March 4, 2021

Don’t Put Frozen Food Outside During Power Outages Even if it’s Cold

There are major power outages in large swaths of the United States as a result of freezing temperatures and severe weather, and some bad food safety advice is circulating. When it's cold outside and you are worried about frozen food thawing and spoiling, you may be tempted to put the food outside to keep it frozen. That's a bad idea. Don't put frozen food outside. Even if there's snow on the ground and icicles hanging from your roof, outside temperatures can vary wildly. Frozen food is only safe if it stays below 0°F. Snow and ice will be present on the ground until the air temperature gets above 32°F, and even warmer temperatures than that. This fluctuation can cause thawing and freezing in your frozen food, causing loss of quality and perhaps even the growth of pathogenic … [Read more...]

At Your 2021 Super Bowl Party, Avoid Food Poisoning With These Tips

At your Super Bowl party this year, avoid food poisoning with these tips from the USDA. Whenever you are entertaining, you need to think about food safety and how to avoid making people sick. All you have to do is follow a few simple rules and pay attention to the food. USDA Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Paul Kiecker said, "As Americans prepare their Super Bowl food, protecting loved ones from foodborne illnesses is essential. Millions of people get sick from food poisoning each year. Following guidance on proper handwashing and avoiding cross-contamination can keep your family safe." First, always wash your hands before you start preparing food. In a recent USDA study, participants failed to wash their hands correctly 99% of the time. You need to wet your hands … [Read more...]

USDA Withdraws Controversial Poultry Line Speed Rule

On Friday, January 22, 2021, the USDA withdrew a controversial poultry line speed rules from the previous administration that would have rolled back line-speed standards at poultry plants. The first such proposal was made by the Obama administration in 2012. At the time, and over the last nine years, food safety experts and consumer advocates have opposed increasing these speeds, which whip poultry carcasses past inspectors at three birds per second. Executive Director of Food and Water Watch's Wenoah Hauter, said in a statement, "Such speeds would have made it nearly impossible for inspectors to properly due their jobs and ensure food safety and public health." She continued, "We’re pleased that the Biden administration has resisted the bidding of the immensely powerful … [Read more...]

Sniff Test For Food Safety: Bad Advice From British Government UPDATED

We heard from the developer of the campaign and app about things the Guardian article let out. The actual campaign is much more aligned with food safety than the Guardian article would lead a reader to believe. We included their response at the end of this piece. An article published in The Guardian a few days ago outlined a new British government initiative that could be tragic: officials are telling people to "sniff and taste" their food before discarding it. The problem with the sniff test for food safety is that pathogenic bacteria, such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria monocytogenes, do not change the taste, aroma, or texture of food. And while refrigerator temperatures below 40°F slow bacterial growth, it doesn't stop it completely. The campaign, called "Look, Smell, … [Read more...]

Avoid Making and Serving These Potentially Dangerous Holiday Foods

Every year people are sickened by certain types of foods. Avoid making and serving these potentially dangerous holiday foods this season. Some are inherently dangerous, and others are easily contaminated with dangerous bacteria. The potentially harmful foods include cannibal sandwiches, raw cookie dough, eggnog, unpasteurized cider, and raw oysters. Cannibal sandwiches are sandwiches made with raw ground beef. They are a specialty in some areas of the Midwest United States. In 2013, an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in Wisconsin was associated with the seasonal consumption of these sandwiches. Raw ground beef is inherently risky, because cows carry pathogenic STEC bacteria in their guts. When the cows are slaughtered, the bacteria are released and can contaminate the beef. When this beef … [Read more...]

2020 Meat and Poultry Recalls Hit All-Time Low

In-Depth Analysis From Food Poisoning Bulletin Who’s Been Minding our Meat? When Food Poisoning Bulletin began a review of food recalls in 2020, we discovered there had been a dramatic decline in the number of recalls for meat and poultry but not for other food products. To find out why, we analyzed five years of recall data published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS), the federal agency that regulates meat, poultry, and egg products. Our research showed that meat and poultry recalls plummeted to an all-time low this year. Just 29 recalls were issued for meat and poultry in 2020 (through December 10) and only one of them was for bacterial contamination. Those numbers are a fraction of the annual averages since 2016 - 128  total … [Read more...]

How E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria Recalls Prevent Serious Illness

When Food Poisoning Bulletin began a review of food recalls in 2020, we discovered there had been a dramatic decline in the number of recalls for meat and poultry but not for other food products. To find out why, we looked at five years of recall data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS), the federal agency that regulates meat, poultry, and eggs. A decline in the number of recalls for bacterial contamination is concerning. To read our in-depth analysis, click here. Bacterial Contamination in Meat is Serious E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella are bacteria that cause typical food poisoning symptoms when they are ingested but each of them can also cause serious illness and death. That’s why companies that produce food are required to have … [Read more...]

Holiday Food Safety Tips From the FDA Keep You Healthy

The FDA is offering holiday food safety tips to keep you and your family healthy this time of year. Keeping the food you make and serve safe is especially important in the time of the pandemic, since you don't want to get food poisoning and need medical attention right now. You will find a holiday food safety video at the link that will show you how to store, prepare, and serve food safely to avoid illness. There are four simple steps to make sure your foods are safe: clean, separate, cook, and chill. First, start with clean hands, cutting boards, and utensils. Clean with warm water and soap and disinfect surfaces. Then, use different cutting boards for different types of food, for instance, raw meat and poultry and fresh produce. Cook foods thoroughly according to food safety … [Read more...]

Keep Thanksgiving Leftovers Safe With Tips From the USDA

Happy Thanksgiving! Keep Thanksgiving leftovers safe with tips from the USDA. Since the meal for this holiday is usually quite large, you will most likely have lots of leftovers, which must be stored properly to prevent food poisoning. The temperature danger zone for perishable foods is 40°F to 140°F. In that range, bacteria in foods can double every 20 minutes. First, remember the two hour rule. All perishable foods must be refrigerated within two hours of coming out of the oven or out of the fridge for serving. This time decreases to one hour if the ambient air temperature is above 90°F. To make sure that food cools down quickly and gets through the danger zone fast, divide food into smaller amounts and package in shallow containers. When you have stored the food in the … [Read more...]

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...]

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