December 18, 2018

Thanksgiving Turkey Food Safety Tips From the CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is offering Thanksgiving turkey food safety tips, especially about your holiday turkey. This year, a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Reading has sickened at least 164 people in 35 states, hospitalized 63 of those patients, and killed one person in California. The statement says, "Food handling errors and inadequate cooing are the most common problems that lead to poultry-associated foodborne disease outbreaks in the United States." You need to know that most poultry products sold in this country are contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. For instance, Consumer Reports found that 97% of the chicken breasts they purchased were contaminated. So it's up to the consumer to protect himself. Here are the Thanksgiving food safety steps you … [Read more...]

Do You Have Meal Kits or Food Delivered? Here’s How to Keep It Safe

Do you have meal kits or food delivered to your home? This practice has exploded over the past few years. Many companies offer these services. Consumers can order food delivered from the grocery store, or order kits with preprepared food that are just assembled and heated. All this convenience is nice, but how do you make sure that those foods are safe? The CDC has some answers. All perishable foods, which include meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and chopped or sliced fruits or vegetables, must be stored at a safe temperature to control bacterial growth. That temperature is 40°F or below. It's up to the company to pack the food and include ice packs or insulation to make sure that the food is safe. Meal Kits Delivery Steps Before you order, ask questions. Find out how the … [Read more...]

Google FINDER Search May Pinpoint Restaurants Associated with Food Poisoning Outbreaks

Google and Harvard University have developed a new method for identifying restaurants that may be the source of food poisoning outbreaks much more quickly than traditional methods. The method is called FINDER (Foodborne IllNess DEtector in Real time), which uses web search and location data. Most food poisoning outbreaks are linked to restaurants and delis. Traditionally, foodborne illness outbreaks are investigated after people go to the doctor when they are sick. Officials then interview those patients to see if there is a common denominator in what they ate or where they ate before they got sick. Or officials are alerted to a potential outbreak through PulseNet, which is an aggregate of bacterial DNA taken from ill persons and categorized. What is FINDER? FINDER is actually … [Read more...]

FDA Seizes Food Held Under Insanitary Conditions at J and L Grocery Warehouse in AK

The FDA has seized food and medical products that were held under insanitary conditions at J and L Grocery warehouse in Alma, Arkansas. The U.S. Marshals Service conducted the seizure. The insanitary conditions included widespread rodent, insect, and live animal infestation. The seizure took place on November 7 and 8, 2018. The company receives and salvages products through the salvage market. The products seized included human and animal food products, over-the-country drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices. Some of the OTC drug products were outside their stated expiration dates. Comissioner of the FDA, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, said, "The widespread insanitary conditions found at J and L Grocery is alarming and won’t be tolerated. At this time, we’re unaware of adverse events … [Read more...]

FDA Report Released on Restaurant Foodborne Illness Factors

The FDA has released findings from the first phase of a 10 year study that is looking at restaurant foodborne illness factors  in fast food restaurants and full service restaurants. The report looked at risk factors from 2013 to 2014. The first 10-year study was conducted between 1998 and 2008. In the 2008 study, the FDA found that the restaurant foodborne illness factors that needed the most improvement were poor personal hygiene, improper food holding/time and temperature, and contaminated equipment and protection from contamination. More than half of all food poisoning outbreaks in the U.S. every year are associated with restaurant food. In 2014, when looking at outbreaks linked to a single location, restaurants accounted for 485 outbreaks, or 65% of the total, and 4780 … [Read more...]

What Is the Best Way to Wash Fruits and Vegetables?

Consumers are understandably nervous about the new romaine lettuce growing season in the Yuma, Arizona region after the large E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that was linked to that product earlier this year. In that outbreak, 210 people were sickened, and 96 people were hospitalized. Five people died. So how should you, and can you, wash fruits and vegetables to help get rid of pathogens? The FDA and CDC never did solve this outbreak, and never identified a single farm or product that caused the illnesses. They did, however, find that canal water that may have been used for irrigation or to dilute crop chemicals was contaminated with the outbreak strain. One of the issues with that outbreak was that most of the illnesses were caused by chopped romaine. Lettuce from many different farms … [Read more...]

Halloween Food Safety Tips and Advice From the FDA

Halloween is tomorrow! Do you have your costume picked out, are your kids ready, and do you have enough candy? That's not all you have to think about, unfortunately. Read on for Halloween food safety tips and advice from the FDA. First of all, make sure that treats are safe for your kids before they eat any. Tell your kids not to accept or eat any candy that isn't commercially wrapped. Look at each piece for signs of tampering, which m ay include pinholes, tears in the wrapper, or strange appearance of discoloration.  Your kids should not eat from their bags while they are trick-or-treating. If your child has a food allergy, look over all the treats before she eats anything. Don't let your child eat any home-baked goods or treats. And watch out for choking hazards. Very young … [Read more...]

Fall Food Safety Tips From Public Health Officials

Fall is here, but even though the temperatures are cooler, food safety is still an issue. If you are participating in specific fall activities, follow the government's fall food safety tips to keep your family safe. People like to go apple picking, tailgate at football games, and go hiking and camping in the fall. The first step in preparing foods for these activities and in general is to make sure your hands are clean. Poor hand hygiene can cross-contaminate surfaces in your kitchen, such as refrigerator handles and countertops, with pathogenic bacteria. Wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and water and dry with a clean towel. Raw meat and poultry are the most problematic foods. Make sure to use separate plates, utensils, and cutting boards when you work with these foods. … [Read more...]

It’s Global Handwashing Day! Learn How to Prevent Illness

October 15 is Global Handwashing Day. Correctly washing your hands is one of the best ways to stop the spread of pathogens such as E. coli, Salmonella, norovirus, Listeria monocytogenes, hepatitis A, and Campylobacter. This day is intended to increase awareness of the benefits of proper handwashing. The CDC has information on this event. It's critically important to wash your hands at certain points during your day. Always wash them with soap and water after using the bathroom, after taking care of someone who is ill, after changing diapers, and before preparing and serving food. Also wash your hands after blowing your nose, after handling pet foods, and after touching garbage. Bacteria are also found on pets, toys, surfaces such as doorknobs and countertops, and in the sink … [Read more...]

Affected By Hurricane Michael? Get USDA’s Food Safety Tips

Hurricane Michael has come and gone in the U.S. Southeast. But its effects are going to last for a long time. The storm surge caused severe flooding, and many people are still without power. If you were affected by this hurricane, the USDA has some tips for you. First of all, never eat food that has been in contact with flood water. That water is extremely dirty and can contain all types of pathogens, from deadly bacteria to parasites and viruses. Discard any raw fruits or vegetables, cartons, of milk, or eggs that may have touched flood water, however briefly. And don't assume that what you think are waterproof containers are safe. Food containers that are not waterproof include any made of plastic or cardboard. The type of closure makes a difference too. Screw-caps, snap lids, … [Read more...]

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