January 27, 2023

Is the Honey You Buy Really Pure Honey?

The FDA has released data on economic adulteration in honey, from an assignment that was carried out in 2021 and 2022. The agency tested imported honey for what is called economically motivated adulteration, or EMA. Someone can leave out, take out, or substitute a valuable ingredient or part of a food, or can add a substance to a food to make it appear better. So is the honey you buy really pure honey? Products labeled as honey can contain less expensive sweeteners, such as corn syrup and cane syrup. The FDA tested 144 samples of imported honey from bulk and retail shipments that came from 32 countries, and found that 14 samples, or 10%, were not pure honey. Those shipments were refused entry into the United States and those companies were placed on an import alert. When … [Read more...]

Study Confirms that Raw Milk Is Linked to Foodborne Illness

A new study has confirmed that raw milk is linked to foodborne illness. During the time period of 2013 to 2018, 75 outbreaks that caused 675 illnesses were linked to unpasteurized milk. Of these illnesses, almost half were among children and teenagers aged o to 19 years. Given that the consumption of raw milk is low in this country, with only about 1 to 2% of the adult population buying it, these numbers are shocking. The study points out that almost 80% of those outbreaks occurred in states where the sale of raw milk is allowed. Raw milk and raw milk products are a public health challenge in the United States. And laws that encourage availability of unpasteurized milk are associated with more illnesses and outbreaks. Raw milk can be contaminated with many different pathogens, … [Read more...]

Consumer Reports Finds Lead and Cadmium in Dark Chocolate

Consumer Reports has found high levels of lead and cadmium in some dark chocolate candy brands. A study conducted by As You Sow found that many popular brands contain alarming levels of those heavy metals. Most people believe that dark chocolate is healthier than milk chocolate. And it may improve heart health. But this information may make some people rethink that assumption. Lead can cause significant health problems, including cancer, and it can reduce IQ and cause learning disabilities in children. Cadmium causes damage to reproductive organs, and can also damage the liver, kidneys, and bones. As You Sow has filed legal notices with more than 20 companies that make these dark chocolate candies, including Hershey's, Trader Joe's, Lindt, Whole Foods, Kroger, Godiva, See's … [Read more...]

Serve Safe Turkey and Stuffing This Holiday Season

During the holidays, one of the most often prepared recipes is turkey and stuffing. This tradition is delicious, but fraught with potential problems, especially for beginning cooks. Clemson University offers tips on how to prepare this type of recipe and how to serve safe turkey and stuffing. Most food safety experts recommend that you do not stuff your turkey. If the stuffing isn't completely cooked to 165°F it can contain live pathogenic bacteria, since the turkey acts as an insulator and it's difficult to heat the stuffing in the very center. This may disappoint people, since stuffing cooked inside the bird is moist and well flavored from the turkey itself. But you can replicate that taste and texture by simply drizzling turkey stock over the dressing in a casserole, and … [Read more...]

Get Holiday Food Safety Tips From the FDA

It's the holiday season, which means that people are cooking more and hosting parties and gatherings. But this may be the first time cooking for a large group for you. In that case, these holiday food safety tips from the FDA will help. If you don't understand food safety, the risk that someone will get sick from how you handle food increases. The possibility of cross-contamination, undercooked, and improper chilling and reheating exists every time you are in the kitchen. Learning these rules is especially important if you have anyone at your gathering who is at higher risk for serious complications from food poisoning, including the elderly, young children, pregnant women, and those with chronic illnesses and compromised immune systems. It's important to know the four basic food … [Read more...]

FDA Issues Guidance on Requirements For Food Allergen Labeling

The FDA has issued new guidance for food allergen labeling. This new document will answer questions about label requirements, and update information that was in earlier editions of this final document. The FDA is seeking comments on this new guidance. There are nine major food allergens, according to the government. If one of these ingredients is present in the food, it must be listed in the ingredient list on the label, and in a special allergen statement that is put on every package. Those nine allergens are milk, soy, wheat, eggs, finfish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, and sesame seeds. Sesame was added when the FASTER Act was passed in April 2021. Those allergens were chosen based on how common the reactions to them are, and their severity. The draft guidance includes new … [Read more...]

Appliance Choice For Cooking Frozen Stuffed Chicken is Problematic

Appliance choice for cooking frozen stuffed chicken products is problematic, according to a new report in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Frozen stuffed chicken products have been linked to Salmonella outbreaks in the past few years, including one in the summer of 2021, and given detailed cooking instructions on the package, these outbreaks are concerning. An internet panel was convened to find out how consumers are cooking these raw breaded stuffed chicken products, which are covered in browned breadcrumbs so they do appear to be fully cooked. More than one-half of these respondents said they used an appliance other than an oven to cook them. In fact, 29% said they used a microwave oven, even though labels warn against using that appliance. About 30% of … [Read more...]

Public Health Alert For Jet High Summer Sausage For Foreign Material

A public health alert has been issued for Jet High Summer Sausage and Fantasma's Summer Sausage because these products may be contaminated with foreign materials, more specifically pieces of plastic. A recall was not requested because these products are no longer available in stores for purchase. These plastic pieces pose a choking and mouth injury hazard. There have been no confirmed reports of any injuries or illnesses relating to the consumption of these products. The recalled fully cooked summer sausage products were produced on July 13, 2022. They include 1-pound chubs containing Jet High Prairie Meats Summer Sausage with the lot code 220715 printed on the label, and 1 pound chubs of Fantasma's finest Summer Sausage with the lot code 220715 on the label. You can see pictures … [Read more...]

Holiday Reminder: Raw Dough Can Contain Dangerous Pathogens

It's time for the annual holiday reminder: raw dough can contain dangerous pathogens. While most people know that eating raw eggs is risky, fewer know that uncooked flour is also a potential hazard. The FDA has been warning consumers about the potential dangers of raw eggs for decades. Eggs can carry Salmonella bacteria not only on the shell, but inside the egg itself. Hens can carry the pathogen in their ovaries, so the eggs are then contaminated from the inside out. Always handle raw eggs as if they are contaminated. Cook them thoroughly, and avoid recipes that use raw eggs. Eggs that are pasteurized are safe to eat raw, as long as you follow expiration dates. There have been outbreaks linked to raw, or uncooked flour, in the past few years. Flour is a raw agricultural product … [Read more...]

Thanksgiving Leftovers Must Be Discarded or Frozen Today

It's now four days after Thanksgiving, and that means that all leftovers from that holiday dinner must be discarded or frozen today, according to the USDA. Of course, this is assuming that you refrigerated that food promptly - within two hours of it coming out of the fridge or oven. Between the temperature range of 40°F to 140°F, bacteria numbers can double in foods every 20 minutes. And those pathogens can make toxins that aren't destroyed by heat. So even if you thoroughly reheat leftovers to 165°F, as you should every time, you may still get sick. That's why we stress prompt refrigeration of perishable foods, including meats, egg dishes, seafood, poultry, casseroles, and cooked vegetables. To freeze foods, store them in freezer bags or other containers in relatively small … [Read more...]

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