August 24, 2017

How to Handle, Cook, and Safely Store Shellfish

The Washington State Department of Heath has posted information about how to safely handle, store, and cook shellfish. There have been Vibrio and norovirus outbreaks linked to eating uncooked shellfish, especially oysters, this year. All fresh shellfish should be stored in an open container in the fridge. Put a damp towel on the container to maintain humidity. Do not store shellfish in water, since they will die and may spoil. Shellfish that open and don't close when they are tapped are dead; do not cook or eat them. If the shells of horse clams, soft-shell clams, geoducks, and razor clams don't completely close, you can store them for three of four days. Shellfish that close their shells completely can be stored up to seven days. That includes oysters, littlenecks, butter clams, … [Read more...]

Pop Up Food Vendors During Eclipse Need License

It's difficult to imagine that this month's eclipse has anything to do with food safety, but the Oregon Health Authority is telling pop up vendors who want to sell food during the event that they need a license. Many people take advantage of natural events such as the eclipse to make some money. If you want to sell food or beverages that's fine, but make sure that you follow and obey state and local health and food safety regulations, even if you are selling something you think are as innocuous as nachos. Check with county health departments about licensing requirements before you offer any food or drink for sale. Some county officials have told OHA that are concerned that pop up vendors may not even be aware that licenses are required before selling food to the public. When these … [Read more...]

Going Camping? Six Food Safety Tips to Keep You Well

FOodsafety.gov is offering six tips to eat safely when you're camping. The blog post is slanted toward Latinos, since about 12% of new campers are Latino. Outdoor cooking requires planning, especially transporting, storing, and cooking food safely. These six tips will help you pack items you'll need while preparing food outdoors. First, look for camping-friendly foods that are light to carry and can be safe without refrigeration. Cold foods can be brought along for the first day, but after that you will need shelf-stable foods. Cleaning supplies are another must. Disposable wipes, biodegradable soaps, and paper towels or clean towels are necessary. If there isn't a source of clean running water where you are planning your campout, you should boil lake or river water or use … [Read more...]

Tips to Prevent Botulism Poisoning in Home Canned Goods

With harvest season upon us, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued important information, through Foodsafety.gov, about the dangers of botulism and the steps home canners should take to prevent the proliferation of toxins in their canned goods. Armed with this knowledge, home cooks will be able to ensure that the foods they put away for the winter months are safe for consumption. Botulism is an illness caused by the soil-based Clostridium botulinum germ. When vegetables containing the germ are improperly canned, it can grow and create a tasteless, odorless toxin that can cause deadly nerve damage and paralysis if consumed. Low-acid vegetables with a pH level greater than 4.6 are especially likely to cause botulism, since they aren’t acidic enough to … [Read more...]

California Reminds Residents About Safe Summer Food Handling

The California Department of Public Health has issued a press release, reminding Californias to follow food safety rules this summer to avoid illness. Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter are the most common bacteria that cause food poisoning outbreaks. There are some effective steps you can take to reduce your risk of illness. Follow simple safety tips for properly preparing and handling food. Follow the four "C's": Clean, Cross-Contamination, Cook, and Chill. For "clean," always wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before you prepare food, before you eat, and after handling food. Scrub cutting boards with hot, soapy water after preparing each item. And wash and thoroughly rinse utensils and cutting boards. Keep pets away from food preparation … [Read more...]

If You Are Eating Outdoors This Summer, Handle Food Safely

The USDA is offering food safety tips to all Americans who are eating outdoors this summer. Picnics and barbecues are part of the fun of the season. But the risk of food poisoning increases with the air temperature. When the air temperature is above 90°F, perishable foods should not be left out of refrigeration longer than one hour, half the usual time. When you are packing food for transport, make sure to keep cold food cold. You should always use an insulated cooler with ice or frozen gel packs for all food. Keep cold food below 40*F to prevent material growth. If you pack meat, poultry, and seafood while still frozen, they will stay cold longer. When you pack coolers for your picnic, put beverages in one and perishable foods in another. When you open and reopen the beverage … [Read more...]

Scientist Develop Plastic Pouches to Make Produce Safer

The USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is assisting a company developing a small plastic pouch that is designed to make produce safer. Many food poisoning outbreaks in the past few years have been linked to contaminated fruits and vegetables. Plant pathologist Jinhe Bai and his colleagues helped develop the pouch. The company, Worrell Water Technologist of Delray Beach, Florida, wants to market the pouches to wholesalers and produce packers all around the world. The pouches are packed into shipping containers. The pouch slowly releases chlorine dioxide gas, which kills E. coli and other pathogenic bacteria on the produce. They vent chlorine dioxide gas at a controlled rate using a semi-permeable membrane. Controlled rates of the gas release is crucial, since if it is … [Read more...]

Food Safety for Older Adults

The FDA has released information about food safety for older adults. Anyone who is over the age of 65 needs to be very vigilant about food safety. Many of those who become seriously ill and even die from food poisoning are elderly. The bodies of older adults do not work as well as they did decades ago. The stomach and intestinal tract hold onto food for longer periods of time, the senses of smell and taste are altered, and the liver and kidney's don't work as well to get rid of toxins. And by the age of 65, many people have been diagnosed with a serious illness. That is a double whammy, since people with chronic health problems are also at higher risk for serious complications from food poisoning. After the age of 75, many people also have reduced immune system responses. That … [Read more...]

FDA Offers Tips on Barbecue Food Safety

With the Fourth of July holiday weekend approaching, the FDA is offering tips for preventing foodborne illness at your backyard barbecue. Since bacteria in food multiply faster at temps between 40°F and 140°F, summer heat makes food safety implementation important. First, wash your hands well with soap and water before preparing, serving, and eating food. You should wash them for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom. If you are at a park or picnic area where there is no bathroom, use a water jug, some soap, and paper towels. Moist towelettes are better than nothing, but soap and water is best. Always keep raw food separated from cooked food. Cross-contamination is a major cause of food poisoning. Don't use a plate that held raw meat, poultry, eggs, or seafood … [Read more...]

How to Buy and Serve Produce Safely

Many food poisoning outbreaks in the past few years have been caused by contaminated produce. They range from the deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to Jensen Farms cantaloupe to the Salmonella outbreak in Minnesota linked to tomatoes served at Chipotle restaurants. In fact, a study conducted by Center for Science in the Public Interest in 2005 found that produce is the most common food source for food poisoning. So the FDA has produced a video and tips on how to select and serve produce safely. Bacteria in the soil or water can contaminated fruits and vegetables, or it can become contaminated during harvest, during transport, or storage. To protect yourself and your family, be careful when selecting produce at the grocery store or farmer's market. Choose produce that … [Read more...]

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