October 27, 2021

U.S. Court Strikes Down Kansas Ag-Gag Law As Unconstitutional

The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling striking down a Kansas Ag-Gag law for violating the First Amendment, according to the Center for Food Safety. The lawsuit was first filed in 2018 by a coalition of food safety advocates, along with animal and environmental groups. Ag gag laws are intended to stop undercover filming in large factory farms by advocates who are trying to expose animal mistreatment as well as food safety violations. Studies have shown that stressing animals can increase the risk of pathogenic bacterial growth, and may lead to more human illnesses. The court held that Kansas may not legislate speech to silence views "critical of animal agriculture." The three provisions of the law targeted speech, not just conduct, … [Read more...]

Raw Pet Food Is a Public Health Issue Because of E. coli Contamination

A study published in Microorganisms has found that feeding pets raw pet food comes with a risk of pathogenic bacteria, including Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), which can cause serious illness in humans and is a public health issue. The study evaluated commercially available raw meat-based diets (RMBDs) in Switzerland. These foods are made of uncooked raw muscle meats, organ meats, and the meaty bones of livestock or wild animals. They are mostly from the by-products of animals that are slaughtered for human consumption. The study looked at the occurrence of STEC isolated from commercially available raw pet food in Switzerland.  In  a recent study in the U.S., Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria were identified in 4% of commercially available RMBDs. Studies demonstrating … [Read more...]

Is It Safe to Partially Cook Meat and Poultry Ahead of Time?

Labor Day is the last big grilling holiday of the summer season. Most Americans love to grill, and cook out whether at home or in a park. Grilling food safety tips are important for every person to know. But there's one question that is not often answered: Is it safe to partially cook meat and poultry ahead of time? Most people love to be able to prepare many foods ahead of time when they are entertaining. Salads, desserts, and side dishes are all easy to prepare ahead. But what about meats? While you can cut meat into serving sizes and marinate meats for added flavor and tenderness, you should never partially cook meat or poultry ahead of time to finish later, according to the CDC. This is not widely known and this fact is not often included in FDA or USDA grilling tips. The … [Read more...]

September is Food Safety Education Month to Stay Healthy

September is Food Safety Education Month to keep you and your family healthy. This year the focus is on how to prevent food poisoning when cooking at home.   First, following the four step recipe for food safety is crucial: Clean (wash your hands often, clean counters with hot soapy water, don't wash chicken or meat); Separate (keep raw meat, chicken, turkey, seafood, and eggs away from produce); Cook (cook foods to safe final internal temperatures and use a food thermometer); and Chill (refrigerate leftovers promptly). Then, you should focus on preventing Salmonella infections. Salmonella causes more foodborne illnesses in the United States than any other bacteria. Chicken is a major source of these illnesses, although outbreaks linked to ground beef have also … [Read more...]

Learn How to Pack a Safe School Lunch For Your Kids

Learn how to pack a safe school lunch this year with tips from Oklahoma State University Extension. While many children get free school lunches, some do prefer to bring a lunch from home. And parents need to be very careful about packing a safe lunch, since children are far more susceptible to serious complications from food poisoning than adults. An improperly packed sack lunch can make kids sick, especially if the food isn't kept cold or hot, out of the danger zone of 40°F to 140°F. Pathogenic bacteria can double in food in 20 minutes while in that temperature range. First, make sure that you purchase a safe lunch box. A double sided insulated box, when packed with a frozen juice box or frozen gel packs, will keep food at a safe temperature for hours. A good thermos should be … [Read more...]

Consumer Advocates Call for Modernization of Poultry Food Safety

Consumer advocates, food poisoning survivors, scientists, and four major poultry producers are calling for the modernization of poultry food safety to reduce illnesses, according to Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). These groups want to meet with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to discuss a "modernized, science-based regulatory approach to ensure the food safety of poultry products." The four poultry products are Butterball, Perdue Farms, Tyson Foods, and Wayne Farms. The four consumer groups are CSPI, Consumer Federation of American, Consumer Reports, and Stop Foodborne Illness. Campylobacter and Salmonella infections make up 705 of the foodborne illnesses tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those pathogens are commonly found on … [Read more...]

Do You Know Food Safety Rules For Baking in the Kitchen?

Do you know food safety rules for baking in the kitchen? You may know to handle eggs carefully and to bake cookie doughs and cake batters before eating them, but do you know why? With a new E. coli outbreak linked to cake mix, these rules are more important than ever. Many people know that raw eggs can contain pathogenic bacteria, and think that's why food safety experts say not to eat raw cookie dough and cake batter. But eggs are not the only safety issue when baking. As improbable as it seems, flour is a raw agricultural product and not only can it be contaminated with pathogens, it has caused several multistate food poisoning outbreaks in the past few years. All-purpose, cake flour, and bread flour are made from wheat, which is grown in fields. And like all foods grown … [Read more...]

How to Recover Food After Flooding From Hurricane Ida

Hurricane Ida has made landfall in Louisiana and catastrophic flooding has affected thousands. After a flood, there are things you can do to recover food after flooding, according to the FDA. Please note that only food that is packaged in completely waterproof containers is salvageable. For water, boiling and disinfecting with bleach will cost most, but not all, disease-causing pathogens. First, filter water through clean cloths, or let it settle and draw off the lear water. Boil the water for one minute, let it cool, and store in clean containers. Or add 1/8 teaspoon (8 drops) of unscented liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Stir it and let stand for at least 30 minutes before you use it. Food containers that are waterproof including undamaged, commercially prepared … [Read more...]

EPA Is Ending the Use of the Pesticide Chlorpyrifos On Food

The EPA is ending the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on food, in a final rule that was released August 18, 2021. The decision is a reaction to a court ruling in April 2021 that directed the agency to ban the use of the organophosphate insecticide on food or set new residue levels that are safe for children. If the EPA can't ensure that a pesticide won't hurt children, they must ban it, according to the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act. The final rule revokes all "tolerances" for chlorpyrifos. The agency will also issue a Notice of Intent to Cancel under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act to cancel registered food uses of chlorpyrifos associated with the revoked tolerances. EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a statement, "Today EPA is taking an … [Read more...]

Stay Food Safe During Temporary Power Outages With USDA Tips

Did you know that weather-related power outages have increased by 67% since 2000? Aging infrastructure and climate change are stressing our power grid. Because of the increased energy demand, some power grids can experience blackouts. And of course, severe weather can cause extended power outages. Brownouts can also occur when electric providers ask consumers to voluntary conserve energy or a reduced flow of electricity will be scheduled. So learn how you can stay food safe during temporary power outages. To stay food safe, always keep and appliance thermometer in both your refrigerator and freezer to make sure that the temperature stays below 40°F in the fridge and below 0°F in the freezer. Food will stay at a safe temperate run the fridge up to four hours during a power outage. In … [Read more...]

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