February 17, 2020

Food Safety Bloopers, Snack Mix Edition

Oh, Rachael Ray. You may remember our disapproval at her The Book of Burger, in which she calls for cooking ground beef hamburgers to rare or medium-rare. The USDA states that it is not safe to eat any ground meat unless it's cooked to well-done. Her burger recipes in her magazine still say to cook them to medium-rare. In the November issue of her magazine, Everyday with Rachael Ray, she gives recipes for snack mixes. One of those recipes calls for mixing cooked bacon with nuts and other goodies, drizzling with honey, then baking. Fine so far. But then there are no instructions to keep the mix refrigerated, or to refrigerate it after it's been at room temperature. Because any cooked meat must be refrigerated after two hours or pathogenic bacteria may grow. The only cooked bacon that … [Read more...]

Food Safety Bloopers Volume 4

The current issue of Ladies Home Journal is the focus of this week's Food Safety Bloopers. One of their articles suggests that for gift giving, we donate to a charity in someone's name, then give that person a homemade gift. That is a wonderful idea. But there's a problem with one of the gifts described. The magazine gives directions for making rosemary-flavored oil, by putting rosemary sprigs in oil in a pretty bottle. This is an extremely dangerous practice, as herbs can carry Clostridium botulinum spores from the soil in which they are grown. Oil is the perfect anaerobic environment for the spores to grow and produce botulism poison. A tiny amount of that poison, which is odorless and tasteless, can paralyze and kill. The Colorado State University Extension states that for safety … [Read more...]

Food Safety Bloopers: Thanksgiving

Rachael Ray's magazine is again the focus of Food Safety Bloopers. Her food editor Terry Singh is in a video showing people how to prepare a turkey for Thanksgiving. Incorrectly. While Ms. Ray's magazine and her books continue to promote cooking burgers to rare and medium rare, against USDA advice, this is another blooper. First of all, while Ms. Singh correctly says that frozen turkeys must be thawed for days, she does not specify that the thawing must take place in the refrigerator. Since the turkey is sitting on the counter, some consumers may make that mistake and thaw the turkey at room temperature. Ms. Singh prepares the bird by rinsing it in the kitchen sink. Food Poisoning Bulletin has warned consumers about this mistake before, since pathogenic bacteria can spread up to … [Read more...]

Individuals and Companies Should be Prosecuted for Foodborne Outbreaks

As one of the few food safety lawyers in America, I’m often asked whether I believe that America’s food supply is the safest in the world. The short answer is: “I have no idea” – and if you’re one of the thousands of Americans sickened each year by foodborne illness, it’s no comfort knowing that some countries have food less safe than the product that shut down your kidneys or killed your loved one. The real questions about food safety have nothing to do with overweening national pride. In fact, there are only two questions that make any sense at all: “Can our food system be safer?” and “What steps have to be taken to make it so?” Since no one honestly doubts that our food safety system can and should be better, let me focus on answering the second question (based on what I’ve … [Read more...]

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