December 5, 2016

How to Cook a Thanksgiving Turkey

The USDA is offering consumers tips on the best ways to cook a Thanksgiving turkey. Many home cooks have never cooked such a large bird, and beginning cooks may need help to cook a turkey so it is safe as well as tender and juicy. You can see a chart for approximate turkey roasting times at the Foodsafety.gov web site. It gives you times for roasting a turkey breast, a stuffed turkey, and an unstuffed turkey, as well as turkey parts. The easiest way to cook a turkey is just to put it in a roasting pan, set the oven to 325°F, and let it cook. A 16 pound unstuffed turkey should take about 4 hours to get to 165°F using this method. To stuff a turkey, never ever stuff it ahead of time. Put the stuffing in the two cavities of the bird just before it goes into the oven. The cooking … [Read more...]

Forgot to Thaw the Turkey? Here are Three Solutions

The USDA has some tips about how to thaw your turkey quickly for Thanksgiving dinner. It should be thawed in the refrigerator; but this can take days. In fact, a 16 pound turkey takes four days to thaw. If your turkey is still frozen, it's too late to use this method. The two methods for thawing a turkey quickly are the cold water method an the microwave method. If you use these methods, you have to cook the turkey immediately after it thaws. For the cold water method, leave the turkey in its original wrapping and submerge it in a sink or container full of cold water. Change the water eery 30 minutes by emptying out the sink or container and replacing it with fresh cold water. This takes some commitment: to thaw a 16 pound turkey will take 8 hours to thaw, allowing 30 minutes of … [Read more...]

Debunking Thanksgiving Myths

The USDA is trying to debunk Thanksgiving myths to help consumers keep their families safe over the holiday season. Many people believe these methods for preparing and storing food and they can make someone sick. The first myth is that it's okay to leave food outside when the weather is freezing. This may seem safe, especially if the temperature is below freezing and snow is on the ground, but it is not, for two reasons. The first reason is animal contamination. Animals can get into food stored outside, and can easily contaminate it. Wild animals often carry pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli. And family pets can also harbor bacteria, even if they do not seem sick. The second reason it is unsafe to store food outside is temperature variation. A plastic food storage container … [Read more...]

Food Safety Survey Shows Some Consumer Knowledge Increasing

According to the 2016 Food Safety Survey Report, conducted in collaboration with the FDA and USDA, consumer knowledge has increased about food safety consumer practices. The government has been conducting this survey since 1988. Key findings in the survey has found that the percentage of Americans who own a food thermometer has remained constant but usage has slightly increased. In 2016, 67% of respondents reporting owning a food thermometer. In 2016, 38% report that they always use a meat thermometer for roasts, compared to 19% for chicken parts, and 10% for hamburgers. But using a food thermometer is most crucial for ground beef, and very crucial for chicken, while it's less critical for larger cuts of beef that are cooked on the exterior. Hand washing rates have remained … [Read more...]

Study Finds TV Cooking Shows Overlook Safe Food Practices

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior has found that many television cooking shows overlook safe food handling practices. These shows are an important resource for home cooks, but the poor food safety practices demonstrated on these programs may lead to poor practices and foodborne illness among consumers who watch them. Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst assessed food safety on television shows to discover whether they present positive or negative models. There are 48,000,000 cases of foodborne illness every year in the United States. Of those cases, 128,000 people are hospitalized, and 3,000 people die. Illnesses can occur from recalled contaminated food and from improper food safety practices in retail kitchens, but many … [Read more...]

Voting Next Week? See How Your Legislators View Food Safety

Food Policy Action released its National Food Scorecard for the 114th Congress earlier this month. Overall scores increased by six points since the last Congress, but there is little progress on major food policy in the last two years. Chef Tom Colicchio, Food Policy Action co-founder and advocate said in a statement, "this year's Scorecard shows that Congress owes the American public much better leadership on these issues. Food is connected to every critical issue facing our nation - everything from our health, economy, and immigration, to labor and the environment. And yet, there has been very little attention to bringing transparency and accountability to that discussion." The Senate was graded on 10 votes and 12 bills, and the House was graded on 16 votes and 15 bills. … [Read more...]

MARS Commits to Phasing Out Nanoparticles in Candy

Just in time for Halloween, Center for Food Safety has issued a press release saying that MARS Corporation, a candy company, is reiterating its commitment to removing titanium dioxide from its food products. The company released a statement in February stating that it would remove artificial colors from its products in five years, but that statement wasn't clear on the issue of titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide is a chemical used to engineer nanomaterials. It occurs naturally in the environment, but when it is engineered to an "ultrafine" or "nanoparticle" size it may cause health problems. Jaydee Hanson, Senior Policy Analyst at Center for Food Safety said in a statement, "studies have shown that the human health risks associated with ingesting nanoparticles of many common food … [Read more...]

Tips for a Safe Halloween From the FDA

The FDA is offering tips for a safe Halloween for you and your family. They have tips for safe costumes: look for fire-retardant materials, and wear bright, reflective costumes for safety after dark. Have your kids carry glow sticks or wearing those glowing necklaces. It's important to stay visible on your rounds, especially as it gets dark or if it's raining. For safe treats, which after all is the main point of this holiday, always tell your kids not to eat any treats until they get home and you have inspected it. Sadly, there are true stories of people inserting sharp objects into Halloween candy, although those cases are very rare. And although most parents are concerned about candy that has been altered with dangerous substances, those stories are mostly anecdotal or urban … [Read more...]

Hurricane Matthew Heading Towards You? Keep Your Food Safe

The USDA is offering food safety recommendations for people who are in the path of Hurricane Matthew. This storm will hit the eastern coast of Florida the evening of October 6, 2016 and will move up the east coast over the weekend. Forecasters expect heavy rain and significant flooding. Power outages and flooding can compromise the safety of food that is stored in your home. Take steps now to keep your food safe. Keep appliance thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer in case the power goes out. Safe temperatures are 40°F or lower in the fridge, and 0°F or lower in the freezer. Freeze water in one quart plastic storage bags or containers before the storm. These can be put into your fridge and freezer to help keep food cold. Know where you can get dry ice or block ice, and have … [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...]

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