October 15, 2018

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...]

Keep Food Safe at Fall Football Cookouts With Tips From Experts

It's football time, and that means tailgating. Keep your food safe at fall football cookouts with food safety tips from Auburn University. Tailgate parties usually take place in parking lots and areas around football stadiums around the country. Most people grill at these gatherings, which present some unique food safety issues. But if you follow these tips at each step, from purchasing the food to grilling and cleanup, you can stay safe and avoid foodborne illness. First, when you shop, purchase meats such as ground hamburger, hot dogs, and chicken last. Get them home quickly and into the refrigerator and freezer. When you are packing and preparing food for your fall football cookouts, make sure you put them in an insulated cooler and use ice or frozen gel packs to keep them … [Read more...]

As Hurricane Florence Approaches, Get Ready

Hurricane Florence is approaching the east coast of the U.S. as a Category 4 storm with winds of 140 mph. Storms of this magnitude can wreak havoc on a large area even if your home is out of reach of storm surge and high winds. Flooding and power outages can cause serious food safety issues. The CDC has some advice. If you are in an evacuation area, leave. Take medications you need with you, along with prescriptions. Avoid driving through flooded areas and standing water. If you are planning to stay, get supplies. The hurricane will probably cut off power and your water supply may end. Have at least five gallons of water per person available per day. Most experts say you should have enough water for five days, but Hurricane Florence may stall, so you may want to think about … [Read more...]

Food Safety Tips for Labor Day Weekend From Experts

It's Labor Day, the last blast of summer in the United States. And many people are grilling and cooking outside. The New York State Department of Health is reminding people about food safety tips for Labor Day weekend. There is a recent multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to kosher chicken. There are seventeen people sick in four states, including Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. And eleven of those patients live in New York State. How people prepare chicken, especially if it is cooked outside on the grill, can leave some susceptible to food poisoning. So, here's what you can do. When you buy meats, wrap them in plastic bags to stop blood and juices from dripping onto other foods, especially those that are eaten without further cooking. Refrigerate perishable … [Read more...]

Back to School Meal Prep and Food Safety From Uncle Sam

Most schools in the United States start next Tuesday, after Labor Day. That prospect can be daunting for parents who provide lunches and snacks for their kids to tote to school, but Uncle Sam has some advice about making back to school meal prep easy. First, it's important to plan out the menu for the week. Look for recipes you know your kids will like, then create a shopping list based on the foods you need. Make sure, at the store, that you put any refrigerated or frozen foods into the cart last, just before you check out. And those items must be put in the refrigerator or freezer within two hours after you finish shopping. Safe food preparation is next on the checklist for back to school lunches. Make sure that your kitchen is clean before you start to cook and prepare foods. … [Read more...]

In the Path of Hurricane Lane? The USDA Is Offering Food Safety Tips

If you are in the path of Hurricane Lane, which is in the area of Hawaii, the USDA has food safety recommendations. The hurricane will pass to the south-soueast of the Big Island in the early morning hours of August 23, 2018, and will turn northwest toward the other Hawaiian Islands Thursday through Saturday. As with all hurricanes, excessive rainfall, major flash flooding, landslides, and mudslides may occur. Flooding can occur in areas that usually don't experience this disaster. Rainfall totals of more than 20 inches are possible. And power outages will most likely occur. Power outages can affect foods stored in refrigerators and freezers. Before the storm, make sure you have appliance refrigerators in your fridge and freezer to check on how safe the food is if the power goes … [Read more...]

Summer is Still Here: Avoid Food Poisoning During Picnics

Even though school has started in many areas of the country, it's still summer. And that means picnics. The CDC has advice to help you avoid food poisoning during summer picnics. The first step is to make sure that the foods that should stay cool are cool. That means that perishable foods should be kept below 40°F, whether that food is raw meat or poultry, or a dip made with cream cheese. Those foods should be kept in an insulated cooler, with ice packs, frozen drinks, or freezer packs, until it's time to cook and eat. Always cook meat thoroughly to a safe final internal temperature. And use a food thermometer to make sure that temperature is reached. Here's something most people don't think about: wash the temperature probe after you test meats and poultry and they aren't fully … [Read more...]

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. Home 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...]

Is Your Smart Phone or Tablet a Food Safety Hazard in the Kitchen?

If you use your smart phone, tablet, or laptop in the kitchen, is that tool a food safety hazard? Two researchers at the FDA are looking at this issue. Amy Lando, MPP, and Dr. Michael Bazaco in the Office of Analytics and Outbreak at FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition analyzed findings from the 2016 Food Safety Survey and related focus groups. Their next step is to find out if there's any danger of contamination from using these devices during food preparation. The researchers already know that bacteria that can cause human illness can survive on cell phones. This is the first study to look at how consumers use personal electronic devices such as a smart phone in the kitchen. It was published in the February 2018 issue of the Journal of Food Protection. The … [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...]

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