Pat Quinn, ‘one of hockey’s most respected individuals,’ has died

Whenever I travel, people ask me what I do, and it inevitably evolves into discussions about food safety and hockey.

patquinnThe topics aren’t necessarily connected, other than commitment.

I’m thankful for my parents who spent endless hours at the ice rink so I could play, and I’m thankful for all the food safety types who let me play as well.

Pat Quinn, a Hamilton (that’s in Canada) boy, passed away yesterday and was widely praised as a respected hockey dude.

That’s about the best most of us can hope for, whatever our profession.

Quinn, a two-time Jack Adams winner for coach of the year, led both Philadelphia (1980) and Vancouver (1994) to the Stanley Cup Finals as a bench boss and was highly decorated internationally, winning gold medals at the U-18, World Junior, World Cup and — most famously — the Olympic level, guiding Canada to victory in 2002 at Salt Lake.

Quinn also served as the chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Here’s the statement from Canucks president of hockey operations Trevor Linden, who played for Quinn in Vancouver:

“We have lost a great man. It’s a sad day for hockey and for everyone who loves our game. On this difficult day I am thinking about Pat, his family and his friends, and how much he will be missed.

sorenne.hockey“I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for Pat. He was a great leader and always a teacher. He taught me how to be a professional on and off the ice. He taught me how to play hockey the right way, how to win, and about the importance of respect and loyalty.

“Pat’s impact on our city has been immeasurable. He was responsible for bringing hockey to the forefront in Vancouver. He brought the pride back to the Canucks and today his finger prints and impact are still felt within this organization.”

It’s what I’ve tried to instill in my five daughters. and food safety types around the world.

Scary? Barfing pumpkins, hockey goalie masks and Aust tax deadlines

For whatever reason,  the Australian fiscal year goes from July 1 — June 30, with taxes required to be filed by Oct. 31.

goalie.maskSo while North Americans were contemplating costumes, I spent the day finishing my taxes.

That’s scary.

So is this drunk pumpkin, and this 1959 goalie mask, the first one ever used in a professional (ice) hockey game by Jacques Plante of the Montreal Canadians. I got one from Canadian Tire in 1968 and it hurt like hell every time I got hit in the head.

pumpkin.pukeI relate these tales to the young goalies I now coach. They think I’m old, weird and scary.

Boo.

 

 

 

 

 

Squirts Stars, thermometers and gender stuff

In Canada we call the little kids that play hockey, Novices.

sorenne.coffs.horbor.14In Brisbane they call them Squirts.

Novice is better.

Whatever they’re called, mucho kudos to the Brisbane  Southern Stars Squirts (5-9-years-old) on winning all six games at the 4th Annual 3-on-3 tournament at Coff’s Harbour, NSW, during the school holidays (Oct. 4-6, 2014)

I was out a couple of games, but Sheldon (another Canadian) ably stepped up (and his wife helped me), and his daughter Noelle, who may actually be younger than Sorenne, rocked it. I spoke with the kids afterwards to address any concerns and they seemed cool.

We may have gotten outshot every game, but superstar goalie Ronan Hoy registered two shutouts and pulled us though every other game. Each team member was awarded a gold medal, and coach Doug Powell’s medal is already proudly hanging downstairs with old-timey hockey paraphernalia.

Cole Hardiman was a scoring machine while brother Liam was no slouch (thanks for your help, parents Susan and Brad), while Onrii and Didier Dalgity chipped in as well. John Kelly, Alex Wentz Luke McNamara, and Ethan Poole all knew their role and to watch little kids change on the fly, pay attention to offside, and spread out and pass the puck was gratifying when we haven’t really practiced it.

sorenne.stick.hit.oct.14I apologize if I missed anyone, just like when I wake up in the morning and apologize to my wife for anything that may happen, and apologize when I go to bed for anything that did.

And of course we don’t teach little girls to hit other players in the back of the calves where there is no padding; that would be unsportspersonlike.

I didn’t go to the BBQ but Amy did and took a tip sensitive digital thermometer. A coupe of the dads said “Really?”

It’s food safety 1978 here, and more about that next week.

Thanks to all the parents for their time and helping to build the sport.

In a related but sorta unrelated story, my friend Elizabeth Weise, one of the few remaining reporters at the The USA Today, sent out a note asking now that “Apple and Facebook include egg freezing as a benefit. I’m curious what working mothers might think of this. One woman I know said it made her feel as if these companies were in effect saying to employees that they should have kids later on, on their own time. She worried anyone who actually had kids would be seen as a slacker who wasn’t committed to the job. Any thoughts? I’d love to quote some real mothers in the story.”

Also, “Anyone have thoughts they’d like to share with USA Today on Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s comment yesterday that women in tech don’t need to ask for raises, they should just trust the system to do well by them.

braun.sorenne.hockeyI can put you in touch with Beth.

How about another gender story? Most people know this– it’s a not a secret.

My comment to Beth was that as a father of five hockey-playing daughters – he’s a jackass.

We’ll work more on positioning for the rest of the season, as well as the basics.

Also, the girls-only session last week was a success. When we started the Guelph girls hockey league in about 1996, (that’s in Ontario, in Canada, a town of about 120,000), the girls came out of the woodwork and now is a vibrant league with house league, various rep teams, and probably some 1,000 girls playing.

girls.hockey.international.oct.14

dp

Dr. Douglas Powell

powellfoodsafety.com

barfblog.com

dpowell29@gmail.com

 

What are the bugs – or the fabrics — that make hockey equipment smell?

Nothing has quite the stench of (ice) hockey equipment.

Entire cleansing cabinets have been created to lessen the smell.

girls.ice.hockey.14When I played hockey I’d wash my jersey maybe once a year.

The stench imparted by the gloves is equivalent to the stench imparted to the hands of a fish monger.

However in all the years coaching girls’ hockey, I can generally say the girls are somewhat more particular to the odor aspect.

Somewhat.

On Sunday, the team I coach had an hour practice.

This was followed by a girls only session sponsored by the IIHF (International Ice Hockey federation, below, exactly as shown) for their annual World Girls Weekend.

Sorenne was back out on the ice.

Then I coached a come-and-try session for kids learning how to play from  3:30-4:30 (Sorenne wasn’t on the ice for that) followed by the final league games of the season (Sorenne played, I helped ref).

That’s a lot of hockey.

And a lot of smell.

Whereas I’d leave my stuff to ferment in the bag, Amy ensures Sorenne’s stuff is aired and washed regularly.

Callewaert, et al. examined the microbial basis of exercise stench and concluded they type of undergarments determines the stench of the smell.

girls.hockey.international.oct.14

Abstract below:

Clothing textiles protect our human body against external factors. These textiles are not sterile and can harbor high bacterial counts as sweat and bacteria are transmitted from the skin. We investigated the microbial growth and odor development in cotton and synthetic clothing fabrics. T-shirts were collected from 26 healthy individuals after an intensive bicycle spinning session and incubated for 28 h before analysis. A trained odor panel determined significant differences between polyester versus cotton fabrics for the hedonic value, the intensity, and five qualitative odor characteristics. The polyester T-shirts smelled significantly less pleasant and more intense, compared to the cotton T-shirts. A dissimilar bacterial growth was found in cotton versus synthetic clothing textiles. Micrococci were isolated in almost all synthetic shirts and were detected almost solely on synthetic shirts by means of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis fingerprinting.

A selective enrichment of micrococci in an in vitro growth experiment confirmed the presence of these species on polyester. Staphylococci were abundant on both cotton and synthetic fabrics. Corynebacteria were not enriched on any textile type. This research found that the composition of clothing fibers promotes differential growth of textile microbes and, as such, determines possible malodor generation.
Microbial odor profile of polyester and cotton clothes after a fitness session

15.aug.14
Appl. Environ. Microbiol. November 2014 80:6611-6619;
15 August 2014, doi:10.1128/AEM.01422-14

Chris Callewaert, Evelyn De Maeseneire, Frederiek-Maarten Kerckhof, Arne Verliefde, Tom Van de Wiele, and Nico Boon
http://aem.asm.etoc

Hockey, thermometers and disbelief

News has been a little slow because we spent the long weekend with 120 (ice) hockey players in Coff’s Harbour, a primarily fishing town about five hours south of Brisbane, and home to the big banana.

powell.coffsAnd a decent-sized rink, so it was a 3-on-3 games.

The Saturday night is a large BBQ for parents and players of all ages and, as usual, I volunteered to cook and brought a couple of tip-sensitive digital thermometers.

Unfortunately, I spent the night in the hospital for other reasons but, the show must go on.
temp.burgers.coffs..harbour.14Proving that even French professors can use a thermometer, by all accounts Amy was a food safety master.

Although a couple of the parents said, a thermometer, you’ve got to be kidding, Amy had all the answers.

The team I co-coached won gold.IMG_0038 But fun was had by all.powell.coffs.3

big.banana

PR before peer review, incomplete advice, damaging food safety reputation

My grade 7 teacher in Canada, Mrs. Patrick, was the grammar police and instilled a strong value in getting things right (write?). My wife has now taken over that role.

powell_soliI explain to students and my kids that grammar is like traffic signals: maybe it’s not efficient but it’s some rules we can agree on so that I can get to the idea of what you’re trying to express.

Science or evidence-based, has its own rules.

Whether it’s a grasp for headlines, funding or ego, press releases before publication continue, and continue to be a bad idea.

Food safety types can do better.

In Sept. 2000, I called Procter & Gamble to substantiate claims their consumer-oriented Fit Fruit and Vegetable Wash removed 99.9 per cent more residue and dirt than water alone.

The PR-thingies hooked me up with some scientists at P&G in Cincinnati, who verbally told me that sample cucumbers, tomatoes and the like were grown on the same farm in California, sprayed with chemicals that would be used in conventional production, and then harvested immediately and washed with Fit or water. The Fit removed 99.9 per cent more, or so the company claimed.

One problem. Many of the chemicals used had harvest-after dates, such as the one tomato chemical that was supposed to be applied at least 20 days before harvest.

That tidbit wasn’t revealed in the company PR accompanying Fit.

Back in 2000 I asked why the results hadn’t been published in a peer-reviewed journal, and the P&G types said it was an important advance that had to be made available to consumers as soon as possible, without the delays and messiness of peer-review.

sorenne.hockeyThings haven’t changed much. What I still don’t quite comprehend is why researchers who do go to the effort of getting published in peer-reviewed journals – which isn’t easy – feel the need to share results publicly before peer review or publication. It lessens their effort.

Maybe it’s a culture thing.

Culture encompasses the shared values, morals, customary practices, inherited traditions, and prevailing habits of communities. It’s when one food service or farm or retail employee says to another, dude, wash your hands, without being told by the boss or the inspector.

Or one when PhD tells another PhD, press release before peer-review sorta sucks. And that’s the culture of science.

Or should be.

In July, 2014, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control took some bi-partisan hits for poor tracking of dangerous pathogens, to which director Tom Frieden responded the agency had corrected the specific defects cited in previous investigations, but had not realized there was a deeper problem with the culture of safety at CDC which he will now address.

For me it’s a hockey-coaching thing: try to do better than last week, have fun, and pay attention – before a 10-year-old runs over the 5-year-old. Keep your stick on the ice and don’t take wooden nickels.

And don’t produce food that makes people barf.

Press release before publication is always a bad idea – cold fusion?

 Dr. Douglas Powell is a former professor of food safety who shops, cooks, ferments and coaches hockey from his home in Brisbane, Australia.

‘You just feel like you’re dying’ Food handlers cause 70% of norovirus outbreaks

Sunday has become hockey day.

It’s winter in Brisbane, and the locals are wearing parkas and Uggs as daytime temperatures struggle to climb above 80F.

doug.sorenne.hockey.apr.14On Sunday June 25, I was getting ready to take 5-year-old daughter Sorenne to weekly hockey practice when I promptly barfed after breakfast.

“But I’m the coach, I have to go.”

Amy the wife said, how can you preach that food workers shouldn’t show up to work sick when you won’t do it yourself?

She was right.

I stayed home.

The ice hockey world didn’t end (and I went and awesomely coached three hours of practice and games the next Sunday).

I realize the limitations when I, or the U.S Centers for Disease Control, tell the world, sick workers shouldn’t work. Economics and pride get in the way.

Liz Szabo writes in today’s USA Today that norovirus, the USA’s leading cause of foodborne illness, has become known as the “cruise ship virus” for causing mass outbreaks of food poisoning – and misery – on the high seas. Yet only about 1% of all reported norovirus outbreaks occur on cruise ships.

It might be more accurate to call it the “salad bar virus,” and not because customers are sneezing on the croutons.

But food handlers, such as cooks and waiters, cause about 70% of norovirus outbreaks related to contaminated food, mostly through touching “ready to eat” foods – such as sandwiches or raw fruit – with their bare hands, according to a new report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 90% of contamination occurred during food preparation, and 75% of food involved in outbreaks was consumed raw.

Business practices in the food industry may contribute to the problem.

One in five restaurant workers admits having reported to work while sick with diarrhea and vomiting – the two main symptoms of norovirus – within the past year, the CDC says.

About 20 million Americans are sickened with norovirus every year, with a total of 48 million suffering food poisoning from all causes. The highly contagious family of viruses also causes up to 1.9 million doctor visits; 400,000 emergency room visits; up to 71,000 hospitalizations; and up to 800 deaths, mostly in young children or the elderly. Infections cost the country $777 million in health care costs.

norovirus-2Norovirus is wildly contagious.

As few as 18 viral particles can make people sick. In other words, a speck of viruses small enough to fit on the head of pin is potent enough to infect more than 1,000 people, according to the CDC report, released Tuesday. The virus can spread rapidly in close quarters, as well, such as dormitories, military barracks and nursing homes.

“Norovirus is one tough bug,” said CDC director Thomas Frieden.

Norovirus can make people violently ill so quickly that they don’t have time to reach a bathroom, says Doug Powell, a food safety expert in Brisbane, Australia, and author of barfblog.com. People who get sick in public often expose many others. Norovirus also can live on surfaces, such as countertops and serving utensils, for up to two weeks (I’m told it’s up to six weeks, which is why I always refer journalists to others more knowledgable about certain topics instead of talking out of my ass).

Norovirus is also the Terminator of germs — very tough to kill. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers don’t work very well, says Lee-Ann Jaykus, a professor of food science at North Carolina State University. That makes frequent handwashing important.

But even cooking may not kill noroviruses, which can survive the freezer and cooking temperatures above 140 degrees, the CDC says.

CDC recommends that restaurants offer paid sick leave and require food workers to stay home when sick, remaining out of work for at least 48 hours after symptoms cease. Restaurants should train their staffs well and have on-call workers who can fill in for sick co-workers. Lastly, restaurants should require food handlers to use disposable gloves and wash their hands frequently.

That may be easier said than done, says Powell, who notes that few restaurant workers today get paid sick leave. Many earn minimum wage and can’t afford to miss work. Others fear being fired if they call in sick.

Some restaurants are doing more than others, Jaykus says. “The large retailers are well-aware (of norovirus) and working very hard,” Jaykus says. “Smaller restaurants have, of course, fewer resources.”

The only good news about norovirus?

Scientists are working on a vaccine, although it’s in early stage.

And norovirus is less serious than other foodborne germs, such as salmonella, E. coli and listeria, all of which have led to recalls of fresh and frozen produce in recent years, Powell says. Although norovirus can sicken people for two to three days, it’s not usually fatal.

“You just feel like you’re dying,” Powell says.

The full CDC report is available at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm63e0603a1.htm?s_cid=mm63e0603a1_e.

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