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By: Tracy Turner

Photo: Getty Images

I’m buying a frozen turkey this week to serve for Thanksgiving this year. What’s the best way to thaw it?

With the traditional holiday just days away, if you’ve purchased a frozen turkey, the time to think about how to defrost it is now. Depending on how large your frozen bird is, it could take up to six days to safely defrost it in a refrigerator.

It’s very important that you thaw and cook your turkey safely to help avoid developing foodborne illnesses. Thawing a frozen turkey correctly helps minimize the growth of bacteria, which can cause foodborne illnesses. While frozen, a turkey is safe indefinitely. However, as soon as it begins to thaw, any bacteria that might have been present before freezing can begin to grow again, according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.

There are three safe ways to thaw a frozen turkey: in the refrigerator, in a container of cold water, or in a microwave.

The USDA recommends thawing it in the refrigerator because doing so allows the turkey to thaw in a controlled environment out of the temperature “danger zone”—between 40- and 140-degrees Fahrenheit—where bacteria can multiply rapidly.

A turkey thawed in the refrigerator takes one day for each 4–5 pounds of weight. So, for example, if your turkey weighs 12 pounds, it can take three days to thaw.

But, once thawed, you should cook the turkey within two days to ensure safety, said Sanja Ilic, food safety state specialist with Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

“If you find yourself needing to thaw the turkey using a faster method, you can place it in a container or sink and submerge it in cold water,” she said. “It’s important that the turkey stays cold, so you need to ensure that the turkey is completely submerged in cold water by replacing the water with fresh, cold water every 30 minutes.

“Turkeys thawed using this method will need 30 minutes of defrosting time per pound.”

When defrosting in the refrigerator or in cold water, keep the turkey in its original wrapping, the USDA advises, and in the fridge, consider a secondary container to catch juices and condensation as the bird defrosts.

If you want to thaw your turkey in the microwave, you will need to take it out of its packaging and place it on a microwave-safe dish. Use the defrost function based on the turkey’s weight, the USDA says. Generally, allow 6 minutes per pound to thaw.  

Once you’ve got the turkey thawed, it’s time to think about how to cook it 

“A simple, fool-proof way to make sure your turkey is moist and delicious is to stuff it with aromatics,” said Tim McDermott, an educator with OSU Extension. Good choices of aromatics include fresh herbs like sage, thyme, and rosemary, plus vegetables like onions and leeks.  

McDermott, who runs the Growing Franklin food production blog, demonstrates how to thaw and roast a turkey in an episode of "Extension Today," videos created in partnership with NBC4 WCMH-TV. The weekly segment airs stories about gardening, cooking, and other tips and resources for improving Ohioans’ gardens, lives, families, and local communities on Wednesday afternoons, and Saturday and Sunday mornings.

“To prepare your turkey for roasting, in addition to the aromatics, season the inside and outside of the turkey liberally with salt and pepper and coat it with olive oil, which will help the turkey get nice and golden brown, that color that everyone is going to be really happy with when you pull it out of the oven,” McDermott says. “Kitchen or butcher’s twine can be used to truss the legs together and the wings close to the side of the bird, so it roasts evenly.”  

To view the video and access the playlist of previously aired segments, visit go.osu.edu/ExtensionToday

Chow Line is a service of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line writer Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or turner.490@osu.edu.

Editor: This column was originally reviewed by Sanja Ilic, food safety state specialist, OSU Extension and Tim McDermott, educator, OSU Extension.

WRITER(S): 

Tracy Turner

turner.490@osu.edu

614-688-1067

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: 

Sanja Ilic
ilic.2@osu.edu

Tim McDermott
mcdermott.15@osu.edu

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By: Samantha Cochrane

My favorite fall recipe is, of course, something pumpkin. Fall is always the season that brings my family together. From pumpkin carving to thanksgiving, and lots of little things in between, each of my fall events will probably involve pumpkin bread. Don’t be fooled by the name - pumpkin bread is basically cake and is the perfect dessert to pair with your favorite warm beverage.

Pumpkin bread is pretty simple, but even the simplest of recipes can present an opportunity for foodborne illness. Check out the steps below for more!

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread Photo by UnsplashIngredients:

Cooking oil spray

3 cups granulated sugar

1 cup canola oil

3 eggs

1- 16 oz can Pumpkin (solid, packed)

3 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

1. Wash hands with soap and water

2. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Spray 13 in x 9 in pan with cooking oil spray.

3. In a large bowl, add sugar, canola oil, and pumpkin.

4. Crack eggs into this bowl, then wash hands with soap and warm water.

5. Using hand mixer, blend together these ingredients until smooth.

6. In a separate medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, and cinnamon and stir until well combined.

7. Wash hands after handling flour.

8. Add ½ of flour mixture into the wet ingredient mixture in large bowl. Stir well, until combined.

9. Add the rest of the flour mixture, continuing to stir until smooth.

10. Pour the batter into the pan, spreading it into an even layer.

11. Don’t eat the raw batter.

12. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Check the center of the bread with a toothpick to ensure the dough is flaky and cooked through the middle. Enjoy!


Samantha CochraneSamantha Cochrane

Alumni

Samantha.Cochrane@osumc.edu

 

 

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The College of Public Health at OSU

By: Samantha Cochrane

Food has always been a major part of my life. Like many people, some of my first memories involve the foods I was eating in those moments. From enjoying piles of oven-baked dinosaur chicken nuggets and tater tots at home, to spending my dad’s weekly day off running through a drive-thru for a hamburger. These first memories, while positive, did not always contain the most healthful food choices. Giving more thought to the health content of my foods did not come to me until later in life after being introduced to healthy eating, cooking, and nutrition science in an elective class I took in high school. This class marked a shift in the way I looked at food, just as I was trying to figure out what my future might hold. It not only gave me the helpful baseline knowledge of nutrition to make healthy choices but changed the course of my career pursuits. When I found out this was something I could not only study further but share with others, I was set on becoming a dietitian.

 

person cutting vegetables with knifeWorking toward this goal meant I was becoming a nutrition expert. To my surprise as a college freshman, this was not just learning the calorie content of all foods but understanding what makes food both nutritious and safe. “Foodservice Safety” was my first real introduction to foodborne illness. Many of my college classes shaped both my personal life and professional career, but this one class was unique in that it really changed my everyday view on what and how I ate. Proper temperatures for cooking meat, refrigerator storage protocols, thoughts around cross-contamination, and many more food safety ideas followed me into my own kitchen. It also made me think twice about trusting restaurants to carry out these vital steps properly. For most, this class was a check in the list of boxes needed to be a well-rounded applicant or as another step in becoming a dietitian. For me, this was an eye-opening look at an even more fundamental way to improve health with food.

 

Even though this information was important to understand and made a difference to me personally, it wasn’t something I immediately got to use much when practicing as a dietitian. The first opportunity I recall was when I shared food safety prevention one-on-one while working in a hospital in Louisiana. A patient was admitted due to a severe Salmonella infection, and when they were feeling better, they requested information on how they may prevent foodborne illness in the future. I was so happy to be able to provide this person with resources and information on a topic that meant a lot to me. This inspired me further to put food safety first when sharing information with patients. Currently, while doing nutrition counseling in a primary care office here at OSUWMC, I try my best to include a bit of food safety knowledge into the healthy lifestyle changes suggested on their visits. From recommending a meat thermometer to discussing the appropriate storage time for prepped and packed foods, I am thankful to be able to help people with this aspect of health first.

About the College | College of Public Health | The Ohio State University

Firmly understanding that preventing foodborne illness was the first step in making a healthy food choice gave me a completely different outlook on nutrition. This outlook, as well as my goal of working to impact population health, have been the reasons for my pursual of a Master’s in Public Health here at The Ohio State University. Studying public health has led to an even further evolution in my views on food and nutrition. Not only is healthy food, safe food, but healthy food is also accessible, equitable and culturally appropriate. With my educational, professional and personal food and nutrition experiences I have come to know that food is health, but not in the way that I originally thought. Sure, nutritious food is important, but there is so much more to our health.

 

CFI Team Slime Making CollaborationIn my internship with the Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention (CFI), I have been focused on communication. In working with the communication team, I have had the opportunity to be a small part of the many pieces of work we do to decrease foodborne illness in our communities and worldwide. The responsibility to learn, understand and share in just a few of the many activities of CFI has been a great experience in combining my interests and aspirations in both food and public health. Just like the many members of CFI, I hope to use everything I have learned this year to push my career toward effecting change in population health.

 


Samantha CochraneSamantha Cochrane

Graduate Intern

Samantha.Cochrane@osumc.edu

 

 

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micro photography of green leaf photo on Unsplash.com

By: Juan Archila

More Americans are now seeking a healthy lifestyle and finding easy ways to engage with meal preparation. As part of a healthy diet, fresh fruits and vegetables are needed for your body to get essential nutrients and prevent chronic diseases. Leafy greens (including lettuce, spinach, kale, etc.), especially those in packaged salads, have become popular since they are easy to incorporate into healthy meals. Most packaged salads commonly say: “Triple washed,” “Thoroughly washed,” or “Ready to eat,” which makes consumers feel safe about eating the leafy greens. However, some of them have been involved in recalls and outbreaks related to harmful microorganisms’ contamination. The question is, how can this happen if they are supposed to be safe?

If we compare the ratio of safe leafy greens grown, delivered, and consumed with the ones that have been involved in recalls and outbreaks, you will notice that the safer leafy greens exceed those contaminated with harmful microorganisms. These harmful microorganisms are so tiny that you cannot see them with your naked eye, and you will only know your leafy greens are contaminated when symptoms show up. Some of those harmful microorganisms include bacteria, viruses, and parasites. This, however, is NOT a justification for those packaged salads that have been involved in recalls and outbreaks. These outbreaks have negatively affected the overall population, with severe consequences on high-risk populations, including adults aged 65 and older, children younger than five years, immunocompromised, and pregnant women.

 

nuts and parsley in a bowl photo by UnsplashDifferent microorganisms can contaminate those leafy greens inside packaged salads, including pathogenic E. coli, norovirus, Salmonella, Listeria, and Cyclospora. But the most common microorganism identified in these unfortunate scenarios is E. coli O157:H7, which can potentially cause life-threatening diseases. There are many routes along the supply chain where harmful microorganisms like E. coli can contaminate the leafy greens you consume. That contamination could come from the farm, transportation, packing or processing facility, retailer, and even home. For example, leafy greens can be contaminated with harmful bacteria if the irrigation water used is contaminated with cattle feces. In the food production industry, it is very important to recognize that everyone shares responsibility for the safety of these food products. This means that in each step from farm to table, everyone needs to pay special attention to how leafy greens are being handled to decrease the incidence of harmful microorganisms contamination and growth.

 

The way each microorganism works to cause symptoms may be different from each other and could lead to various adverse outcomes. For example, those outbreaks in which Listeria monocytogenes is involved could lead to negative consequences (e.g., miscarriages, stillbirths, preterm labor) in pregnant women and their newborns.

The following timeline summarizes some multistate leafy greens outbreaks in the past five years (it does not include fresh herbs or sprout outbreaks).

Multistate leafy greens outbreak timeline
YEAR TYPE OUTBREAK 
2022 Leafy greens mixed (packaged salads) E. coli O157:H7
2021 Leafy greens mixed (packaged salads) Listeria monocytogenes
2021 Leafy greens mixed (packaged salads) Listeria monocytogenes
2021 Baby spinach (packaged salads) E. coli O157:H7
2021 Leafy greens mixed (packaged salads) Salmonella Typhimurium
2020 Leafy greens E. coli O157:H7
2020 Iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, and carrots (packaged salads) Cyclospora
2019 Leafy greens mixed (packaged salads) E. coli O157:H7
2019 Romaine lettuce E. coli O157:H7
2018 Romaine lettuce (packaged salads) E. coli O157:H7
2018 Leafy greens mixed (packaged salads) Cyclospora
2018 Romaine lettuce E. coli O157:H7

 

Continuous efforts have been made by the industry, government agencies, and academia to mitigate this public health risk. Even though there is specific regulation for produce safety, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, action plans have also been developed. These action plans are based on “prevention, response and knowledge gaps.” The prevention includes the implementation of the science-based standards that are stipulated in the Produce Safety Rule. The response consists of actions being followed to investigate produce outbreaks, including surveillance systems. And the knowledge gaps include the understanding of produce contamination using science to mimic harmful microorganisms’ dynamics.

This is too much information to process! So, let’s summarize it!

1. Packaged salads should be safe for consumption because their production must follow food safety practices.

2. Sometimes, packaged salads could be contaminated with harmful microorganisms. But that DOES NOT mean all of them are contaminated.

3. Industry, government agencies, and academia are working together to continue providing safe produce to consumers.

For more information, visit:


Juan Carlos Archila Godinez

Juan Carlos Archila Godinez

Graduate Research Associate

archilagodinez.1@buckeyemail.osu.edu

 

 

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By: Chloe McGovern and Samantha Cochrane with contributions from Nadira Yasmin 

Why the recall? 

In May 2022 the FDA issued a recall for powdered infant formula made in Sturgis, Michigan. The products recalled included Similac, Alimentum and EleCare.For the most current information about the recall, please visit the FDA’s website or click on this link. The outbreak is considered closed, but the FDA and CDC are continuing to update information regarding their investigation after the recall and ways to prevent future outbreaks. 

As we learned with this most recent infant powdered formula outbreak, products we think may be the safest still have risk. This reminds us the risk of foodborne illness is never zero. The process of making baby foods are more regulated to lower the risk of a food safety outbreak, but these safer conditions do not equate to sterile food products.Baby Formula  

One way we can take control in lowering our own risk is to read instructions on the packaging of any foods carefully. Careful reading, especially for foods for the young, elderly, pregnant, and immunocompromised, can help in saving lives. 

What is Cronobacter?

Cronobacter sakazakii is a germ that lives naturally in our environment. It can be found in dry foods like infant formulas, herbal teas, powdered milk and starches. Cronobacter infections are rare, but they can be deadly in newborns. They can also be serious for the elderly, those age 65 or older, and adults with weakened immune systems. In infants, Cronobacter illness will usually start with a fever and poor feeding, excessive crying, or very low energy. Some infants may also have seizures. You should take an infant with these symptoms to a medical provider as soon as possible.2 

Feeding Safe Formula 

In addition to reading the specific instruction on how to prepare your specific formula, there are some general rules to follow to keep the formula as safe as possible: 

  • Wash hands well before preparing bottles or feeding your baby. Clean and sanitize the space where the infant formula is prepared. 

  • Bottles need to be clean and sanitized.  

  • Liquid infant formula does not need to be warmed before feeding as it is considered sterile, but some people like to warm their baby’s bottle. Avoid using a microwave to heat bottles to prevent uneven heating.  

  • If you use powdered infant formula: 

- Use water from a safe source to mix your infant formula. If you are not sure if your tap water is safe to use for preparing infant formula, contact the local health department. 

- Use the amount of water listed on the instructions of the infant formula container. Always measure the water first and then add the powder. 

- If a baby is very young (younger than 2 months old), was born prematurely, or has a weakened immune system, they may be at higher risk of getting sick from Cronobacter. The CDC recommends considering extra precautions in preparing infant formulas to protect against Cronobacter, specifically for these infants.3 

The safest way to prepare powdered formula is to prepare with water at boiling temperature. This step is not to sterilize the water, but to help in killing any bacteria in the powdered formula itself. Unlike the liquid formulas available, powdered formula is not sterile. This step may help any infants stay safe when choosing liquid formula, but is especially important for those at higher risk of getting sick, mentioned above. To learn more about how to prepare powdered baby formula safely through boiling water, check out the directions from the CDC found here.2 

Baby Formula Feeding

Always Play it Safe

When it comes to baby food, if you have any concern based upon sensory perceptions, storage conditions, or even a gut instinct, it is best to throw the formula out. Likewise, any unfinished bottles should be discarded and not stored for later, even in the refrigerator. If power is lost, you should follow the same protocols you would for other foods in the refrigerator.  

Where are we now?

After this outbreak, we have seen some weaknesses in the way we supply baby formulas. The combined effects of supply chain trouble due to the pandemic and the formulas recalled by Abbott Nutrition have led to shortages seen across the country: 

One of our own CFI students has directly felt these effects. Nadira Yasmin, an MPH practicum student and mom to a little one dependent on one of these formulas, shared with us some of the lengths she went to get the formula her son relied on:  

“As a mother using formula to supplement my baby’s nutrition, it was very difficult to find the exact one that my son takes available at stores throughout the Columbus area and beyond. I traveled to different Walmart and Target locations that were much further from my home just to pick up some formula that I ordered online once the stock became available again. During this time, there were limits on the quantity of formula that could be purchased as well. There was a good 4-5 weeks that the specific formula I buy was not available in any of the stores here. I ended up ordering from Amazon, which took about 3 weeks to come.”  

Months after the recall and improvement of COVID supply issues, we are still feeling effects of this shortage that is impacting some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. In response to the situation, President Biden and his administration have worked with government agencies involved in formula regulation and distribution. Their actions include working with the FDA to allow more formula to be brought in from other countries and working with the USDA to simplify production of formula container sizes to allow for more to be made overall.5 With these and other actions, we hope to see families feel more secure in both the availability and safety of infant formulas. 

 

References 

  1. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/powdered-infant-formula-recall-what-know 

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/cronobacter/infection-and-infants.html  

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/formula-feeding/infant-formula-preparation-and-storage.html  

  1. https://www.hhs.gov/formula/index.html 

  1. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/05/12/fact-sheet-president-biden-announces-additional-steps-to-address-infant-formula-shortage/ 


Chloe McGovernChloe McGovern

Alumni

mcgovern.157@buckeyemail.osu.edu

 

Samantha CochraneSamantha Cochrane

Graduate Intern

Samantha.Cochrane@osumc.edu

 

Nadira YasminNadira Yasmin

Alumni

yasmin.1@buckeyemail.osu.edu

 

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By: Laura Onianwa

On May 2, 2022, I landed in South Korea, ahead of the US Eastern Standard Time Zone by about 11 hours. I do not speak Korean, nor am I well versed in Hangul, but it didn’t make me want to go any less and visit my close friend who resides there. Korean is the primary language spoken, as is to be expected. And although it is becoming more common, not everyone speaks English, since all Koreans aren’t afforded the same opportunity to attend English academies as young children. I was a little anxious, yes, but excited. The pandemic had previously uprooted my plans to study abroad in Spain two years ago, and I knew that opportunities like this didn’t come along often. Although I’ve never really been into K-pop or K-dramas, I can appreciate both; at any rate, I was both willing and ready to travel abroad to Korea.

Being a minority in more than one way, living on my own, traveling solo much of the time, and not being completely knowledgeable of the language, I most definitely would stand out as a foreigner. In preparation, however, I did educate myself on the culture and was given proper advice by friends familiar with the country. They helped in providing the major do’s and don'ts, and what is considered appropriate and/or disrespectful in the typical culture and customs of Korea.

Laura OnianwaLaura Onianwa

As ready as I could be, I would spend the next 2 months in Korea. My experience there was surreal at times, interesting, informative, and genuinely good! I experienced many things for the first time; hostel living, Buddhist temples, palaces, shrines, Hof bars and pubs, jazz bars, busking, outdoor markets, underground shopping centers, the subway/metro train (beyond awesome), the night scene, vivacious mountains, cozy cafes and bakeries (individualized and aesthetically pleasing all-around), authentic street food, photo booth studios, lovely parks, cultural venues, and delivery drivers on motorcycles riding through both red lights and upon sidewalks (which they are legally permitted to do). However, as a student with CFI, I paid special attention to all things food and food safety, especially when eating out.

Sharing is Caring

Korea is by and large a sharing culture, but that shouldn't stop you from getting a bowl of Bingsu (a Korean dessert comprised of shaved ice, topped with fruit and sweet add-ons) for a party of one. It is very common to share meals there. From Korean Barbeques, in which the minimum amount is a two-serving meal, to desserts. Due to the portion sizes of the food, it is easy to notice when certain dishes are commonly shared versus made for one person to consume.

Bingsu Korean Dessert

 

I noticed that the size of drinks is all largely the same, in that you get the same, one size, no matter where you go. Unlike the US, the food establishment will rarely let you choose the size.

No tips, please

Taxes and tips are included in the total price of food, and there is no tipping culture, so the price you see displayed is the only price you pay. This was quite a relief if I’m being honest. Tipping can be considered rude/impolite, as it can be seen as insulting someone’s presumed financial status.

Organized Waste

Waste management was another interesting change from what I’ve seen in the US. Large garbage bags are not made readily available to the general public, but rather medium/small waste basket-sized ones are commonly found in stores. In Korea, waste bins are small because the apartments there are typically small in size, and the majority of the population live in these apartments. While staying in a hostel in Seoul, South Korea, I noticed how concerned they were about sorting one’s trash into food only, cardboard/paper, plastic, and glass-specific bins. Even with this concern, waste is collected daily, with people sorting through the trash based on the previously mentioned categories. It seems to be an all-around communal effort to adhere to the country’s waste management operation taking place.

Dine-in

Many restaurants offered those dining in with individually packaged sanitizing hand towelettes to clean their hands prior to eating, since many of the food establishments in South Korea don’t have public-use restrooms. As many may forget to wash their hands before eating, I thought this was a good way of keeping hand hygiene more consistent. I’m not sure if this had always been the case or a mitigation response due to Covid-19, but either way, I was all for it!

There was usually a pitcher of water and cup placed by the server at your table, or a universal one made available to use if you wanted water to drink. With communal use, I wondered, however, how often these reusable water containers were washed and sanitized? Daily? Weekly? I did not have the answer.

Like in the US, upon placing your order at either the self-service kiosk or at the front counter, many places would ask if you wanted to "take out" or "eat in". If you got takeout, you were not allowed to sit down and eat your meal inside the establishment. I suspect it had to do with the unnecessary waste of material that could accumulate in the food establishment’s own indoor trash can and was a good way of preventing the creation of avoidable waste. It may also be the reason why there were no obvious trash cans in these food places, except maybe a tiny waste bin near the front counter. There was an expectation that if you ordered to eat out or requested your food to-go, you actually ate your food somewhere else.

Reusable utensils were also a staple in restaurant eating. If you dined in, most, if not all the utensils used could be washed and reused. If you ate in, at a cafe, bakery or quick food shop, they usually gave you a tray, and once you were done eating you would bring it up to the counter for them. Even at a large franchise such as Starbucks, they used actual mugs, teacups, and glasses for those choosing to dine in. For the coffee drinks, I think this not only allowed them to show off their coffee art artistry, bringing class to fast-food style coffee, but prioritized sustainability.

In South Korea, cafes are on nearly every corner. Places to eat like small bakery businesses and chain-franchises alike are all able to maintain that “all are welcome” feel. I enjoyed how I could sit and savor everything I tasted. At these places you don’t feel forced to make it a grab and go process but are compelled to just have a seat and enjoy. On a few occasions, I noticed that at sit-down restaurants where utensils were required, such as chopsticks and spoons (reusable cutlery), they were either all stored in a pullout drawer connected to the table you were eating at or such utensils were simply in a universal container and out in the open where the dine-in customer could pick out their eating utensil from the collective. Although it could be a charming practice, I noted that it was another communal area possibly leading to the transfer or spread of illnesses. Especially, when left unprotected from human hands and thus the germs that each of us may carry.

UtensilsUtensilsUtensils

At some bakeries and café locations, I noticed that the freshly made grab-and-go bakery items were not encased but rather freely open to plate. Although plastic or wooden trays with parchment paper and clean utensils were provided and required to be used by all when grabbing bakery items, there wasn’t a plexiglass covering or sliding door to provide some sort of protective barrier between the array of food and the perusing customers like we are used to seeing here in the US.

 Baked GoodsBaked Goods

Ultimately, I found the food in South Korea, whether they were traditional Korean dishes or picturesque pastries, to be nothing short of fresh, unique, and tasty. The restaurants, cafés, and bakeries I visited, specifically the latter, exuded charm, prioritized visual appeal, and upheld quality. Now that I am back in the States, I can say that I’ve left South Korea with a plethora of interesting experiences, both food related and not. New friendships, an appreciation for clean and efficient metro systems, a better understanding of Korean history, a strengthened growth mindset, a newfound desire to learn Hangul, and over 200+ photos that will stick with me forever. I will definitely be traveling to South Korea again, and other countries as well in the future! 감사합니다

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By: Drew Barkley

Let’s start by taking a quick trip down memory lane. The year is 2010, and after spending your evening watching highlights from the Vancouver Winter Olympics, you begin to feel sick. Your stomach starts to churn, and you realize that this might be something serious. You visit your doctor and they suggest taking a stool sample. Your sample gets sent off to a lab to be cultured, and after a few days you hear back that your culture came back positive for Salmonella Montevideo. Further, the lab submitted the Salmonella Montevideo strain isolated from your stool to PulseNet at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). PulseNet is a foodborne disease outbreak surveillance system here in the U.S. that uses whole genome sequence data taken from clinical isolates to find common strains between different cases. The isolate from your stool ends up matching isolates from other cases of Salmonella Montevideo around the country. As a result, the health department questions you about the food you ate over the last month to identify any common exposures with the other cases and identify a potential source of the emerging outbreak. 

Fast-forward to today. It’s 2022, and while watching replays from the Beijing Winter Olympics, your stomach begins to ache again. You feel the same illness coming on. However, when you go to visit the doctor this time, they do not send a stool sample off to the lab to be cultured. Instead, they use a small molecular array that looks like a chip to test your stool. Within a few hours, you receive the results that you are positive for Salmonella and are sent home to rest and recover. Because no culture was completed this time, unfortunately there is no way of knowing whether your illness is a sporadic case or part of a larger outbreak. 

The scenario described above highlights both the strengths and weaknesses of culture-independent diagnostic techniques, or CIDTs. CIDTs, like the small molecular array used to diagnose a foodborne illness in the paragraph above, are a relatively new method for detecting enteric or foodborne pathogens from stool. Unlike traditional culture methods that are labor-, resource-, and time-intensive, CIDTs are quick and easy, and can test for up to 20 or more different pathogens on a single test. Because CIDTs are so fast and test for several pathogens, they help physicians diagnose patients more quickly and allow for appropriate treatment to begin more rapidly as well. Within the last 5 to 10 years, because they are so easy and efficient, CIDT use has greatly increased. For example, the proportion of Campylobacter cases in FoodNet sites diagnosed with CIDTs increased from 13% in 2012-2014 to 38% in 2018.1 You can also see in the graphs below the increase in CIDT usage to diagnose various foodborne pathogens between 2015 and 2020.2 

Chart, bar chartDescription automatically generated 

ChartDescription automatically generated 

So if CIDTs are easier, more efficient, and test for more pathogens, what is the problem with increasing their usage? If you remember back to the scenario at the beginning of this post, when the molecular array CIDT is used today to diagnose a foodborne illness, there is no isolate or culture to send to PulseNet at CDC. This means there is no way to determine if your illness is a sporadic case, or part of a larger outbreak when using just CIDTs. That is because PulseNet needs bacterial isolates so that the exact strain causing an illness can be determined. By identifying the exact strain, if the strain for one ill person matches the strain of another ill person, outbreaks and linked cases can be more easily identified. As CIDT use increases, the effectiveness of the PulseNet surveillance system in identifying ongoing foodborne disease outbreaks becomes more jeopardized.  

So what can be done? While more research is needed to fully understand the impact of CIDTs on foodborne disease surveillance, the CDC has launched a pilot study for how to adapt PulseNet to CIDT data. CIDTs typically rely on genetic material of the pathogens present in the stool. The CDC is currently investigating using metagenomic approaches to match the genetic material from CIDTs to common, known outbreak strains for specific pathogens.3 This “shotgun” approach to seeing if CIDT results match any previous outbreak strains is not the most efficient way to identify outbreak strains, but may prove a useful tool as we move further from culture and more towards CIDT use. 


Drew BarkleyDrew Barkley

Graduate Research Associate

barkley.50@buckeyemail.osu.edu

 

 

 

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On Wednesday, May 11th, CFI hosted the Inaugural OSU Food Safety Collaborative meeting. The goal of this meeting was to bring together the OSU food safety community to share ideas and build partnerships. To kick off our meeting, David J. Staley, who is an Associate Professor with the OSU Department of History, gave a wonderful talk titled "The Need for Interdisciplinary Thinking". The talk emphasized the importance of inter-departmental collaboration to solve food safety challenges and was the perfect talk to set the tone for what the OSU Food Safety Collaborative is hoping to accomplish.


The Need for Interdisciplinary Thinking
By: David J. Staley

I’m not an ecologist, but I understand that in ecology there is the concept of an “ecotone”:  a region of transition between two biological habitats/ecologies.  It turns out that this point of intersection between ecologies often produces “edge effects,” and is particularly noted as an attractive site for a rich, complex diversity of life. 

Thinkers such as diverse as Stewart Brand and Yo-Yo Ma have borrowed this concept to describe how creativity and innovation works.  And I wish to borrow the analogy as well: we are often admonished to “break down silos” with little or no guidance about what we are supposed to do after we have broken the silos. 

I would like to propose the creation of an “epistemological ecotone”—a point of intersection between disciplines—that induces edge effects: a rich, complex diversity of ideas.  

To continue the analogy: disciplines are habitats in this analogy.  Richard Ogle thinks of disciplines as “idea spaces”  “Idea spaces can take many different forms,” he writes. 

Established scientific disciplines and paradigms, for example, represent idea-spaces that embed collective intelligence about the most effective way to carry out research, typically providing an overarching framework of established theory, principles, practices, heuristics, methodological assumptions, lab techniques, and so forth.

A discipline—an idea-space—is an intellectual habitat.  The point of intersection between these intellectual habitats becomes the site and generator of edge effects.

This ecological analogy gives us a new way to think about interdisciplinarity/about collaboratives (like the Food Safety Collaborative).

Frans Johansson describes this condition as “The Intersection”

The key difference between a field (a discipline) and an intersection of fields lies in how concepts within them are combined.  If you operate within a field (within a discipline) you primarily are able to combine concepts within that particular field, generating ideas that evolve along a particular direction—what (he) calls directional ideas.  When you step into the Intersection (what I’ve been calling the “epistemological ecotone”) you can combine concepts between multiple fields, generating ideas that leap in new directions—what (he) calls intersectional ideas.

The Intersection is a liminal space—a threshold—an environment that is in-between disciplines; and it can be difficult and disorienting and unsettling to reside here because:

1) it is difficult to manage, in part because outcomes are difficult to foresee or to plan for or to control.  Surprise and fortuity, serendipity and epiphany are edge effects of life in the epistemological ecotone.

2) this liminal environment often has no recognizable academic infrastructure: journals, conferences, professional societies, degree programs, TIUs.  Faculty are often rewarded for their contributions to disciplines, not for the edge effects they might create when in The Intersection.  Perhaps this is why universities are often hesitant to create and maintain (and fund) these liminal, in-between spaces. 

The threshold space I am describing is a kind of “Third Place.”   In urban design, a third place is a convivial space that is neither home (First Place) nor work (Second Space). What you are building here with your Collaborative is an “epistemological third place,” neither one discipline or another, but the liminal edge between them. 

In design, we often talk about “wicked problems.”  These are challenges of such size, complexity and uncertainty that they appear seemingly unsolvable.  The maintenance of food safety certainly qualifies as a wicked problem, one best addressed by breaking down silos between stakeholders and collaborating together…at the edge.


David StaleyDavid Staley

Associate Professor with the OSU Department of History

staley.3@osu.edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

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By: Michala Krakowski  

Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, direct-to-consumer and third-party delivery methods were on the rise. The food delivery industry has tripled since 2017 with 8% growth just in the last few years (Ahuja et al., 2022). With this rapid growth in industry, regulatory agencies and establishments have had less time to adapt to the increasing food-safety concerns.  

There are three resources that I have found to be useful when looking for advice. The first is the Partnership for Food Safety Education, an organization that promotes and develops education programs to reduce the risk of foodborne illness among consumers (Partnership for Food Safety Education, 2021). The second source of information is from the Conference of Food Protection which is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing food safety guidance that is incorporated into food safety laws and regulations throughout the United States (Conference for Food Protection, n.d.). The third source of information comes from StateFoodSafety, an online food safety training company, where their efforts are designed to educate the public and ensure the health of communities nationwide (StateFoodSafety, n.d.).  

Here are a few tips you can use to ensure a food delivery order remains safe regardless of your role:

  • Consumers are individuals who seek out food orders for their own consumption: 
    • Partnership for Food Safety Education encourages consumers to: 
      • Ask the delivery company or restaurant questions about their delivery standards and what you should do if your order has been compromised. 
      • Ensure you or someone you know will be able to accept the delivery of your order so that it can be stored in a safe place if the food is not consumed immediately.  
      • Inspect the packaging once you have your order to ensure there is no damage and promptly cook, serve or save your food depending on your plans.

Consumer pic

  • Food Businesses are establishments that prepare, cook, and serve food to their customers. 

  • Protect your food by providing adequate packaging to ensure four things: 

1. There is no cross-contamination between perishable foods, 

2. Unpackaged food items do not have contact with major allergens, 

3. Food is protected from time-temperature abuse during transit, and 

4. Food is not damaged during transit. 

  • Provide your employees with proper food handling techniques through some sort of training program. 

  • Training should be reassessed on a regular basis. 

Food Business pic

  • Delivery Drivers are individuals who transport food items from a food business to a consumer whether through a third-party company or directly through a food business. 
    • StateFoodSafety encourages delivery drivers to:
      • Practice good personal hygiene.  
      • Avoid cross-contamination of delivery orders by keeping foods separate and in safe places. 
      • Identify ways to keep the food order at the proper temperature to ensure quality and safety. 

Delivery Driver pic

Everyone has a responsibility when it comes to the safety of food delivery orders, no matter what role an individual has in the food chain. Enjoy safe and delicious food using these tips! 

References: 

Ahuja, K., Chandra, V., Lord, V., & Peens, C. (2022, February 18). Ordering in: The rapid evolution of Food Delivery. McKinsey & Company. Retrieved February 21, 2022, from https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/technology-media-and-telecommunications/our-insights/ordering-in-the-rapid-evolution-of-food-delivery  

Clark, C. (n.d.). How to Handle Food Delivery and To-Go Orders Safely. Statefoodsafety.com . Retrieved February 21, 2022, from https://www.statefoodsafety.com/Resources/Resources/how-to-handle-food-delivery-and-to-go-orders-safely  

Conference for Food Protection. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2022, from http://www.foodprotect.org/  

Dimensions. (2021, April 27). Close up of woman packing food for delivery stock photo. iStock. Retrieved February 21, 2022, from https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/close-up-of-woman-packing-food-for-delivery-gm1314632869-402807855  

Guidance document for direct-to-consumer and third-Party Delivery Service Food delivery: Conference-developed guides and documents. Conference for Food Protection. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2022, from http://www.foodprotect.org/guides-documents/guidance-document-for-direct-to-consumer-and-third-party-delivery-service-food-delivery/  

Partnership & history. Partnership for Food Safety Education. (2021, September 20). Retrieved February 21, 2022, from https://www.fightbac.org/about-us/partnership-history/  

PeopleImages. (2020, November 26). We've got you covered during lockdown stock photo. iStock. Retrieved February 21, 2022, from https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/weve-got-you-covered-during-lockdown-gm1287632111-383789708  

Prep yourself. Partnership for Food Safety Education. (2022, February 16). Retrieved February 21, 2022, from https://www.fightbac.org/prep-yourself/  

Rez-Art. (2020). African american couple sitting at table looking at food delivery stock photo. iStock. Retrieved February 21, 2022, from https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/african-american-couple-sitting-at-table-looking-at-food-delivery-gm1279915118-378372743  

StateFoodSafety. (n.d.). About us: Company. About Us | Company | StateFoodSafety.com. Retrieved February 21, 2022, from https://www.statefoodsafety.com/About 


Michala KrakowskiMichala Krakowski 

Undergraduate Intern

krakowski.9@buckeyemail.osu.edu

 

 

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By: Chloe McGovern

A Fridge Cleaningnew year brings a fresh start to a lot of aspects of our lives; it is a great time to reset and rejuvenate. A fresh start can be symbolic with a good cleaning, so why not start with your refrigerator? Your refrigerator is an essential part of keeping your food safe, and it does not get cleaned often enough as a thank you for all the work it does. Left unclean, your fridge could become the perfect incubator for pathogens to survive and contaminate other food. So now is the perfect time to clean it in preparation for another year of feeding your loved ones.   

So... How do you clean it?   

The first step is to take all your food out of the fridge and place it in an ice chest. This is a fantastic opportunity to throw out expired food or month-old leftovers that have been pushed to the back. Once you take the food out of the refrigerator it is recommended that it stays out of the refrigerator for at most 2 hours. Cleaning your fridge should not take 2 hours but set a timer so you do not forget about the food!  

The second step is to remove all the detachable parts like shelves or drawers. Wash these removable parts with hot, soapy water and a sponge. Be careful with cold glass and hot water. As the water warms up, warm up the glass so the temperature difference does not break the glass. Next, you are going to dry these parts with a clean towel.   

The third step is to wipe the inside of the empty refrigerator with hot, soapy water. Follow this with clean water and a towel to wipe the soap off and dry the inside. The inside includes the door and any non-removable parts.   

For an additional step, you can mix 1 tablespoon of liquid bleach and a gallon of water to create a sanitizing solution. With a clean sponge, wipe down just the removable parts. Let these parts dry outside of the fridge. Bleach solution should not be applied directly to the inside of the fridge.   

Fridge CleaningThe last step in your refrigerator cleaning is putting the shelves and drawers back into your nice and clean refrigerator and placing your food back in its home!  

Weekly or monthly wipe downs with disinfecting wipes, or right after a spill, prevents these deep cleanings and the upkeeping of your appliances from being a drag. Your refrigerator deserves a deep cleaning every 3-4 months, so show your most important appliance the love it deserves. 

The recommendations made in this blog are from the U.S. Center for Disease Control. More information from them can be found here: 

 CDC Clean Your Fridge Flyer  

CDC Clean Your Fridge Because of a Food Recall 


Chloe McGovernChloe McGovern

Graduate Research Assistant at the Master’s Level

mcgovern.157@buckeyemail.osu.edu

 

 

 

 

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