December 18, 2017

E. coli Bacteria Infections: Bacteria Produce Toxin Protein to Defend Themselves

E. coli bacteria produce a toxin protein to defend themselves and kill off other bacteria, according to new research published in the journal Nucleic Acids Research. There have been many E. coli bacteria outbreaks in the United States in the past several years, including the deadly outbreak linked to I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter earlier this year and the current outbreak at Damsy Restaurant in Rochester, Minnesota. And last year, researchers discovered a strain of E. coli bacteria that had the mcr-1 gene for colistin resistance. This is bad news because that change gives the pathogenic bacteria "near pan-resistance to last-resort antibiotics," according to the study summary. Scientists study this bacteria to see how it manages to survive even in inhospitable conditions. These … [Read more...]

Thanksgiving Leftovers: How to Handle Them so You Don’t Get Sick

The USDA is offering tips on how to handle Thanksgiving leftovers so you and your family don't get sick. It is now four days after Thanksgiving, which means that today is the day all of the leftover food from that holiday should be either eaten or frozen for food safety reasons.   First, remember to keep food out of the danger zone of 40°F to 140°F. That's the temperature range where bacteria grow most rapidly. All of your Thanksgiving food should have been refrigerated within two hours of finishing cooking or being taken out of the fridge. All of the food should be cooled quickly. Never put the whole turkey back into the fridge, since it can take a long to cool to a safe temperature. Cut the turkey into pieces, slice the breast, and place the meat into shallow … [Read more...]

Holiday Meals Bring the Risk of Clostridium Perfringens Infections

Many holiday meals, especially those served to large groups, can be risky because of a bacteria called Clostridium perfringens. This bacteria causes almost 1 million cases of food poisoning every year in the United States. And these illnesses are preventable. Foodsafety.gov has information on how to prevent these outbreaks. The problem occurs when large quantities of food are cooled and reheated, or held for long periods of time on warming trays or containers. Parts of these foods may drop into the danger zone of 40°F to 140°F for some period of time, and that's when pathogenic bacteria can grow. Clostridium perfringens bacteria are commonly found in meat and poultry. When big pots of stew or gravy are not kept properly hot or cold, the bacteria multiply. These types of … [Read more...]

How to Cook Thanksgiving Turkey the Safe Way

Foodsafety.gov is offering tips on how to cook Thanksgiving turkey. This bird is the centerpiece of most holiday dinners in America today. Cooking it thoroughly to a safe final internal temperature is crucial to keep you and your family safe. Turkeys, like chickens, can have Salmonella and Campylobacter bacteria on their skin. They must be carefully handled and completely cooked to prevent foodborne illness. First, never rinse the turkey. That step aerosolizes bacteria on the bird and spreads it around your kitchen. Just pat the turkey dry. The easiest way is to put a completely thawed unstuffed turkey into a roasting pan, set the oven to 325°F, and let it cook. Test it with a food thermometer after 3 hours, which is how long an 8 to 12 pound bird should cook. The larger the … [Read more...]

Thanksgiving Meal Food Safety Tips From the Experts

The Thanksgiving meal is the largest one most people prepare and serve every year. To make sure that your Thanksgiving dinner is wholesome and safe, Foodsafety.gov is offering tips. The turkey is the centerpiece of the meal, and it should be handled and cooked properly to make sure it is safe to eat. First, read labels carefully when you buy the bird. The label will tell you whether the bird is fresh or frozen. If you want to serve a fresh turkey at your Thanksgiving meal, buy it no more than two days before the meal. You should have two thermometers in your kitchen; one in the fridge to make sure that the turkey is stored at 40°F or below, and another to make sure the cooked turkey reaches 165°F, the safe final internal temperatures. Remember that the color of the meat is not a … [Read more...]

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...]

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