Chipotle Really Wants You To Know They’re All About Food Safety Right Now

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By Cooking Panda

That’s right; Chipotle is even launching an ad campaign to make sure we all know about their new food-safety advancements.

And who can blame them? It’s been almost a year since the E. coli breakouts that severely damaged the restaurant’s reputation. The Wall Street Journal reports that stock prices still haven’t fully recovered from the blow.

New safety measures will include testing every ingredient for pathogens and keeping track via barcode of every stop made along the way, from farm to restaurant. Chipotle will employ more thorough cleaning practices, such as washing lettuce and bell peppers before and after chopping, blanching vegetables and high-pressure cleaning treatments for Chorizo so that taste is not compromised.

As an added bonus, all restaurant managers are to be tested and certified in federally recognized food safety classes, and will be subject to random food safety audits to make sure they’re on top of their game.

According to ABC News, Chipotle promises eight “key food safety advancements” altogether. The tracking of food from point A to point B, however, appears to come from suggestions and guidance from the CDC.  In its most recent report on Chipotle’s E. coli outbreak, the CDC said that this move “can help stop outbreaks and lessen their impact by keeping detailed records to allow faster tracing of individual shipments of foods from source to destination and to help investigators identify what made people sick.”

All of these new advancements and measurements are expected to cut down, or completely stop, the delivery of dangerous foods and bacteria to Chipotle stores. Watch the video below to see Chipotle’s Twitter update concerning the new food safety agenda.

As founder Steve Ells explains in the video, Chipotle was already more careful than most food chains when it came to the quality of their ingredients. Of the all the chains to have this sort of problem, they’d be the last I would have expected. However, I do feel reassured that they are doing all they can. Hopefully, everyone else will feel the same way!

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, ABC News / Photo credit: Chipotle Twitter

Tags: Chipotle, food safety
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This Subway Employee Was Caught On Camera Zapping Bugs All Over The Food (Video)

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By Cooking Panda

Ah, yes, the old Subway motto: Subway, eat flies.

Oh wait, no. That’s just at this Subway in Franklin, Indiana, where an employee was caught on tape zapping flies above all those fresh ingredients on Sept. 12 (video below).

Justin Clemons, the man who recorded the video, told WISH that he was shocked and surprised by the entire buggy situation, and because he was afraid that nobody would believe him, he decided to record the entire incident.

Clemons then shared the 55-second cell phone video with his Facebook page; as of Sept. 14, the video in question has been viewed more than 81,000 times.

“I think the power of social media has really taken over, I mean, like I said I had no idea it would grow to the way it was,” Clemons told Wish TV.

“Everything was pretty normal you go and order your food and go and sit down and it was at that point where my back was [pointed] to them,” he continued. “I started to hear a few different zaps and noises that just weren’t normal.”

Clemons had stopped at the Subway with his two sons after a golf match when he saw the employee crouched behind the counter.

“It was my 13-year-old son that ended up saying I’m pretty sure he’s using one of those bug zappers,” he said.

Clemons then pulled out his phone to begin recording the scene.

“Honestly, I think my kids were pretty disgusted as well,” he said. “Because they had noticed it and asked if it was normal. You have a 13-year-old and a 4-year-old asking.”

Per Wish TV, a spokesperson for Subway issued the following statement: “Food safety is our top priority. All Subway restaurants are individually owned and operated. As soon as the restaurant owner was made aware of the situation, he immediately took action by closing his restaurant and discarding all open products. He has contracted a professional cleaning service to ensure that the restaurant is in top working order.”

Additionally, Clemons received a Facebook message from Subway.

“We truly regret you had this experience Justin, and we are looking into this right now,” reads the Facebook post. “Food safety is our top priority, and we are working with the franchisee to address immediately.”

Watch the video in question below:

Sources: WISH, Justin Clemons/Facebook / Photo credit: Sniggie/Flickr via Huffington Post

Tags: bugs, Facebook, food safety, health inspection, Subway
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Bugging Out: These Women Found Worms In Their McDonald’s Meal — Twice

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By Cooking Panda

Call me a picky eater, but there are just some things I do not want in my sandwich.

I’ll be lenient if the jam/peanut butter ratio is off; I will begrudgingly deal with a sandwich that has gone soggy with too many tomatoes; but, no matter how many people try to convince me otherwise, I will never tolerate worms in my sandwiches.

Luckily, I’ve never actually encountered any worm crawling out of my meals — but these women did at McDonald’s. Twice.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Lacey Jo Lovett of Kentucky said she was just finishing polishing off her McChicken from a McDonald’s when she discovered a worm coyly hiding on the sandwich wrapper, under a piece of lettuce.

Perhaps the incident would be forgivable were it isolated; after all, that worm could have came from anywhere, right?

Wrong. Just two days prior, AJC reports that Madison Stephens had also experienced a similar situations at a McDonald’s in Kentucky just 25 miles away.

According to Stephens, she was halfway through chowing down on her fish sandwich when a worm plopped out of it and started wiggling it’s bold and merry way toward her 1-year-old son’s cheeseburger.

“If I hadn’t seen that worm, my son would have eaten that because it was already on top of his sandwich,” she told WPSD. “That’s how close he came to eating it.”

McDonald’s restaurant employees took no action, due to Stephens’ inability to procure a receipt; later, after complaining to McDonald’s officials, the company awarded her a $10 gift card via mail.

“That scared me, and as a mom, I don’t want another child to have to experience something like that,” she told WPSD, adding that she didn’t want money; she’d have been more satisfied with a health department inspection.

“Food quality and safety are a top priority for us. We will continue to take all appropriate measures to gather all facts and resolve the matter,” a McDonald’s spokesman said in a statement following the incident, per AJC.

The owner-operator of the two restaurants, Michael Love, also followed up to announce that he was unable to substantiate both Lovett’s and Stephens’ claims, adding that health department inspections occurred and did not uncover any wormy problems.

Sources: Atlanta Journal Constitution, WPSD / Photo credit: McDonald’s/Instagram

Tags: food safety, mcdonald's, worms
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UK Restaurateur Stands Trial For Manslaughter Over Deadly Peanut Curry

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By Cooking Panda

In recent years, self-labeling as food intolerant has been an increasing trend. As a result, electing to eliminate certain foods from one’s diet — for weight-related reasons, health concerns, or both — has become more and more common.

Consequently, people have demonstrated a tendency to conflate the terms intolerance, allergy and sensitivity when discussing food-related reactions. However, the terms are not the same.

According to Time, “An intolerance is an inability to properly digest or absorb specific foods or nutrients” and tends to be “dose dependent” — the more you indulge in a food of which you are intolerant, the worse your gastrointestinal stress will be.

Food allergies, however, involve a systemic immune response; if you are allergic to a food, you only need to take a small bite before your body produces antibodies that attack what it views as harmful proteins in the offending food.

This response can sometimes be life-threatening, as in the case of Paul Wilson, 38, who was found dead at his home after suffering a severe allergic reaction to a takeout curry from The Indian Garden made with a ground nut mix which contained peanuts. Wilson allegedly requested that his meal be peanut-free.

The UK restaurateur Mohammed Zaman is currently on trial accused of Wilson’s manslaughter after he adopted a “reckless and cavalier attitude to risk” and “put profit before safety” at his restaurants, according to court testimony, reports the Yorkshire Post.

Prosecutor Richard Wright QC told the court that Zaman had changed from using almond powder to a cheaper groundnut powder, containing peanuts. Despite changing the ingredient in June 2013 and despite a warning from his supplier, Zaman did not disclose to customers that he was using peanuts in his ingredients.

Additionally, the ultimately lethal takeaway package containing Wilson’s last meal allegedly had “no nuts” written on top of it, reports the Post.

Wilson was not the only person to require hospital attention after eating at Zaman’s establishment. Mere weeks before Wilson’s death, a 17-year-old girl ate at another one of Zaman’s restaurants, and later was treated for a reaction caused by — you guessed it — undisclosed peanuts in her meal.

She was assured by the staff that her meal was peanut-free, according to the Post.

“Mohammed Zaman received numerous warnings that he was putting his customers’ health, and potentially their lives, at risk,” prosecutor Wright told the court, as reported by the Post.

“Tragically for Paul Wilson, Mohammed Zaman took none of those opportunities and ignored all of the warnings he was given. … Time and again he ignored the danger and did not protect his customers. The evidence will establish that Mohammed Zaman put profit before safety and that he cut corners at every turn.”

Zaman has plead not guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence, perverting the course of justice and six food safety offenses.

The trial is ongoing, and expected to last three weeks, according to Vice. 

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Sources: Time, Yorkshire Post, Vice / Photo credit: NDTV Food

Tags: food allergies, food intolerance, food safety, the indian garden
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Watch Out For Wire Bristles When Eating Your Next Burger

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By Cooking Panda

The next time you’re eating a hamburger, you may want to take a closer look before you put it in your mouth. It might save you a visit to the emergency room.

A recent report published in the Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery journal stated that over 1,690 Americans were sent to the hospital for injuries associated with accidentally ingesting wire bristles from grilled meat products, as reported by Cosmopolitan.

In most cases, the bristles had accidentally become lodged within the food after having broken off the wire brushes frequently used to clean griddles and grills. Although mouths, tonsils, and throats were the most common parts of the body to be injured by unintentional bristle consumption, internal abdominal injures were also a concern.

Dr. C.W. David Chang, the principal author of the study, explained that most people do not inspect hamburgers and other grilled meats prior to eating them, which leads to bristle ingestion.

“The issue is likely under reported and thus underappreciated,” Chang said.

In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised emergency room physicians to be aware of the possibility of internal injuries that may be caused by ingesting wire bristles, as reported by CBS News.

“Awareness among emergency department physicians, radiologists, and otolaryngologists is particularly important so that appropriate tests and examinations can be conducted,” said Chang, as reported by Science Daily.

In the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from July 6, 2012, the CDC documented six cases of unintentional bristle ingestion that occurred at a hospital in Rhode Island. The resulting injuries ranged from a puncture in the neck tissue to perforation in the gastrointestinal tract.  

“It is important to carefully inspect the grill surface for any remaining wire bristles that may have separated from the grill brush and could penetrate into the grilled food prior to grilling,” advised Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

He recommended using a paper towel or moist cloth instead of wire brushes in order to clean surfaces upon which meat is grilled.

Prior to eating a burger, look a bit closer before eating, take smaller bites, and do not hesitate to spit out something sharp. 

Sources: Cosmopolitan, CBS News, Science Daily / Photo Credit: Cosmopolitan 

Tags: accidental ingestion, emergency room, food safety, hamburgers, wire grill bristles
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Here’s When You Should Be Throwing Out Your Leftovers

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By Cooking Panda

You spent your whole Sunday night cooking extra food for the week. Or maybe you’re single and you followed one of those recipes that’s supposed to feed four, because nobody ever posts recipes with single portions for some reason. Days later, you find yourself eyeing the Tupperware in your refrigerator, trying to figure out if it’s ok to eat and relying on the smell test. If this is you every week, you might want to read on.

In order to make sure your food is safe to eat, all you need to do is keep track of when you cooked the food and do a little simple math. The USDA has a pretty standard rule of thumb: if it’s been sitting in your fridge for more than 4 days, chuck it. It might not smell like rotten eggs or look like a science project, but it might not be safe to eat. Use your best judgment, but try to use your leftovers within those four days. If you have a bunch of stuff on day four, it might be time to throw everything in a stir-fry and finish it that night.

If you don’t think you’re going to eat your leftovers by the fourth day, consider sticking them in the freezer. The USDA says you can keep food in there pretty much as long as you want, as long as it doesn’t thaw. While it will be safe pretty much until the apocalypse, it’s best to use your frozen food within four months in order to get the maximum flavor and texture out of it. You can save it longer, but it might get freezer burn.

The best way to freeze your food is to place it in shallow containers or gallon sized freezer bags with the food flattened out. It will freeze faster this way, which not only preserves taste but also keeps bacteria out.

When you’re ready to reheat it, bring the temperature of the food up to 165 degrees Fahrenheit to keep any lingering bacteria, and chow down.

Tags: food safety, how long, leftovers
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