pH Balanced Water, Gluten Free Strawberries and Other Marketing Scams

Deceptive advertising is as old as advertising. That said, modern consumers expect advertising on food to be accurate and honest, thanks to more than a hundred years of food safety and quality regulation. Unfortunately, accurate doesn't always mean honest. Take, for instance, an advertisement for "gluten free strawberries". Is it accurate? Yes, because strawberries don't … Continue reading pH Balanced Water, Gluten Free Strawberries and Other Marketing Scams

Experiments in SciComm

Yesterday, I got approved to teach a science communication ("scicomm") course next fall. There's a bit of irony to this--my SciComm experience is limited to this blog and Twitter, but they say there's no better way to become an expert on a subject than to teach it. I look forward to teaching this class, and … Continue reading Experiments in SciComm

Ugh, I’m Sick. It Was Definitely What I Had For Lunch, Right? Or, A Scientist Tries to Figure Out What Made Her Sick.

Unfortunately, this post is prompted by real life events as I am currently sick with a gastrointestinal (GI) malady, and I would really like to figure out what caused it. So, first things first. What have I eaten recently? To the best of my knowledge, I have eaten the following over the last few days: … Continue reading Ugh, I’m Sick. It Was Definitely What I Had For Lunch, Right? Or, A Scientist Tries to Figure Out What Made Her Sick.

How to End Thanksgiving Over a Toilet Bowl

To be fair, I've never, to my knowledge, gotten sick from Thanksgiving dinner. However, it is entirely possible to become literally ill from Thanksgiving dinner. People have even died. So if you're looking for a cheery way to end Thanksgiving, here's how: Wash your bird in the sink.* Use the same cutting boards for everything.** … Continue reading How to End Thanksgiving Over a Toilet Bowl

Superfoods, Essential Oils, Supplements…How Can I Figure Out What Might Actually Work?

I think there is a part of the human brain which is hardwired to believe "silver bullet" scams and miracle cures. Perhaps it's because we're lazy; perhaps it's because we all want to be in the special circle of people who have figured out the answers (my husband's theory); sometimes, it's because we're desperate and … Continue reading Superfoods, Essential Oils, Supplements…How Can I Figure Out What Might Actually Work?

Should I Consider a Career in Food Science?

When people talk about the careers which lead to strong employment opportunities, typically nursing, teaching, and engineering are mentioned. However, studying food science also offers excellent employment prospects. The Institute of Food Technologists notes that a typical starting salary for a Bachelors-level food scientist is $50,000 a year. The demand for food scientists is also … Continue reading Should I Consider a Career in Food Science?

My Backyard Chickens Don’t Have Salmonella… Right?

NOTE: I realize I haven't posted in a while. My dad had a couple of strokes (which he is now recovering from nicely, so I've been a bit preoccupied with that. But back to back yard chickens. I loved chickens as a kid. I was definitely the kid who was snuggling cute, fuzzy, manure-dusted chicks … Continue reading My Backyard Chickens Don’t Have Salmonella… Right?

Backpacking Adventures

Note: This is not a post about food poisoning, thankfully. Nor is this really a post about food--my apologies.  Last week, I spent 4.5 days backpacking in the San Juan Wilderness in CO with my husband (who I firmly believe had a mountain goat ancestor somewhere in his lineage). For all but the first half day, … Continue reading Backpacking Adventures

Stronger Together: Stress Tolerance and Bacterial Communities in Biofilms

Bacteria have many ways of tolerating stressful circumstances. Some have special genes coding for robust stress-tolerance systems which allow them to keep out toxic substances, pump out toxic substances, or fortify themselves against lethal conditions. Others take common stress-tolerance systems and make them work overtime. But more often than not, bacteria survive stressful situations through forming … Continue reading Stronger Together: Stress Tolerance and Bacterial Communities in Biofilms

Our Body is a Community (of bacteria)

We may very well be more microbe than human. Inside and on the surface of our bodies, we share space and nutrients with bacteria and viruses as well as other microbes. To be sure, our bodies are not overly hospitable to bacteria; our eyes have an enzyme called lysozyme which breaks open bacteria, killing them, while … Continue reading Our Body is a Community (of bacteria)