October 21, 2016

Raw Milk: A Risky Food

It never ceases to amaze me why people drink raw milk. Raw milk, as all should know, is unpasteurized. Pasteurization is the process by which milk, juices and other products are heated in order to kill off dangerous pathogens. Without pasteurization, bacteria that harm or even kill people remain in the milk. Pasteurization, a simple procedure that’s been used for about 150 years, is absolutely effective. Pasteurization does not affect the taste of milk. It does not reduce or degrade milk’s beneficial and nutritional qualities. Any claims that it does have been debunked by scientists and physicians. The only people who claim raw milk is good for you are people who ignore science. The only people who claim pasteurization makes milk less nutritious ignore science. This is … [Read more...]

Cut Food Waste But Maintain Food Safety

September is National Food Safety Education Month, and the government is trying to tell consumers that is is possible to reduce food waste while still eating safe food. Every year, there are about 48,000,000 cases of food poisoning in the United States. That leads to 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. But food waste is also a major concern. Every year, 80% of our freshwater, 10% of the available energy, and half of our land is used to get food to our tables. And organic waste, mostly food, is the second biggest component of landfills. Landfills are the third largest source of methane emissions, which contribute to climate change. Since 30 to 40% of food in the U.S. is thrown out, we are contributing to climate change and wasting a lot of money. Americans discard about … [Read more...]

The FDA Offers Tips on Tailgating Food Safety

Fall is football season, and that means a lot of eating. Tailgating is part of that sport; people set up grills and picnic tables in the parking lots of stadiums and chow down. The FDA is offering tips to make your tailgating event a food safety success. Plan ahead for food safety. Make sure you have these items on hand to keep the food you serve safe: paper towels, moist towelettes or hand sanitizer, two coolers (one for food and one for beverages), ice, frozen gel packs, two sets of cooking utensils (one for raw foods and one to take cooked food off the grill), paper plates, disposable silverware, a food thermometer to check the temperature of burgers and chicken, and clean containers to hold leftovers. Always wash your hands well with warm water and soap for at least 2o … [Read more...]

Study Analyzes GMO Crops and Pesticide Use in Maize and Soybeans

A new study published in Science Advances states that the increasing planting of GMO maize and soybean crops has resulted in the increase of herbicide use in the U.S. The study looked at plot-level choices made by U.S. corn and soybean farmers from 1998 to 2011. Pesticides is a broad term that includes herbicides, which kill plants, and insecticides, which kill insects. The herbicide of choice for decades has been glyphosate, one of the components of Roundup. The researchers found that, on average, adopters of GE glyphosate-tolerant (GT) soybeans used 28% more herbicide than nonadopters, while adopters of GE glyphosate-tolerant maize used 1.2% less herbicide. While herbicide use increased, adopters of GE insect-resistant maize used less insecticides. This pattern of change in … [Read more...]

5-Second Rule Depends on the Food Dropped and the Contact Surface

A Rutgers University study looked whether the "5-second rule" is a reality or a myth. For those few who are not familiar with this rule, it states that food that drops to the floor and is picked up in less than 5 seconds is safe to eat. The Rutgers study, published online in the American Society for Microbiology’s journal, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, looked at four different foods, surfaces and contact times. The four foods were watermelon, bread, bread with butter, and gummy candy. The four surfaces were stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood and carpet. The four contact times were less than one, 5, 30 and 300 seconds. The study found that "some transfer takes place 'instantaneously' at times <1 s, disproving the 'five-second rule'." For example, watermelon got … [Read more...]

$21.8 Million to Help Implement FDA Produce Safety Rule

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that $21.8 million in federal money will go to 42 states for use in implementing FDA’s new regulation, “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption" (commonly called the Produce Safety Rule). The FDA Produce Safety Rule was finalized in 2015 and became effective in January of 2016. "It establishes science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption" stated the FDA in its announcement. The FDA created the Produce Safety Rule as part of its implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. The purpose of FSMA is to prevent … [Read more...]

Oceana Finds Seafood Fraud Worldwide

Oceana has released a report about seafood fraud around the world. The report, called Deceptive Dishes: Seafood Swaps Found Worldwide, states that seafood fraud is a serious global problem that threatens consumer health. The review looked at data in 2014, and it shows some promising trends because of recent regulations in the European Union (EU) that are "increasing transparency and traceability as well as addressing illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing." The report states that if the United States adopts comprehensive, full-chain traceability, it will be more difficult for consumers to be misled. The report states that on average, one in five of more than 25,000 samples of seafood tested was mislabeled. Oceana reviewed more than 20 published studies from 55 … [Read more...]

Study Finds 24% of UK Chicken Has Antibiotic-Resistant E. coli Bacteria

A study conducted at Cambridge University found antibiotic-resistant E. coli bacteria on 24% of chicken samples taken from the seven largest supermarkets in the United Kingdom, according to the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota (CIDRAP). That is more than four times higher than results obtained in another study conducted in 2015. Resistance was "frequently found to three families of antibiotics that are particularly important for treating human E. coli urinary-tract and blood-poisoning infections," according to the study. The study was commissioned by the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics, an organization in England that is dedicated to reducing the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in our food supply. Scientists analyzed 189 … [Read more...]

FDA, USDA Offer Tips to Use Your Microwave Safely

The FDA and USDA are offering tips about using your microwave oven safely. That agency regulates microwave ovens. Consumers have experienced burns and other injuries from microwave radiation, especially if the ovens are not used or maintained properly. There is another issue with microwave safety: food safety. Microwave ovens can "cook" food unevenly, leading to areas, especially in solid meats such as chicken, where the temperature is not raised high enough to kill pathogenic bacteria. In fact, some outbreaks in the past may have occurred because microwaves were used to cook the food in question, such as the Farm Rich E. coli outbreak. Mandatory label changes in 2008 omitted the microwave cooking instructions on many raw foods The magnetron inside your microwave converts … [Read more...]

FDA Says No Antimicrobial Agents in Over the Counter Soaps

On every story we have written over the past five years about food poisoning outbreaks, we follow the FDA's advice: after handling potentially contaminated products, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. That's the best way to remove pathogenic bacteria and viruses from your hands and prevent the spread of illness. Now the FDA is telling soap manufacturers that they can no longer use certain antimicrobial ingredients when making over-the-counter soaps. There isn't enough science to show that these soaps are better at preventing illness than plain soap and water, and manufacturers have not established that the ingredients in those soaps are safe long term. Manufacturers have one year to comply with this rule. In 2013, the FDA issued a proposed rule requiring that … [Read more...]

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