April 19, 2018

For a Safe New Year’s Buffet, Follow FDA Suggestions

Plan a safe New Year's buffet with suggestions from the FDA. Many people have open houses for this holiday and offer food buffet style. The first tip is to keep serving portions small. Instead of putting out all the food at once, divide the food among some small platters and dishes ahead of time. As the food is eaten, replace those serving dishes with clean ones with fresh food. Store cold back up dishes in the refrigerator, and keep hot dishes in a crockpot, or in the oven set at 200 to 250°F. Later arriving guests can safely enjoy the same food as early arrivers. Make sure that you take the temperature of the food as it sits out. Hot foods should be at least 140°F. Some warmers only hold food at 110°F to 120°F, so make sure that your warmer will keep foods at the correct … [Read more...]

FDA Responds to OIG Report Criticizing Recall Response

The FDA has responded to an Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report stating that the agency is slow to respond to critical food recalls. The final version of the report looked at recall practices from October 1, 2012 to May 4, 2015. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said, "Making sure the FDA has effective recall practices in place, and that we take immediate action to address unsafe foods, are high priorities of mine. Our recall authorities – and how we deploy them – are a cornerstone of our vital, consumer protection mission." The FDA response stated that the most efficient way to ensure unsafe foods are quickly recalled is to work directly with the companies and giving the public information about the recall. The FDA is going to issue guidance on recall communications in … [Read more...]

FDA’s Recall Process Did Not Always Ensure Nation’s Food Supply Safety

The FDA's recall process did not always ensure the safety's of this country's food supply, according to a report released today by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Reviews of the recall process oversight were conducted previously. According to the repot, "At the time of those OIG reviews, FDA did not have statutory authority to require food manufacturers to initiate recalls of most foods.." Enactment of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in 2011 gave the FDA new authority to order a mandatory recall to force firms to recall potentially harmful foods. The review of the OIG was conducted to determine whether or not the FDA is fulfilling its responsibility to safeguard America's food supply. The objectives of the report … [Read more...]

CDC Offers Food Safety Tips for the Holidays

The holidays are upon us. Many people are cooking more at home, and with that in mind, the CDC is offering food safety tips for the holidays to make sure you don't end up in the emergency room with food poisoning. First, wash your hands before you prepare food and after you touch raw meat, raw eggs, or unwashed vegetables. That last one is new - but good to know, since raw vegetables have been linked to many foodborne illness outbreaks over the years. Follow good food safety practices and cook food thoroughly. Always use a food thermometer to check the final internal temperature of meats, poultry, egg dishes, and seafood. And remember that roasts, chops, steaks, and fresh ham should stand for 3 minutes after they are removed from the oven or grill. The "danger zone" is … [Read more...]

Don’t Make Canned Breads and Cakes; They Can Harbor Botulism Toxin

Scientists at Penn State are reminding consumers that recipes for canned breads and cakes are not safe and should not be made at home. Recipes for these items are often appear around holiday time every year. These products are low acid foods with a pH above 4.6, are not shelf-stable, and can't be safely stored at room temperature. In other words, they can harbor botulism toxin. These products are made by baking batters in glass canning jars. The jars are removed from the oven and sealed and cooled so a vacuum is created. That's where the trouble starts; in a vacuum. Clostridium botulism spores grow in unrefrigerated high moisture foods that are low in acid and exposed to little or no oxygen. Clostridium botulinum bacteria are found everywhere. This bacteria grows under anaerobic … [Read more...]

Scientists Find New Way to Fight Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Through the Cell Wall

Antibiotic resistant bactéria are becoming a serious threat to human health. The CDC estimates that 2,000,000 Americans are sickened with antibiotic resistant bacterial infections every year, and 23,000 die. For instance, antibiotic resistant Salmonella causes at least 6,000 illnesses every year in this country. Those numbers will most likely increase over the next few years. But a new study published in PLOS Biology has found that bacterial cells have a weakness in the wall surrounding them that could be used to destroy them. Gram negative bacteria, such as E. coli, have a cell envelope that is made up of an outer and inner membrane. The two membranes are separated by an area that is called the periplasm. That double membrane in the cell wall makes the bacteria more resistant to … [Read more...]

Prevent Food Poisoning This Holiday Season

Center for Science in the Public Interest is helping consumers stay safe and avoid food poisoning this holiday season. Cooking food to safe internal temperatures, avoiding cross-contamination, and handling leftovers properly are all key. For instance, don't eat raw cookie dough. In 2016, an E. coli outbreak that sickened 63 people was linked to General Mills flour. Seventeen people were hospitalized because they were so sick. In that outbreak, three children were sickened when a restaurant gave them raw dough to play with. Never eat raw dough or batter, and be very careful when handling raw flour. In fact, check your pantry now to see if you may have some of the recalled products. Another problematic ingredient is raw cider. Unpasteurized cider is about as risky as raw milk. In … [Read more...]

FDA Proposes New Enforcement to Protect Consumers from Unproven Homeopathic Drugs

The FDA is proposing a new, risk-based enforcement approach to homeopathic drug products that may be harmful. FDA is going to update its existing policy to address situations where these treatments are marketed for serious diseases and conditions, but have not shown any clinical benefits. The policy will also cover situations where these products contain potentially harmful ingredients or don't meet current good manufacturing practices. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a statement, "In recent years, we’ve seen a large uptick in products labeled as homeopathic that are being marketed for a wide array of diseases and conditions, from the common cold to cancer. In many cases, people may be placing their trust and money in therapies that may bring little to no benefit in … [Read more...]

FDA Warns Companies That Make Coco Loko and Legal Lean as Unapproved New Drugs

The FDA is warning makers and manufacturers of two products, Legal Lean Syrup, a drink, and Coco Loko, a "snortable" chocolate powder, for selling unapproved new drugs and misbranded drugs. These products are promoted as alternatives to street drugs. The government has sent a warning letter to one company about this problem. Claims made in the promotional materials for the products demonstrate they are intended to be used as alternatives to street drugs. These products, as labeled and marketed, "may pose safety concerns," according to the press release. The FDA is concerned that these products encourage drug abuse in individuals, including minors. These street drug alternatives are used for recreational purposes to affect psychological states. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said … [Read more...]

It’s Important to Use a Food Thermometer so the Food You Serve is Safe to Eat

Michigan State University has issued a post telling consumers that using a food thermometer is easy and important for your family's health. Most people don't use a food thermometer when cooking. Although about 62% of American consumers have a food thermometer in their kitchens, fewer than 10% actually use it. Any food that contains meat, poultry, fish, or eggs should be tested with a food thermometer before it is eaten to make sure that food has reached a safe final internal temperature. Using a thermometer is the only way to know that your food is thoroughly cooked and that it has reached a temperature that will destroy pathogenic bacteria. If your family has a member who is in a high risk group for food poisoning, this cooking step is even more important. Those in high risk … [Read more...]

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