Risky or Not?: Flies and Cooler Corn

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Risky or Not? Podcast

Risky or Not? Logo with thumbs up and thumbs down clip art

Image shared with permission by owner.

I’ve written about this before, but I want to share again about a food safety podcast that I continue to enjoy. I teach a lot of food safety to both consumers and food service professionals and always learn from the Risky or Not? podcast. I know many people aren’t as interested in food safety as I am, but, I want to share some of the discussions from the podcast in this column. 

Risky or Not? is produced by two Extension Food Safety Specialists, our own Dr. Ben Chapman from N.C. Cooperative Extension and Dr. Don Schaffner, a specialist from Rutgers in New Jersey. The podcast is available for anyone who wants to listen and learn.

This is a short podcast with each edition about 10 minutes. In each podcast Drs. Chapman and Schaffner address one food safety topic, usually a question that has been asked by a listener or an Extension colleague. Typically the question is related to food, cooking, or food preservation. They look at research and the science and give their rationale for deciding if it is risky or not.

Eating Food After a Fly Lands On It

On one of their recent programs, a question was asked about the risks of eating food after a fly had landed on it. First off, flies do carry germs and there are possible links between flies transferring bacteria from one source (like fresh dog poop) to your food. However, on the podcast, both Professors agreed that the risk of one fly landing on your food and making you sick is minimal. They also discussed that there are situations that might make this situation more risky, such as a large quantity of flies near animal pastures or open trash dumpsters. Pests (such as flies) are a concern in restaurants and other food service situations. Despite their answer, they reminded listeners that it’s still important to keep flies away from your food. Always worth a listen to understand the details.

Cooler Cooked Corn

Three ears of shucked corn laying on a flat surface

On another program, they addressed Cooler Cooked Corn. This idea for cooking large amounts of corn-on-the-cob has been trending on the internet. The concept is that shucked corn is placed in a large cooler and then boiling water is added to the cooler and allowed to set for 30 minutes. In the end, the corn is heated and edible. Both Professors agreed that this is not risky. Some of their thoughts included the facts that corn doesn’t really need to be cooked to eat it and heating only makes it more palatable. They did have a couple concerns: it would be a good idea to clean and sanitize the cooler before adding the corn and don’t leave the hot corn in the cooler for more than a couple of hours. 

If you’d like to hear more details about these topics, you can go to the Risky or Not website (yes that is co not com). You can also sign up to learn when they post new topics. Other recent program topics have been: Roasted Grilled Vegetables Left Out Overnight, Dented Aluminum Cans, and Leftover Pizza. All past programs are available. If you have a specific question, you can also send it to the specialists.

If you really like this podcast, are interested in food safety, and would like to hear more, these two professors also have a longer (usually about two hours) podcast called Food Safety Talk. I look forward to hearing a new posting about every other week. You can check it out at Food Safety Talk.

Cheryle Syracuse wrote this article and more similar ones for the Family and Consumer Sciences Column in the Brunswick Beacon. Syracuse is an FCS team member and can be reached at N.C. Cooperative Extension, Brunswick County Center, 910-253-2610 or by email at cheryle_syracuse@ncsu.edu