August 16, 2018

Rules for Safe Home Canning of Summer Produce

Many people are harvesting produce from their gardens and want to can the fruits and vegetables to preserve them. Canning has a long history in this country, but to make sure the food is safe, there are some rules you must follow. Extension offices of the universities in your state offer lots of excellent canning and preserving advice. Home canning isn't difficult as long as you know what you're doing. Unfortunately, sometimes produce canned at home can make people very sick. In 2015, home canned potatoes used to make potato salad served at a church potluck in Ohio sickened 27 people with botulism. One woman died. The extension office at the University of Connecticut offers ten rules for home canning. First, make sure that all of your equipment is in good shape. Only use … [Read more...]

Back to School Food Safety Tips

It's almost time for the new school year to begin. As parents start to prepare, it's important to consider back to school food safety if you pack lunches or snacks for your child. The government is offering tips on keeping your children safe from foodborne illness. It's important that you always use an insulated carrier to pack the food your child takes to school. If the lunch or snack contains a perishable food such as meat, eggs, cheese, or yogurt, always use at least two cold sources in the insulated carrier. You can use commercial freezer packs, frozen juice boxes, or frozen water containers. The last two will thaw in time for lunch while it keeps the temperature in the carrier below 40°F. Never use a paper bag to pack lunches or snacks for your child. Perishable cold foods … [Read more...]

Kitchen Towels Contaminated with Bacteria, According to New Study

Tea towels, or kitchen towels, can cause cross-contamination in the kitchen, leading to food poisoning, according to a study posted in ASN Microbe 2018. Cross-contamination is when bacteria are spread from one source to food that was not previously contaminated. The study was conducted at the University of Mauritius. The study's authors collected 100 kitchen towels from homes after they were used for one month. Bacteria were collected from the towels and identified. In addition, those participating in the study where asked to fill out a questionnaire designed to pinpoint risk factors. Bacterial growth was found in 40% of the tea towels. The bacteria "significantly increased" by the size of the family, extended family, and the presence of children in the family. Multipurpose … [Read more...]

USDA Offers Food Safety Tips for the Fourth of July

The USDA is offering food safety tips for summer and the Fourth of July. Food poisoning increases in the summer months for several reasons. About 48,000,000 people contract some type of food poisoning every year in the United States. Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Al Almanza said, "Because foodborne bacteria thrive and multiply more quickly in warmer temperatures, foodborne illness can spike during the summer. This is likely because pope are spending more time outside - away from the sink and equipment in the kitchen that help consumers keep food safe." To avoid food poisoning, you should follow several steps. Without refrigeration, no perishable item should be left out of the fridge for more than two hours if the air temperature is less than 90°F, and for just one hour … [Read more...]

If You’re Eating Outdoors, Learn How to Handle Food Safely

If you're eating outdoors this summer, learn how to handle food safely with tips from the FDA. Bacteria thrive and grow quickly in warm summer temperatures. First, pack food safely and make sure that you always transport it in a cooler that is packed with freezer packs. Keep cold food cold; it should always be stored at 40°F or below to prevent pathogenic bacterial growth. You can pack meat, poultry and seafood frozen so those products stay colder longer. Pack beverages in one cooler and perishable foods, such as meats, poultry, and egg products, in another. The beverage cooler is opened more often, exposing those products to warmer air. Keep the coolers that contain perishable foods closed. Make sure you don't cross-contaminate raw foods such as vegetables with raw meat, … [Read more...]

USDA Offers Tips for Safe Grilling This Summer

The USDA is offering tips for safe grilling this summer. With Memorial Day over, the summer grilling season has begun. Foodborne illness tends to rise during the summer months, because temperatures are warmer, and people tend to travel with food. Properly handling perishable foods during travel, by making sure all food is kept at a safe temperature, avoiding cross-contamination between raw meats and poultry and foods that are eaten uncooked, and using a food thermometer when grilling can all help prevent food poisoning. If you are traveling to a location where you will grill, perishable foods must be handled in a special way. Bacteria grow quickly in warm weather. Perishable foods must be kept at 40°F or below to reduce bacterial growth. Any perishable food, cooked or not, that … [Read more...]

USDA Offers Tips for Spring Gatherings

As spring celebrations approach, the USDA is offering food safety tips for these gatherings of family and friends. Foodborne illness causes 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths every year. These tips will help keep you and your family safe. Always clean your hands with warm soapy water before and after handling food. Thoroughly wash cutting boards, countertops, and utensils with hot soapy water. Always use separate cutting boards for ready-to-eat foods and for raw foods that are cooked before serving. That's how you prevent cross-contamination. Use a food thermometer when you cook. The USDA has a Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart that will guide you. Follow the temperatures and instructions to the letter. Beef, pork, veal, and lamb intact cuts such as steaks, chops, … [Read more...]

Easter Food Safety Tips

Foodsafety.gov is offering tips to keep your Easter ham and eggs safe. Ham and eggs are traditional Easter foods in the United States. When you are cooking ham, make sure you know whether or not the product is fully cooked. Hams that are fully cooked are labeled so. Ham that is not ready to eat but looks like it's ready to eat will have a statement on the label that it needs cooking before you can consume it. Fresh, raw, ham, or ham that needs to be cooked first, must reach an internal temperature of 145°F, with a three minute rest time, before it is safe to eat. Make sure that you use a reliable and accurate food thermometer to test the meat. And ham and other meats should be cooked at an oven temperature no lower than 325°F. Cooked ham and cooked vacuum-packaged ham can be … [Read more...]

USDA Guide to Hosting a Safe Super Bowl Party

The Super Bowl is this Sunday; if you're hosting a party, take advice from the USDA to make sure the food you are serving is safe. These tips and rules will help ensure that your guests are happy and don't get sick. Begin by washing your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds. This will remove any bacteria from your hands before you start preparing the food. And make sure that dishware and utensils are clean and sanitized before you use them to prepare, warm, cook or serve food. Make sure that you separate raw foods such as raw meat and poultry and foods that are eaten uncooked such as crudités and dips. Use clean and different utensils for each dish. Never use your own spoon or fork to serve yourself foods from the buffet, or you could contaminate the food. Use … [Read more...]

For a Safe New Year’s Buffet, Follow FDA Suggestions

Plan a safe New Year's buffet with suggestions from the FDA. Many people have open houses for this holiday and offer food buffet style. The first tip is to keep serving portions small. Instead of putting out all the food at once, divide the food among some small platters and dishes ahead of time. As the food is eaten, replace those serving dishes with clean ones with fresh food. Store cold back up dishes in the refrigerator, and keep hot dishes in a crockpot, or in the oven set at 200 to 250°F. Later arriving guests can safely enjoy the same food as early arrivers. Make sure that you take the temperature of the food as it sits out. Hot foods should be at least 140°F. Some warmers only hold food at 110°F to 120°F, so make sure that your warmer will keep foods at the correct … [Read more...]

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