santa-naughty-list_406x250Tis Christmas Eve and sadly some children–little girls like Zelda, Gloria, Beth, Grey, Nina, and Lisa along with little boys like Steve, Jack, Monty and Terry—are on the Food Safety News Naughty list for 2015.  They will find nothing from us  in their stockings or under their trees on Christmas morning.  Some have been really bad and some have been just a little too mischievous. Here are their stories: Zelda and Gloria Parnell, who are respectively Stewart Parnell’s mother and wife, along with his sister Beth Farwell and daughter Grey Adams were this year again intimidating persons for most others in the courtroom for post trial and sentencing motions in the Peanut Corporation of America criminal case. Maybe it was those stern looks or their preference for hair buns that made others steer clear of them.  And while we let this go last year, their bullying  tactics were over the top. This year during a break at a pre-sentence hearing, Zelda Parnell accosted an FBI agent who on a break from the witness stand as the agent coming out of a bathroom stall.  The confrontation led to Zelda being  admonished by the judge for her threatening behavior. Another of the Parnell women was involved in a similar incident after the jury trial a year earlier.  Zelda, Gloria, Beth, and Grey definitely belong on the  Naughty list. And they are also at on the visitor’s list at the Bureau of Prisons. Every five years we spend and borrow for the federal government to tell us what the conventional wisdom is regarding what we should be eating. It did not happen on schedule in 2015 and that means somebody was naughty enough to slow it down. The obvious choice is investigative reporter Nina Teichotz, who in 2014 had the audacity to write The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat & Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet (Simon & Schuster), which “upended the conventional wisdom on dietary fat and challenged the very core of our nutrition policy.” Then Nina doubled down with a 2015 article in the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ), questioning the rigor of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The resulting brouhaha was largely her doing and it was the reason the new dietary dictates did not come out on schedule  in 2015. Her best-selling book will fit into many a Christmas stocking, but we’ve put her on the Naughty list for making this round of nutritional advice so sinfully entertaining for the rest of us. The use of the term “Salmon states” is coming up more as the genetically engineered AquAdvantage salmon nears market reality.  After more a decade of debate of laborious  review, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved genetically engineered Atlantic salmon as human food without any additional labeling. Some “Salmon state” politicians claimed to be “surprised” by FDA’s decision. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski gets on our Naughty list for sneaking an amendment into the Omnibus bill requiring FDA to provide “labeling guidance” before the GE salmon can be sold across state lines. If you are going to practice  the home state edition of crony capitalism, at least do it out in the open Senator. The unexpected Chipotle Mexican Grill meltdown from back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back outbreaks has stirred concerns within the food safety community like only a few other events during the last 20 years.   Our main question— Is this company being run by adults?  Seriously.  Into December, co-chief executives Steve Ells and Monty Moran, along with chief financial officer Jack Hartung, were still in denial, choosing to make  statements about erroneous reporting and sensational headlines. For those utterances alone, they belong on the Naughty list. The way corporate Chipotle has chosen to respond makes it difficult to assess as to whether they are now making good decisions.   Their  move to supply individual restaurants from central “factory kitchens”  does sounds promising—just don’t tell Willie Nelson about it. Six term Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad goes on the Naughty list because restaurants in his state are being inspected less and less.  In the next month, thousands of people are going to be moving across  Iowa for the Presidential caucuses.  Most are unaware of the restaurants they will dine at are not adequately inspected.   They might try one of the Iowa delights called “loose meats.”   Faulty temperature setting or cross contamination with fresh meat are among the dangers of a loose meat lunch in Iowa.  Pathogen dangers lurk in all 99 counties. Gov. Branstad clearly runs this state and the professionals who do restaurant inspections in Iowa tell us that he does not care.