October 20, 2017

If You’re Serving Kibbeh, Please Cook It First

Kibbeh is a dish from the Middle East and Africa that is traditionally served at some family celebrations. The variety known as Kibbeh nayyeh is prepared and served raw. And thus poses a risk of food poisoning. The dish is made from red meat, onion, cracked wheat, and spices. Many people who prepare this dish do try to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination, such as cleaning the grinding blades and keeping the meat cold, there is no way to ensure that the product is free from pathogenic bacteria other than to cook it. Any cut of beef or lamb could have pathogenic bacteria, such as E. coli O157:H7, on its surface. When this meat is ground, no matter where it is ground, whether the butcher or your home, the bacteria on the surface will be mixed all through the meat. No uncooked … [Read more...]

Chicken and Food Poisoning

Information about chicken and food poisoning has been posted on the Foodsafety.gov website. This meat has been linked to several food poisoning outbreaks in the past few years. About a million Americans every year get sick from eating contaminated poultry. And Americans eat more chicken every year than every other meat. Raw chicken is often contaminated with Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Clostridium perfringens bacteria. Undercooked chicken, or foods that are contaminated by raw chicken juices, can cause serious illness. You need to pay special attention when you have raw chicken in your home. When you're shopping, put the chicken into a disposable bag before you put it into your shopping card. I get a bag, then put my hand into it, pick up the chicken, and turn the bag inside … [Read more...]

USDA Integrates Recall Info Into FoodKeeper App

The USDA has announced new updates to its popular FoodKeeper app that will provide users with information on recalls. Users can now choose to receive automated notifications when recalls are announced by the USDA and FDA. If you subscribe to this app, you can choose to receive information immediately, as soon as they are announced, or receive daily or weekly updates. The update also includes additional instructional videos and handing and storage of food. Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Carmen Rottenberg said in a statement, "This is a great way for the public to stay informed when food is recalled. The FoodKeeper app is a very handy and easy to use tool; and it reflects USDA's commitment to provide the public with information and knowledge to help them make … [Read more...]

New Advice for Parents of Children at Risk for Peanut Allergies

A new qualified health claim from the government advises that some parents of babies who are at risk for developing a peanut allergy could introduce them to peanut butter at a young age. This seemingly contradictory advice comes after a clinical trail at the National Institutes of Health found this practice reduces the number of people who develop this serious allergy. Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies, and is one of the most dangerous. Reactions to peanuts is the leading cause of death related to food-induced anaphylaxis in this country. Most people who are allergic to peanuts develop the allergy early in life and never outgrow it. The prevalence of peanut allergies has more than doubled in children from 1997 to 2008. About 2% of all people in this country are … [Read more...]

Food & Water Watch Opposes Poultry Slaughter Line Speeds

Food & Water Watch is opposing the National Chicken Council petition to increase poultry slaughter line speeds. The petition was filed on September 1, 2017 with the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Services. The line speed cap was set in the 2014 regulations creating the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS). Food & Water Watch opposed the final rule reacting that system, and went to court to challenge its legality. The system essentially "privatizes poultry inspection by turning most of the on-line slaughter inspection over to the companies to conduct themselves, leaving only one USDA inspector on each slaughter line." Other food safety watchdog groups have opposed NPIS as well. NPIS is based on HIMP, HACCP-based Inspection Models Project pilot study, which was widely … [Read more...]

Foods To Destroy After a Hurricane

The FDA is warning growers, distributors, and consumers that many types of food should be destroyed after a flood. After Hurricanes Harvey and Irma wreaked havoc on many areas of the southern U.S., keeping your family's food safe is critical. Some foods that have been exposed to flood waters should not be eaten. Flood waters can contain sewage, hazardous chemicals, heavy metals, parasites, and pathogenic bacteria and viruses. If the edible portion of a crop is exposed to flood waters, they must be destroyed. There is "no practical method of reconditioning the edible portion of a crop that will provide a reasonable assurance of human food safety," according to the notice. All fresh fruits and vegetables that have been in contact with flood water can't be adequately cleaned and … [Read more...]

CDC Offers Advice for Those in the Path of Hurricane Irma

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is offering advice for anyone who is in the path of Hurricane Irma. This is a very dangerous storm. Everyone should have a safety plan in case any natural or manmade disaster strikes anywhere. Food safety can be compromised in the case of natural disasters. Flood waters can contain pathogenic bacteria, chemicals, and even heavy metals. And the loss of power can render perishable foods unsafe. Before the hurricane, stock up on emergency supplies. Write down emergency phone numbers. And make sure that every member of your family understands the plan. If you are going to stay, make sure you have enough clean water. Every family member should have five gallons of clean water every day. You can fill clean containers with drinking … [Read more...]

Before Hurricane Irma: Food Safety Advice From the FDA and CDC

If you are in the path of Hurricane Irma, which is now a Category 5 storm, the FDA and the CDC have some advice about protecting yourself and keeping your food and water safe. If you aren't going to evacuate, make sure you follow these instructions. First, make sure that you have a plan. Make a hurricane plan for your household and follow it to the letter. Then, put thermometers in your freezer and refrigerator. If the power is off for hours or days, the thermometer will let you know whether or not the food in that appliance is safe. Keep lots of bottled water on hand. You don't need bottled water for washing or flushing the toilet; line your bathtub with plastic and fill it up to use when you need it. Keep containers of ice on hand to keep food cold, or to melt if the water … [Read more...]

Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli and Food Safety

The CDC has information about Shiga toxin-producing E. coli and food safety you should know. Earlier this year there was a multistate E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter products that sickened 32 people in 12 states. Nine people in that outbreak developed HUS, a type of kidney failure. Some people may still have some of those products in their home. All flavors and sizes of I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butters and Granolas, and other products were recalled. If you have those products in your home, throw them away immediately. Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria are found everywhere; in the environment, in foods, and the intestines of people and some animals. While most of these bacteria are harmless, several types can cause serious illness and even death. … [Read more...]

Food and Water Safety After a Flood From the CDC

If you have been affected by Hurricane Harvey, or if you are in the path of Hurricane Irma, the CDC has some information you should know about food safety after a disaster or flood. First of all, always throw away any food that may have come into contact with flood or storm water. Also discard perishable foods, and those with an unusual color, odor, or texture. When in doubt, throw it out. Don't use your fireplace for cooking until the chimney has been inspected for cracks. Sparks can escape into your attic through a spark and start a fire. Remember that perishable foods, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, and leftovers, must be discarded when the power has been off for four hours or more, even if they are refrigerated. Any food that still contains ice crystals … [Read more...]

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