Black widow spider shipped with grapes, salmonella outbreak in Toronto, Michael Pollan’s 20 rules to eat by

Black widow spider shipped with grapes, salmonella outbreak in Toronto, Michael Pollan’s 20 rules to eat by

Spider fan: a Torontonian opted to spare the life of the black widow spider he found among his grapes (Photo by Care_SMC) 

• A Toronto resident was surprised to find a black widow spider among the U.S.-grown grapes in his fridge earlier this week. The venom in the arachnid’s bite is reportedly 15 times stronger than that of a rattlesnake’s, though the spiders are generally not aggressive. An entomologist from the ROM says it’s not uncommon for black widows to travel north on grapes: “It happens a lot more than people realize.” The man plans to find a suitable home for the stowaway. We plan to panic in the produce aisle. [Toronto Star]

• Michael Pollan asked New York Times readers to submit their rules for eating well. Of the more than 2,500 responses he received, he picked his favourite 20, and they are presented here. Our favourites include the ethicist-existentialist “Don’t eat anything you aren’t willing to kill yourself” and the bitchy “Eat foods in inverse proportion to how much its lobby spends to push it.” [New York Times]

• A popular Chinese restaurant in Toronto’s east end is being blamed for a salmonella outbreak that has left 37 people ill and is possibly linked to the death of an elderly man. As of Wednesday, the Ruby Chinese Restaurant was closed “for renovation,” according to a sign on the door, though it was in fact shut down by Toronto Public Health. [Toronto Sun]

• Vancouver’s city council has approved a motion to extend bars’ serving hours. The move is far from groundbreaking; venues will be able to extend their serving hours from midnight to 1 a.m. on weekdays, and from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. on weekends. We’re not sure which city is more conservative: Vancouver for waiting so long to initiate the move or Toronto for its apparent red wine phobia. [CBC]

• Concerns are being raised about the safety of placing alcohol-based hand sanitizers in schools. Some hand sanitizers are made with ethyl alcohol, which can have intoxicating effects. One American toddler was recently taken to the hospital with a dangerously high blood alcohol content after eating a small squirt of fruit-scented hand sanitizer. Another concern is that the sanitizers are flammable. At least one B.C. school has banned the product out of fear that children may use it to start fires. [CBC]