November 21, 2017

FDA Warns Against Harmful Effects of Kratom

The FDA is warning consumers about the risks of consuming kratom, which is an ingredient in dietary supplements that is sold as a treatment for depression, pain, and anxiety. First, those conditions are serious medical issues that should be diagnosed and managed by a licensed healthcare provider. And second, this substance can be addictive and has been linked to deaths.   Kratom is a plant that grows in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. Supporters say that it's natural because it's a natural product. But it has effects similar to opioids, such as codeine and morphine, and can lead to abuse, addiction, and death. Kratom is often taken recreationally by users for euphoric effects. There is an opioid epidemic in this country, and officials say that the … [Read more...]

Food Safety for People with Diabetes

People with diabetes fall into the high risk group for food poisoning. That means they are more likely to have a serious complication if they contract a foodborne illness. Diabetics must be extra careful about handling food safely and eating safe food, so the FDA has published a booklet on this topic. A diabetic's immune system may not work as well as others'. And their immune system may not easily recognize pathogenic bacteria, creating a deli in the body's response to possible infection. Diabetes can damage the cells that create stomach acid, as well as the nerves that help move food through the stomach and intestinal tract. That means the GI tract in a diabetic could hold onto food for a longer period of time, which gives pathogens time to grow. And a diabetic's kidneys may … [Read more...]

Researchers Discover How Ground Turkey is Contaminated with Salmonella

Researchers at the University of Georgia's Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center have discovered how ground turkey may become contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. They have found that Salmonella on the bird's skin may be a "significant contributor to ground turkey contamination." Turkey skin is often used as a source of fat when manufacturers make ground turkey since the muscles are so lean. The study was presented at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Association of Avian Pathologists. That meeting was held in the summer of 2017. Scientist have believed that cross-contamination with fecal material on the turkeys during processing was the main cause of Salmonella contamination in ground turkey. An earlier study published in the Journal of Food Protection in May 2016 found … [Read more...]

WHO Recommends Farmers Stop Using Antibiotics to Promote Growth, Prevent Disease

The World Health Organization issued a news release on November 7, 2017, recommending that farmers and the food industry stop using antibiotics routinely to promote growth and prevent disease in healthy animals to help control the development of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics that are important for human medicine are used in food animals. The effectiveness of antibiotics is reduced when used on farms. In some countries, "approximately 80% of total consumption of medically important antibiotics is in the animal sector, largely for growth promotion in healthy animals," according to the news release. WHO has been campaigning for these actions to help combat antibiotic resistance for years, and has warned that we are close to an age when antibiotics may become ineffective against … [Read more...]

Do You Want to Fry Your Thanksgiving Turkey? Read This First

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. There are many ways to prepare a Thanksgiving turkey for your feast, but some are safer than others. Many people may want to deep fry their Thanksgiving turkey. That cooking method makes a delicious turkey that has crisp skin and is juicy and flavorful. But the method can be dangerous. First, some general food safety rules for turkeys. Don't buy the bird too early. A fresh turkey should be cooked within 1 to 2 days. A frozen turkey will take about 3 days to thaw in the fridge (NEVER thaw on the counter) and then must be cooked within 2 days. You can thaw a frozen turkey by submerging the frozen, bagged bird in cold tap water, changing the water eery 30 minutes. A 12 pound turkey will take about 6 hours to thaw using this method. The turkey … [Read more...]

California DPH Says Lead Contamination in Imported Candy a Significant Problem

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has released a report about lead contamination in imported candy. A state law has mandated testing of those products. A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives and conducted at the University of California - San Fransisco (UCSF) found that CDPH "issued more alerts for lead in candy than for the other top three sources of food-borne contamination combined." The law that mandated testing was passed in 2006. Before that time, CDPH did not test widely for lead in candy. In the six years before the law was passed, only 22% of alerts about food contamination were about lead in candy. But after that law was passed, 42% of the food contaminated alerts issued by state officials were for lead in candy. And nearly all of that … [Read more...]

Los Angeles and Denver Airline Catering Services Temporarily Suspended for Listeria

Catering services in Denver and Los Angeles for two airlines have been temporarily shut down because Listeria monocytogenes bacteria was found in food preparation areas. The Gate Gourmet catering facility at Los Angeles airport was closed temporarily because Listeria bacteria was found in food preparation areas. They provide foods, beverages and other services to American Airlines. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants sent a letter to its members on November 1, 2017, stating that there are currently no known or reported cases of listeriosis attributed to those foods. The letter recommends that flight attendants monitor their health for the symptoms of listeriosis for the next 70 days. Those symptoms include fever, muscle aches, nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. … [Read more...]

Halloween Food Safety Tips

It's Halloween, and parents should know about food safety tips to protect their children. These are offered by Jacquelyn Arnold with the Shelby County Health Department in Alabama. Make sure that your kids have eaten a snack or light meal before they go out trick-or-treating. They shouldn't snack while they are out, because you need to inspect the treats they are given before they eat them. Tell your children not to accept - and especially, not to eat - anything that isn't commercially wrapped. The kids should wait until they get home and you have checked the candy before they take a bite. Always discard any homemade treats unless you are absolutely sure they are from someone you know and trust. Inspect the commercially wrapped treats for any signs of tampering. They may … [Read more...]

Remember Listeria Outbreaks as Caramel Apple Season is Here

Caramel apple season is here. If you choose to make your own or buy commercially prepared caramel apples, be aware of the dangers of food poisoning. A 2014 Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to caramel coated apples sickened 35 people. Listeriosis contributed to at least three of the seven deaths reported in that outbreak, according to the CDC. Eleven of the 35 people sickened were pregnant. One woman lost her baby. Twenty-eight of the 31 ill persons interviewed ate commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples before they got sick. This outbreak was surprising, since the pH of apples is too low, and caramel is too high in sugar and therefore low in free water to support Listeria monocytogenes bacterial growth. The law firm of Pritzker Hageman, which underwrites Food … [Read more...]

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...]

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