July 23, 2014

FDA: Know the Risks of Raw Food Pet Diets

FDA says no to raw pet food

The FDA has released advice for consumers about the risks of feeding raw diets to their pets. Not only can your pets become ill, but you can too, either through contact with contaminated food or if your pet sheds pathogenic bacteria. Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes are two bacteria found in raw diets that are especially dangerous to pets and humans. Raw pet food is meat, bones, and organs that have not been cooked. FDA does not believe feeding raw pet foods to animals is "consistent with the goal of protecting the public from significant health risks." The agency recommends cooking raw meat and poultry to kill pathogenic bacteria before you give the food to your pets. One of the problems with a raw food diet is that people think it's natural for animals to eat raw meat. Feral … [Read more...]

EFSA Says Acrylamide may be a Bigger Cancer Risk than First Thought


The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says that acrylamide, a chemical formed when asparagine, an amino acid, is heated to temperatures above 120°F. High temperature baking and frying are particular culprits in acrylamide development. Acrylamide is often found in such foods as potato chips, crackers, and cookies. The same chemical reaction that produces the appetizing brown color in foods also produces acrylamide. Previous animal studies has found that acrylamide increases the risk of developing cancer in all age groups. The Authority's expert Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) has developed a draft scientific opinion on acrylamide in food. Dr. Diane Bedford, Chair of CONTAM said in a statement, "acrylamide consumed orally is absorbed from the gastrointestinal trace, … [Read more...]

Study Identifies Risky Home Food Safety Practices

A new study at UC-Davis has identified many risky practices of consumers in their homes. The study looked at the preparation of raw poultry. The two most common mistakes were cross contamination and insufficient cooking. Christine Bruhn, director of the Center for consumer research at the university, who authored the study said in a statement, "the most surprising aspect of these findings to me was the prevalence of undercooking. We are now in summer, the peak season for foodborne illness, and these results come at a time when more consumers can benefit from being aware of better food safety practices." Those good practices include always washing hands with soap and water before cooking and after handling raw meat, poultry and eggs, never rinsing poultry in the sink, and always using … [Read more...]

UN Makes a Top 10 List of Parasites That Cause Food Poisoning


Ever wondered which foodborne parasites cause the most illness? The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) have recently compiled a Top 10 list so public health efforts can be focussed on the bugs with the greatest impact. Like foodborne bacteria, foodbrone parasites affect the health of millions of people every year. Health effects include damage muscles and organs, epilepsy, anaphylactic shock and dysentery.  Some parasites can live on in our bodies for decades. Parasites can be found in meat, poultry and produce. Last year, a cyclospora outbreak linked to fresh. imported produce sickened 631 people in the U.S. But cyclospora didn't make the Top 10 list. These bugs did. Number 1, Taenia solium, or pork tapeworm, contracted by … [Read more...]

Food Safety Tips for Hurricane Arthur Victims


The USDA is offering food safety recommendations for those affected by Hurricane Arthur. If you lose power, food could spoil and pathogenic bacteria can grow. Keep appliance thermometers in the fridge and freezer. Safe temperatures are 40°F in the refrigerator and 0°F in the freezer. Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags or containers before a storm. Water expands when it freezes, so don't overfill. Freeze refrigerated items, such as leftovers, milk, and fresh meat and poultry to keep them at a safe temperature longer. Know where you can get block or dry ice. Fifty pounds of dry ice will keep an 18-cubic-food freezer cold for two days. Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerated food cold if the power is out for more than four hours. Group foods together in the freezer for an … [Read more...]

Food Poisoning Cases Underreported


We often tell you that there are 48,000,000 cases of food poisoning every year in the United States. But reported food poisoning cases, those that are diagnosed and that the government tracks, amount to only about 20,000 cases. Why are these numbers so different? Food poisoning cases are underreported. The outbreaks we write about consist of two or more unrelated people sick with similar symptoms, who have been diagnosed with medical tests. The bacteria that made them sick are tracked and "finger printed" with pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) tests, and the food that contained the pathogens is often identified through traceback and epidemiologic work. Many people who do get food poisoning think they have something else, from the "24 hour flu" to food allergies. And most people … [Read more...]

USDA Offers Food Safety Tips for Fourth of July Celebrations

Burger with E.coli

The USDA is offering food safety tips for Americans celebrating Independence Day. Salmonella infections can happen if you serve unsafe food that is not handled or prepared correctly. First, make sure you separate raw meat products from ready to eat raw foods in your shopping cart and on the way home. Put raw meat into bags and containers separate from produce, snack foods, and breads. Keep them separate in the fridge and as you prepare the food too. Always cook hamburgers to 160°F as measured by a food thermometer. Wash your hands before preparing food and often while working in the kitchen. And keep food cool; always refrigerate perishable foods within 2 hours at room temperature; one hour if the ambient air temperature is above 90°F. The only way of ensuring doneness of meats and … [Read more...]

Study Finds Non-O157 STEC Bacteria in U.S. Cattle

Ground Beef Thermometer

A study published in the Journal of Food Protection has found shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) bacteria in ground beef sold in the U.S. at the retail level. Cattle are reservoirs for E. coli O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, O145, and O157. Those bacteria can cause serious illness and death in humans. STEC bacteria were declared adulterants in ground beef by the USDA last year. This study estimates the prevalence of non-O157 STEC and E. coli O157 in naturally infected beef cows at post-weaning, finishing, and at slaughter. The study also tested STEC presence in finished ground beef. They found non-O157 STEC in 8 to 39% of cows and 2 to 38% of steer calves. These findings are evidence that beef cows and steer calves shed non-O17 STEC bacteria at post-weaning and before they go into the … [Read more...]

Antibiotic Resistance in Foodborne Bacteria a Public Health Threat, Says CDC

Not everyone uses calorie counts at fast food restaurants

Antibiotic resistance in foodborne bacteria continues to be a serious public health threat, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 430,000 Americans contract antibiotic-resistant infections from foodborne bacteria every year and resistance in some strains is growing. The CDC report is based on data from the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS), a collaborative effort by the CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Deaprtment of Agriculture(USDA), that has tracked antibiotic resistance in humans, retail meats and food animals since 1996. The CDC NARMS report compares resistance levels in human samples in 2012 to a baseline period of 2003-2007. While multi-drug resistant Salmonella has … [Read more...]

More Hepatitis A Vaccinations for Tortilla Marissa Customers

Hepatitis A

The Larimar County Department of Health and Environment is offering more free hepatitis A and immune globulin vaccinations for customers of Tortilla Marissa's North of the Border Cafe restaurant in Fort Collins, Colorado. An employee there was diagnosed with the illness last month. The restaurant is located at 2635 S. College Avenue in Fort Collins. If you ate there after June 17, 2014 you should get a shot. More than 800 customers have received the vaccinations since the announcement was made last week. The vaccines are only effective if given within two weeks of exposure. Hepatitis A is extremely contagious and the virus can be transmitted through food and drink and through direct contact, as well as contact with contaminated objects and surfaces. The clinics will be open next … [Read more...]

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