A Bug In The System Late one night in September of 2013, Rick Schiller awoke in bed with his right leg throbbing. Schiller, who is in his fifties, lives in San Jose, California. He had been feeling ill all week, and, as he reached under the covers, he found his leg hot to the touch. He struggled to sit upright, then turned on a light and pulled back the sheet. “My leg was about twice the normal size, maybe even three times,” he told me. “And it was hard as a rock, and bright purple.” (From The New Yorker. Warning: terrible in almost every way.)
Dr Bruce Ames, a toxicologist and one of the world's most cited scientists, discusses the impact of his Ames test, "toxic chemicals," and scaremongering [more inside]
Want to make eggnog weeks ahead of time? You might try this recipe, courtesy of The Rockefeller University's Dr. Rebecca Lancefield (PDF biographic article). In this 2008 video, her colleagues demonstrate how to make it; they suggest starting it now, tasting it at Thanksgiving, and drinking it at Christmas. In their 2009 follow-up video, they intentionally add Salmonella to the recipe as they make it, to see if the added liquor kills off the infection. Videos courtesy of Science Friday. (BONUS LINK: if you missed last year's Puerto Rican Nog celebration, get ready for the 9th annual NYC Coquito Contest!)
Maybe outsourcing is the answer. Canadian importers detected the salmonella tainted peanut products, and, prior to eight Americans dying from it, informed the US FDA. "The FDA failing to follow up after this incident, does that mean that products that are not good enough for a foreign country are still good enough for the USA? That's a double standard that has deadly consequences for our citizens." [more inside]
Peanut butter recall - hundreds sick. Federal health authorities on Saturday urged consumers to avoid eating cookies, cakes, ice cream and other foods that contain peanut butter until authorities can learn more about a deadly outbreak of salmonella contamination. It appears that retail peanut butter in jars is safe. So far, more than 470 people have gotten sick in 43 states, and at least 90 had to be hospitalized. At least six deaths are being blamed on the outbreak which is believed to have started at a Blakely, Ga., facility owned by Peanut Corp. of America that ships peanut products to 85 food companies.
83 percent of fresh, whole broiler chickens in the U.S. contain campylobacter or salmonella, the leading bacterial causes of foodborne disease. This is a disturbing increase from the 49 percent that tested positive in 2003. What’s more, most of the bacteria showed resistance to one or more antibiotics, and more expensive premium brands were actually more likely to contain salmonella. Is the problem factory farming? Rampant antibiotic use? Or are chickens just really gross?