Ep. 086 – The Food Safety Fanatics Part 2 with Ben Chapman, Associate Professor at NC State University

As the title says, this is another Food Safety Fanatic that I just loved talking to! Still young in his career, Ben Chapman does so many things in his field such as being a professor, writing on a blog, and of course, co-hosting a podcast with our previous guest, Don Schaffner.

Ben’s focus on food safety is on the food service side as a lot of his work deal with how to have chefs and other people in the food service industry work with food safety, that not only includes teaching, but he also gives people the tools, whether gadget-like or not, to mitigate the complex world of food microorganisms.

Other than that you’ll get a lot of great food safety resources, a great discussion of how food safety is portrayed in the media, and where Ben takes his kids when they grocery shops.

Sponsor – FoodGrads

If you are even just a little bit interested in a career in food & beverage, you should join FoodGrads.  It’s an interactive platform where you can hear about different careers, hear from your peers, have a voice and share your story as well as ask specific questions and get feedback from industry experts across the sector.

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Sponsor – Steviva Ingredients

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Knowledge Bombs

  • How I got my butt kicked my freshman year in college
  • The hidden benefits of podcasting when you’re in conferences
  • How I read Ben’s article before I even knew about it

What do you do?: I spend time making people less sick. I give people tools for people to not get sick
What do you do if I know a little about the food industry?: Give resources to food production or consumer;s homes to help them find food borne illnesses.

4 reasons why people get sick:

Handwashing and poor personal hygiene
Cross contamination
Temperature – improper cooking
Storage temperature

These are generally poor decisions. We help track them

What’s the best thing you do for your job?: We have the opportunity to make a difference. If it stops people from getting sick, it’s worth it.
How did you get to where you are?: In high school, I was super interested in microbiology and diseases. Got a summer job in food safety. Masters degree on keeping salmonella off of tomato’s. PhD thesis:  How much handwashing it takes to get rid of bacteria. Applied to NC State. Been there for 9 years.
What do you teach students?: I mentor graduate students, give them the skills to ask food safety questions
What type of skillset or personality do you need to be good at your job?: Being inquisitive and critical. Critical of others work and your own work. In science, we have peer review and we have to be critical
How did food safety talks start?: I was a graduate school student and I met Don. I got Don to speak at a freshman class and I had to have him stay at my house. Don and Ben signed up for Storycore to talk about Food Safety, and Don kept on inviting Ben to be a panelist and then decided to make a podcast.
How do you make your podcast enticing to viewers?: We’ve noticed the least prepared you are, the better your episode might be
What makes a Good Podcast: Excellent Story-tellers, they can paint a picture of what’s going on, and harmony between guests. The best podcasts is where we’re sitting on a bar, drinking a beer
What kind of Podcasts do you listen to?:
Bill Simmons Podcast (BS report).
5×5 podcasts. Back to work – Dan Benjamin.
John Roderick – Roderick on the line.
Pod Save America.
I recommend: Stuff you should know
Barfblog: Most memorable article. Michael Jordan Flu game was linked to bad pizza. Barfblog used to be a forum for people to talk about food poisoning. When we launched, nobody did it, so we did it.
Since you have kids, where do you shop?: Everywhere. My kid loves to shop and we go pretty much everywhere. Ben knows a lot of people in the grocery industry and can text them to see what’s up.
What type of food trends and technology are really interesting you right now?: Chefs are becoming more aware and appreciative of people in Food Safety
Why are food safety outbreaks showing up more? Is it just me?: Media now has more space because it’s online now. Foodborne outbreaks makes great stories. More conversations about food safety are good.
Chipotle Outbreak analysis: Foodborne outbreaks are scars for life. Chipotle hasn’t done a good job sharing information
BBC’s article: 2 years ago. We actually get norovirus outbreaks every day
What’s one thing about the food industry you’d like to know more about?: the food industry does a really good job when saying food safety is a priority. However, I’d like to know more about the process for food safety and how people make decisions day in and day out. We don’t do a  good job saying things aren’t perfect.
Favorite book?: Vivian Howard, North Carolina Chef Deep Run Roots: My Favorite Recipes from the South. TV show: A chef’s life
Favorite Kitchen Items: Thermometer. Cobart PDP 300 Digital Instaread thermometer. Only $20 dollars
Any advice for anyone going into the food industry: Don’t do anything unless you’re passionate about i. There are a lot of jobs in the food industry, and it’s growing in food safety
Find Ben at: Barfblog, Food Safety Talk,
Twitter: @benjaminchapman,
Instagram: @barfblogben


International Association for Food Protection
Collard Greens
Bluebell Outbreak
Chipotle Outbreak
Peanut Butter Outbreak
Peanut butter Outbreak in Australia


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