If TikTok and Snapchat sound more like the names of villainous James Bond movie henchmen than phone apps, let us introduce you to Cameo.

The internet service, which boomed during everyone’s pandemic-induced sheltering, lets us normies hire celebrities, athletes and more to create personalized videos to celebrate everything from a birthday or graduation, to holidays such as Mother’s Day. Or, you can just hire someone to give you a shoutout.

Prices on the site can start as low at $1 and get up to $2,500, and feature the likes of Ice Cube, Alton Brown, Joe Montana, Paula Abdul and thousands more.

While browsing the marketplace to see how much it would cost to have Chuck Norris announce the launch of this issue ($450), we spied a couple former Quality Assurance & Food Safety magazine cover stars on the site.

Bo Jackson

Who he is: NFL, MLB legend, VEJ Holdings and 34 Signature Foods owner

Cost: $400

Jackson was on the cover of QA in April 2016, when we followed him around Two Rivers beef plant in Sioux City, Neb., as he inspected meat that would wind up bearing his 34 Signature Foods brand. “It’s not always good to have someone else be in charge of your name and likeness, so I started my own company,” Jackson told us at the time.

On Cameo, don’t ask him to say, “Bo knows” (because he contractually can’t), but the birthday shoutouts he tees up are a home run for the recipients. “Continue doing what you’re doing,” Jackson said to one person on their 60th birthday. “Make today all about you, and if they don’t treat you like a king today, then you should contact me to let me know.”

Michael Symon

Who he is: Iron Chef, celebrity chef, restaurant owner, cookbook author

Cost: $95

Symon graced our cover in February 2017, where he broke down his approach to food and food safety at restaurants such as Mabel’s BBQ in Cleveland, Ohio. “First and foremost, we want ethical and natural,” he told us in 2017. If a supplier can’t provide that, it won’t get any further in the selection process.

On Cameo, the jovial Food Network and Cooking Channel chef proves his good-guy persona isn’t just for show. All of the proceeds Symon gets via Cameo go to his Michael D. Symon Foundation, which he founded with his wife in 2010 with the idea of supporting restaurants, the hospitality industry and, since the pandemic started, food banks and front-line workers. “Appreciate you being in the service industry for 15 years,” Symon said to a recipient for their 33rd birthday. “No business I love more. I know it’s tough, but we love it. And if you have a passion for it, there’s nothing more special.”

Data Drive

© YesPhotographers | Adobe Stock; Below Image:

OTTAWA and LONDON — According to two recent reports from Precedence Research and Meticulous Research, two sectors that support the food industry — processing equipment and food safety testing — are expected to see significant growth between now and 2027. Here is some key info from each report.

Food Processing Equipment

  • $98.4 billion: Projected market size by 2027
  • 7.2%: The compound annual growth rate predicted for the market by 2027
  • Asia-Pacific: The region is estimated to command the largest share of the market, followed by North America, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.
  • Chocolate and Confectionary Equipment: This sector is projected to have the highest CAGR.

Source: Meticulous Research, meticulousresearch.com

Food Safety Testing

  • $32.2 billion: Projected market size by 2027
  • 7.2%: The compound annual growth rate predicted for the market by 2027
  • Meat, poultry and seafood: These sectors will continue to dominate the testing market.
  • Europe and North America: Food testing will continue to grow in both areas as more regulatory focus is placed on manufacturers.

Source: Precedence Research, precedenceresearch.com

Screengrab from Twitter

“Ummmm @CTCSquares - why are there shrimp tails in my cereal? (This is not a bit)” – @JensenKarp

With that tweet, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and writer Jensen Karp became Twitter main characters in late March. After many memes, a maybe hasty reply from the General Mills cereal’s Twitter account and guesses about the quality assurance lapses that could have contributed to whatever’s in the photo, things continued to devolve. Nobody was a winner here.

Global Gathering Place

GENEVA — Mark your calendars for World Food Safety Day June 7.

The annual celebration, organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), aims to draw attention and inspire to help prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks, contributing to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism and sustainable development.

The theme for 2021, “Safe food today for a healthy tomorrow,” stresses that production and consumption of safe food has immediate and long-term benefits for people, the planet and the economy, said WHO.

The global organization has highlighted five calls to action:

  1. Ensure it’s safe: Government must ensure safe and nutritious food for all.
  2. Grow it safe: Agriculture and food producers need to adopt good practices.
  3. Keep it safe: Business operators must make sure food is safe.
  4. Know what’s safe: Consumers need to learn about safe and healthy food.
  5. Team up for food safety: Work together for safe food and good health.

Visit who.int for more info.

Test Case

© Fotoluminate LLC | Adobe Stock

URBANA, Ill. — A new University of Illinois study hopes to make testing produce a bit better.

UI Assistant Professor of Applied Food Safety Matt Stasiewicz received a $348,753 grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) for a grant project that aims to improve food safety testing for leafy greens.

“Safety testing is important for a ready-to-eat product that isn’t cooked before consumption. We want to ensure we find contamination if it occurs so we can remove it from the product stream,” Stasiewicz said in a statement. “The goal of this USDA grant is to introduce transformative change into how preharvest testing works.”

The project will use swabs from plants in the field to identify pathogens. He then plans on passing the swabs to a single microbiological test.

“The main foodborne pathogen leafy green growers are worried about is toxin-producing E. coli; those have been responsible for outbreaks the last couple of years. We know risk factors are animal intrusion, relatively recent rainfall events and untreated or otherwise contaminated irrigation water,” he explained.

This would differ from current testing, where samples are collected and sent to a lab for testing, which can miss smaller-scale contaminations. The method, which involves someone walking through a field with a sterile cloth on a stick, brushing leaves as they go by, should capture more reliable data.

“Rather than physical collection of relatively small samples, we can collect a much larger representation of the entire field,” Stasiewicz says.

For more info, visit aces.illinois.edu.