February 26, 2020

Do You Know How to Keep Food Safe In a Flood? Learn Tips and Tricks

There is severe flooding in Mississippi along the Mississippi River that has inundated the southern part of the states. And flood warnings and advisories have been issued from that state all the way up to Illinois. While the flood waters recede, officials are telling people about food safety. Do you know how to keep food safe in a flood? Any extreme weather can cause serious damage to a home. The power may go out; a home can be flooded with very dirty, contaminated water; and structural damage can occur. The key to keeping food safe during these events is to plan ahead. Before severe weather strikes, have a plan. Make sure you have  thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer. The fridge should be below 40°F and the freezer below 0°F. The thermometers will help let you know if … [Read more...]

Study Looks at Hepatitis E Contamination in Pigs

A new study published in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infectious Diseases looks at the prevalence of hepatitis E contamination in pigs used for food in the United States. The hepatitis E virus RNA was found in 6.3% of serum samples from market-weight pigs at 25 slaughterhouses in 10 states. The blood of these pigs may contaminate the pork supply chains in this country, according to the study. Hepatitis E does not get a lot of attention in the U.S., certainly not in comparison to hepatitis A. It is a self-limiting disease that doesn't cause chronic infection. It is usually associated with contaminated water supply in countries that have poor sanitation practices. There is no vaccine against this virus. Symptoms of hepatitis E are similar to hepatitis A … [Read more...]

Researchers at Flinders University Use Sous Vide To Remove Salmonella From Eggshells

Researchers at Flinders University in Australia have found a way to use sous vide to remove Salmonella from the surface of eggshells. The study was published in Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. Sous vide is a cooking method where food is vacuum sealed inside plastic bags and immersed in a water bath for longer periods of time than other methods. The water temperature is set to the desired final internal temperature of the food. Eggs can be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria, and in fact, several outbreaks in recent years have been linked to shell eggs. Because of this potential contamination, food safety experts advise consumers to cook eggs thoroughly to 160°F, avoid recipes that use uncooked and undercooked eggs, and to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after … [Read more...]

Purdue and Kansas State Develop Rapid Tests For E. coli Detection

Researchers at Purdue and Kansas State University have developed new rapid tests for E. coli detection to improve food safety. This will hopefully reduce the number of illnesses caused by this pathogen and save lives. The Kansas State project detects Shiga toxin-producing E. coli in ground beef. The traditional standard test for STEC can take as long as a week to get results, which means that people can get sick before a recall can be announced. This new method takes just one day to obtain confirmatory results. The method uses a "partition-based multichannel digital polymerase chain reaction system." Jamie Henningson, director fo the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, said in a statement, "We believe the new digital polymerase chain reaction detection method developed … [Read more...]

FDA Alerts Consumers to Dangers of Cesium Salts in Supplements

The FDA Is issuing a public health alert about dietary supplements that contain cesium salts, primarily cesium chloride. This ingredient has significant safety risks, including heart toxicity and potential death. The FDA is also alerting health care professionals about the risks of cesium salts, which are sometimes promoted as alternative treatments for cancer. Cesium salts have never been proven to be safe and effective to treat cancer or for any other use. While only a few dietary supplements on the market contain this ingredient, consumers should not purchase those products. According to the alert, there have been"multiple clinical case reports and non-clinical studies show significant safety concerns related to the use of such products, including potentially fatal cardiac … [Read more...]

Do You Know the Safe Minimum Temperatures For Meats and Poultry?

Food Poisoning Bulletin has been telling consumers for years about safe food handling to help prevent serious foodborne illness. Unfortunately, many raw meats and produce for sale in this country are contaminated with enough bacteria to make someone sick, so the consumers is the last defense against illness. How you handle and cook these foods is critical to your family's health. But do you know the safe minimum temperatures for these foods? First of all, every household should have a reliable and accurate food thermometer. And the cook or cooks in the family should know how to use one. The thermometer should be inserted into the thickest part of the food for the most accurate reading. That means it should be inserted thorough the side of a hamburger, and into the thickest part, … [Read more...]

FDA Approves Palforzia For Treatment of Children’s Peanut Allergies

The FDA has approved the use of a new drug called Palforzia to mitigate peanut allergic reactions in children.  This is the first time a drug has been approved to treat this deadly type of food allergy, which can put a person into anaphylactic shock. The product is called Palforzia [Peanut (Arachis hypogaea) Allergen Powder-dnfp]. The treatment can be started in children ages 4 through 17 who have a confirmed diagnosis of. peanut allergy. Those who take Palforzia must still avoid peanut in their diets. Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research said in a statement, "Peanut allergy affects approximately 1 million children in the U.S. and only 1 out of 5 of these children will outgrow their allergy. Because there is no cure, allergic … [Read more...]

Do You Make Spaghetti Carbonara? You Need to Read This

If you make Spaghetti Carbonara, as I do, which is that traditional dish where raw eggs are beaten, then stirred into hot cooked spaghetti (to "cook" the eggs), you need to read this study published in LWT, a journal of Food Science and Technology. This method of cooking does not kill all bacteria that may be present in the eggs. The only thermal processing, or kill step, is heat transfer from the hot pasta, which isn't sufficient to destroy all of the pathogens. Scientists inoculated egg yolks with a pool of Salmonella reaching 8.8 log10 CFU/g. The contaminated egg yolks were added to the cooked spaghetti, after the pot was taken off the heat. Right after the pasta was cooked and drained, it was 86°C (186°F), which is quite hot and well above the 165°F the eggs need to reach to … [Read more...]

Super Bowl Food Safety Tips From the USDA

The USDA is offering Super Bowl food safety tips. There are things to think about if you are hosting a party for the big game. Start with party prep, and learn about serving food and what to do when the party is over. First, wash your hands well with soap and water immediately before and after handling food. A recent USDA Food Safety Consumer Research Project study showed that 99% of handwashing attempts were not done correctly. So, wet your hands with water, lather with soap, and scrub for 20 seconds. Remember to clean under your fingernails too. Rinse and dry with a paper towel or clean towel. Always use a food thermometer when cooking meat, fish, poultry, and egg. Make sure that foods reach a safe final internal temperature when you're cooking (use this chart), and always … [Read more...]

Safer Food Choices For People At Risk For Food Poisoning Complications

People who are at risk for serious compilations from food poisoning need to be careful about the food they buy and how it is prepared, as well as staying vigilant about food recalls and food outbreak notices. But there are other ways to protect yourself if you fall into a high risk category for food poisoning. There are safer food choices to make at the grocery store. For instance, at the deli, avoid purchasing cold smoked fish or products that contain cold smoked fish. In addition, do not choose sashimi, sushi, or ceviche, since those products use raw or undercooked fish or shellfish. Instead, choose canned fish or seafood, and seafood that has been cooked to a minimum final internal temperature of 145°F. Do not buy unpasteurized (raw) milk, unpasteurized fruit juices, or raw … [Read more...]

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