November 26, 2020

Follow Thanksgiving Food Safety Steps from the CDC For a Safe Holiday

The CDC is offering Thanksgiving food safety steps for you to follow as you prepare this holiday dinner to stay safe. This Thanksgiving will be different, with fewer large gatherings and more people staying home to protect themselves against Covid-19. So avoid food poisoning, which is a major risk during the pandemic, with these tips. First, keep it clean. Always wash your hands with soap and water before you start to cook and eat. Make sure that food preparing surfaces and utensils are clean and sanitized before you start to cook. Think about sanitizing the sink and countertops before you bring out the food. You can use a commercial product or make your own by mixing 1 tablespoon liquid chlorine bleach with one gallon of warm water. For meal prep, make sure that you keep raw … [Read more...]

Unusual Holiday Cooking Tips During COVID-19 From the CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is offering some unusual holiday cooking tips during the COVID-19 pandemic. They state that, "Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that handling food or eating is associated with directly spreading COVID-19. It is possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object, including food, food packaging, or utensils that have the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. However, this is not thought to be the main way that the virus is spread." If you are hosting a small holiday gathering, think about these tips, and as always, follow basic food safety rules. You don't want to add food poisoning to the list of things we're already stressing over. First, encourage guests to … [Read more...]

Planning Holiday Gatherings During the Pandemic? The CDC Has Tips

If you are planning holiday gatherings during the pandemic, the CDC has some timely tips. Right now, the coronavirus is spreading uncontrolled through most of the United States. Scientists were afraid this would happen as people got tired of social distancing and started to spend more time indoors. First of all, celebrating virtually is the safest way to spend the holidays. Only socialize with people in your household - that is, anyone who currently lives and shares common spaces in your home. Anyone who doesn't currently live with ou, including college students who are coming home for the holidays, are considered from other households. Second, if you are having and in-person holiday event, there are some things to this about. If the community levels of COVID-19 in your location, … [Read more...]

How Common Are E. coli O157:H7 Leafy Greens Outbreaks?

There are currently two active E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks in the United States that were announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this month. Neither has had a specific food, brand, store, or restaurant associated with it, although the FDA has hinted that one may be linked to a restaurant and one may be linked to leafy greens. How common are foodborne E. coli O157:H7 leafy green outbreaks? The CDC has a fact sheet on leafy greens that will shed light on this question and also helps consumers protect themselves against foodborne illness linked to those products. From 2014 to 2018 there have been 51 foodborne illness outbreaks linked to leafy greens. Five of those outbreaks were publicized by the government. Two of those five outbreaks were inked to packaged … [Read more...]

Fun and Safe Halloween Activities During the Pandemic From the CDC

Halloween is this weekend. While the holiday is fun, there can be problems that we have written about in other years. This year, the CDC has some ideas on different types of fun and safe Halloween activities you may want to do with your family and friends, and ranks activities from lowest to highest risk. Unfortunately, many classic Halloween traditions and activities can be high risk for spreading viruses. If you have been exposed to the coronavirus or have been diagnosed with it, do not participate in any in-person activities or give can to trick-or-treaters. Lower risk activities: Instead, think about having a pumpkin carving contest with members of your household. You can have a pumpkin decorating activity outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends. Organize a … [Read more...]

Today Is Global Handwashing Day; Learn Tips From the CDC

Today is Global Handwashing Day. Did you know that washing your hands properly is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of bacteria and viruses? Keeping your hands clean can prevent 30% of diarrheal illnesses and 20% of respiratory infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This day highlights the importance of using soap and water properly to clean your hands. It's especially important to teach young children and teenagers how to wash their hands thoroughly. These age groups often don't know how to complete this task. This year's theme is "Hand Hygiene For All," and seeks to make soap and water available globally, especially in public places such as schools and healthcare facilities. This action can not only help prevent foodborne … [Read more...]

Four Americans Are Dead After Ingesting Methanol Hand Sanitizers

According to the Centers for Disease Control and PRevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for the week of August 5, 2020, four Americans are dead after ingesting methanol hand sanitizers. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers should only contain ethanol or isopropanol, but recently, some of them have been found to contain methanol. Methanol, or wood alcohol, is toxic when absorbed through the skin and can kill if ingested. Children can accidentally consume this product, and some adults use ethanol or isopropanol for substitutes for alcohol. Many recalls of these products have been issued in the past few months. Food Poisoning Bulletin has been reporting about this issue. From May 1 through June 30, 2020, 15 cases of methanol poisoning were reported in Arizona and New Mexico … [Read more...]

Hurricane Season Is Here: Be Prepared During the Pandemic

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is offering tips on how to stay safe during the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. CPSC Acting Chairman Robert Adler said in a statement, "Powerful storms and hurricanes are likely to affect millions of Americans who are already dealing with the stress that comes with a pandemic. That is why we urge everyone now more than ever, to be informed, be prepared and be safe." The hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through November. There are things you can do before the storm. Keep freezers full, since that helps the appliance keep food at a safe temperature longer. Keep water on hand too; each person in your household should have one gallon of clean water per day. If you must evacuate to a shelter, … [Read more...]

Foodborne Illnesses Increased, Healthy People 2020 Targets Not Met

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report has released information about incidence and trends of foodborne illness from their active surveillance network for 2016 - 2019. They have found that foodborne illnesses increased, so the Healthy People 2020 targets for reducing foodborne illness will not be met. In 2019, FoodNet identified 25,866 cases of infection, 6,164 hospitalizations, and 122 deaths. The overall incidence per 100,000 population was highest for Campylobacter, followed by Salmonella, STEC, Shigella, cyclospora, Yersinia, Vibrio, and Listeria. Eighty-six percent of infections were acquired domestically. It's important to note that most cases of foodborne illness are not reported to physicians, so those cases are not in the … [Read more...]

FDA Addresses Issue of China Coronavirus and Imported Products

On our Facebook page recently, one person asked if anyone should be concerned about the safety of products arriving from China as the coronavirus outbreak continues. The virus has been named COVID-19, as it is a virus causing coronavirus disease that was first identified in 2019. Is there a danger regarding coronavirus and imported products? The FDA is working to surveil the medical product supply chain and is using enforcement tools to oversee the safety and quality of FDA-regulated products. The FDA isn't able to conduct inspections in China now, as the U.S. State Department's Travel Advisory is not to travel to China because of the outbreak. Here's the takeaway line: "Fortunately, currently, we are not seeing the impacts of this outbreak resulting in an increased public health … [Read more...]

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