October 19, 2021

U.S. Court Strikes Down Kansas Ag-Gag Law As Unconstitutional

The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling striking down a Kansas Ag-Gag law for violating the First Amendment, according to the Center for Food Safety. The lawsuit was first filed in 2018 by a coalition of food safety advocates, along with animal and environmental groups. Ag gag laws are intended to stop undercover filming in large factory farms by advocates who are trying to expose animal mistreatment as well as food safety violations. Studies have shown that stressing animals can increase the risk of pathogenic bacterial growth, and may lead to more human illnesses. The court held that Kansas may not legislate speech to silence views "critical of animal agriculture." The three provisions of the law targeted speech, not just conduct, … [Read more...]

Is It Safe to Partially Cook Meat and Poultry Ahead of Time?

Labor Day is the last big grilling holiday of the summer season. Most Americans love to grill, and cook out whether at home or in a park. Grilling food safety tips are important for every person to know. But there's one question that is not often answered: Is it safe to partially cook meat and poultry ahead of time? Most people love to be able to prepare many foods ahead of time when they are entertaining. Salads, desserts, and side dishes are all easy to prepare ahead. But what about meats? While you can cut meat into serving sizes and marinate meats for added flavor and tenderness, you should never partially cook meat or poultry ahead of time to finish later, according to the CDC. This is not widely known and this fact is not often included in FDA or USDA grilling tips. The … [Read more...]

September is Food Safety Education Month to Stay Healthy

September is Food Safety Education Month to keep you and your family healthy. This year the focus is on how to prevent food poisoning when cooking at home.   First, following the four step recipe for food safety is crucial: Clean (wash your hands often, clean counters with hot soapy water, don't wash chicken or meat); Separate (keep raw meat, chicken, turkey, seafood, and eggs away from produce); Cook (cook foods to safe final internal temperatures and use a food thermometer); and Chill (refrigerate leftovers promptly). Then, you should focus on preventing Salmonella infections. Salmonella causes more foodborne illnesses in the United States than any other bacteria. Chicken is a major source of these illnesses, although outbreaks linked to ground beef have also … [Read more...]

Learn How to Pack a Safe School Lunch For Your Kids

Learn how to pack a safe school lunch this year with tips from Oklahoma State University Extension. While many children get free school lunches, some do prefer to bring a lunch from home. And parents need to be very careful about packing a safe lunch, since children are far more susceptible to serious complications from food poisoning than adults. An improperly packed sack lunch can make kids sick, especially if the food isn't kept cold or hot, out of the danger zone of 40°F to 140°F. Pathogenic bacteria can double in food in 20 minutes while in that temperature range. First, make sure that you purchase a safe lunch box. A double sided insulated box, when packed with a frozen juice box or frozen gel packs, will keep food at a safe temperature for hours. A good thermos should be … [Read more...]

Do You Know Food Safety Rules For Baking in the Kitchen?

Do you know food safety rules for baking in the kitchen? You may know to handle eggs carefully and to bake cookie doughs and cake batters before eating them, but do you know why? With a new E. coli outbreak linked to cake mix, these rules are more important than ever. Many people know that raw eggs can contain pathogenic bacteria, and think that's why food safety experts say not to eat raw cookie dough and cake batter. But eggs are not the only safety issue when baking. As improbable as it seems, flour is a raw agricultural product and not only can it be contaminated with pathogens, it has caused several multistate food poisoning outbreaks in the past few years. All-purpose, cake flour, and bread flour are made from wheat, which is grown in fields. And like all foods grown … [Read more...]

Stay Food Safe During Temporary Power Outages With USDA Tips

Did you know that weather-related power outages have increased by 67% since 2000? Aging infrastructure and climate change are stressing our power grid. Because of the increased energy demand, some power grids can experience blackouts. And of course, severe weather can cause extended power outages. Brownouts can also occur when electric providers ask consumers to voluntary conserve energy or a reduced flow of electricity will be scheduled. So learn how you can stay food safe during temporary power outages. To stay food safe, always keep and appliance thermometer in both your refrigerator and freezer to make sure that the temperature stays below 40°F in the fridge and below 0°F in the freezer. Food will stay at a safe temperate run the fridge up to four hours during a power outage. In … [Read more...]

Are You Ready For a Hurricane? Get Tips From the FDA

Are you ready for a hurricane? With the news of Tropical Depression Fred wreaking havoc on the east coast, and Tropical Storm Henri on the horizon, now is the time to prepare if you live in a hurricane zone. These tips apply across the country in any type of severe weather. The FDA has great tips and information you need to know. These storms can cut off water supplies and threaten the food supply. Before a storm, make sure you have thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer, and stock up on coolers, frozen gel packs, and dry ice to keep reefrigerated food at or below 40°F and frozen food at or below 0°F if you lose power. And stock up on bottled water and nonperishable food and put it as high up on shelves as you can in case of floods. Also make sure you have a manual can opener … [Read more...]

Farmers Market Food Safety Helps Prevent Foodborne Illness

It's National Farmers Market Week. That means it's also time to focus on Farmers Market food safety. When you visit a farmers market, you can find the freshest produce and sometimes meats and eggs, and you can learn more about these products and how to cook them. But you must remember that any food, even vegetables and leafy greens, can be contaminated with pathogens that can make you sick. There are more than 8,000 farmers markets across the country. During the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers markets were an essential source of health food for many communities. But how safe is the food you buy at farmers markets? It depends. There are some warning signs to look for and ways to protect ourself. Most farmers markets do not offer food washing stands, so it's a good idea to bring … [Read more...]

Do You Know That Raw Flour Can Contain Dangerous Pathogens?

A study published in the Journal for Food Protection found that most people treat flour as if it is safe. But do you know that raw flour can contain dangerous pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella? In 2019 there were many recalls of flour for possible E. coli contamination, including the brands Robin Hood, Gold Medal, Wild Harvest, Hodgson Mills, Pillsbury, and King Arthur. And an E. coli O26 outbreak that sickened at least 21 people in nine states was linked to ADM Milling flour, which produced Aldi, Pillsbury, and King Arthur flour. The study, which was a survey conducted online by participants recruited in May 2019, found that consumers do not consider flour a high risk for microbial contamination. More than 80% of those surveyed were unaware of flour outbreaks or relays, … [Read more...]

Summer Food Safety tips from the North Dakota Department of Health

Summer food safety tips are being offered by the North Dakota Department of Health. Proper food handling and preparation can go a long way towards preventing illness this summer. Pathogens grow more rapidly in hot weather. Perishable foods can harbor these dangerous bacteria, and can make you sick if food isn't properly cooked or is held at unsafe temperatures. Food safety recommendations include: washing your hands and surfaces often, keeping fresh produce separate from uncooked meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs, and always rinsing fresh fruits and veggies under clean running water before preparing or eating them. You should also strive to keep hot food hot and cold food cold. The danger zone is between 40°F to 140°F. In this range, bacteria grow rapidly and can double in … [Read more...]

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