October 20, 2019

USDA Study: Bacteria From Raw Chicken Transferred to Salads

A recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has found that consumers put themselves at risk of serious illness by washing or rinsing raw poultry.  Bacteria from raw chicken is easily transferred to other surfaces. This common practice used to be recommended in cookbooks. But research has found that rinsing raw poultry aerosolizes the bacteria and the pathogens can spread up to three feet away from the faucet. In addition, the sink will most likely be contaminated. Dr. Mindy Brashears, the USDA's Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety said in a statement, "During this year’s study, 26 percent of participants that washed raw poultry transferred bacteria from that raw poultry to their ready to eat salad lettuce. Fortunately, small changes in the kitchen can … [Read more...]

Food and Water Safety Advice For Those in Hurricane Dorian’s Path

The FDA is offering food and water safety advice for those in Hurricane Dorian's path. The hurricane is making its way up the eastern coast of the United States this week. Hurricane warnings have been posted for the coasts of both North and South Carolina. When the power goes out, consumers need to take special precautions to make sure that the food stored in their homes remains safe. First, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. The fridge will keep food cold for about four hours, and a full freezer will keep the temperature low for about 48 hours if the door stays closed. Dry and block ice can be used to keep food safe for longer periods of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice will keep an 18 cubic foot, fully stocked freezer cold for two days. Flooding … [Read more...]

Back to School Food Safety For Bag Lunches From the USDA

It's back to school time, and that means kids are going to be bringing bag lunches to school. Did you know that if those bags contain perishable foods, they must be handled and stored properly? The USDA has tips to help you keep your child safe.   Harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria monocytogenes, multiply quickly in the Danger Zone temperature range of 40 °F and 140°F; that includes room temperature. Perishable foods that are held without an ice source, or without refrigeration, won't stay safe to eat for long. So here's what to do. First, all perishable foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, must be kept cold at all times. When you're at the store, buy those foods last, go home immediately, and refrigerate them immediately. No perishable … [Read more...]

USDA Reiterates: Don’t Wash That Chicken!

The USDA is reiterating its advice about washing chicken: Don't do it! A new study found that people are risking illness when they wash or rinse poultry. Dr. Mindy Brashears, the USDA's Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety said, "Cooking and mealtime is a special occasion for all of us as we come together with our families and friends. However, the public health implications of these findings should be of concern to everyone. Even when consumers think they are effectively cleaning after washing poultry, this study shows that bacteria can easily spread to other surfaces and foods. The best practice is not to wash poultry." The observational study found how easily bacteria can be spread when surfaces are not effectively cleaned and sanitized. Rinsing poultry under running water … [Read more...]

Keep Your Backyard Barbecue Safe From Staphylococcus With Tips

The USDA is offering tips to help keep your backyard barbecue safe from Staphylococcus aureus bacteria this summer.  Cooking outdoors presents special challenges, including grilling food to a safe internal temperature, and higher ambient temperatures. The press release focuses on Staphylococcus aureus, which sickens about 240,000 Americans every year. About 1,000 of those patients need to be hospitalized, and about six people die every year. A USDA scientist developed a test that detects the pathogen in foods, which is faster, more sensitive, and less expensive than other standardized tests. Reuven Rasooly, a chemist with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) said in a statement, "The current test detects active toxin only 50 percent of the time compared to the test, … [Read more...]

Keep Your Fourth of July Celebration Safe With Tips From USDA

Keep your Fourth of July celebration safe with tips on food safety from the USDA. Cooking outside and hosting parties pose unique food safety challenges. Millions of Americans contract some form of food poisoning even year, leading to 3,000 deaths. Before you start preparing food, wash your hands. This is the simplest way to stop the spread of pathogens around your kitchen. Use soap and water and lather for at least 20 seconds. Dry with a clean towel or paper towel. Always wash your hands immediately after you handle meat and poultry. Make sure that you cook all meats, poultry, fish, and egg dishes to safe final internal temperature, and check that temp with a reliable food thermometer. Cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal should e cooked to 145°F with a three minute rest time. … [Read more...]

Texas A&M Studying Super-Repellent Surfaces For Food Safety

Texas A&M Agrilife Research and the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station were awarded a grant from the USDA to study and develop super-repellent and anti-fouling surfaces for foods. These types of surfaces could be used to help ensure the safety of fresh food products. Dr. Luis Cisneros-Zevallos, AgriLife Research food science and co-principal investigator for the project said in a statement, "There is a need to reduce those outbreaks associated with microbial contamination that may take place in different operations along the fresh produce chain. The surfaces we are designing avoid cross-contamination and reduce the risk of biofilm formation.” Some bacteria, such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes, can develop biofilms that help protect them from … [Read more...]

With Warm Weather Here, Learn How to Handle Food Safely Outdoors

With warm weather finally here, many people are planning barbecues and picnics. But warm weather presents special challenges to keeping food safety. Bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures above 40°F and food needs to be handled carefully. The FDA has some advice about how to handle food safely outdoors. First, pack food safety. All cold food should be kept cold. Put child food into a cooler that has ice or frozen gel packs. All cold food should be stored below 40°F to prevent and slow bacterial growth. You can pack meat, poultry, and seafood while it's still frozen so they stay colder longer. Organize the cooler contents carefully. Put beverages in one cooler and perishable foods in a second. That way, when you open the cooler to get beverages, perishable foods won't be exposed to … [Read more...]

FDA Addresses Consumer Confusion Over Use By Dates

Frank Yiannas, who is Deputy Commissioner of Food Policy and Response for the FDA, wrote a letter to the food industry on May 23, 2019, addressing consumer confusion over "Sell By," "Use By," and "Best If Used By Dates," as they probably contribute to food waste in the United States. The USDA's Economic Research Service estimates that 30% of the food in this country is lost or wasted at the retail or consumer level. That translates to 133 billion pounds of food lost, that is worth $161 billion. Every year. The use of these phrases is voluntary, and are used to describe quality dates, not spoilage dates. In a 2007 survey of U.S. consumers, less than half were able to distinguish between the meanings of these commonly used phrases. The FDA has found that food waste by consumers … [Read more...]

Food Safety Myths: The Truth and the Rumors

Food safety is a complicated issue. But there are some facts, and some myths about this topic. Unfortunately, many of the myths, if believed, can cause some serious problems and may mean hospitalization for some people. Foodsafety.gov has compiled a list of food safety myths and the facts that debunk them. Some of these myths arise from old wives' tales; others have been spread over the internet. These are the top 10 food safety myths. Food poisoning isn't that big a deal. Actually, food poisoning sickens 48,000,000 Americans every year. At least 128,000 people are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. Food poisoning is much more than a stomach upset and some vomiting or diarrhea. People can develop sepsis and dehydration and need hospitalization. In addition, some pathogens can … [Read more...]

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