that are not suitable for contact with food.”

Children vomit after lizard found in midday meal in India

Barely a week after 54 students of a government middle school in Sitamarhi district fell ill after eating midday meal (MDM) in which a snake was found, some children were taken ill in Siwan district on Friday after eating midday meal in which a dead lizard was found.

lizardState education department principal secretary R K Mahajan told TOI, “The incident took place at an upgraded middle school in Sonbarsa under Maharajganj block of Siwan district. One of the children reported to have found a dead lizard in his food and started vomiting. A few other students also vomited after some time.”

“The students were taken to the primary health centre as a precautionary measure and we have sought a report from the district officials on the incident,” he said.