July 14, 2020

Fourth of July Food Safety Tips From the USDA to Avoid Illness

These Fourth of July food safety tips from the USDA will help you avoid foodborne illness this holiday weekend.  Because more people are staying at home and cooking at home, these tips are important. Dr. Mindy Brashears, the USDA's Under Secretary for Food Safety said in a statement, "Foodborne illness can increase during summer because of the warmer temperatures and extended time spent outside. You may not be grilling at the park this year, but instead you may be grilling at home. As we celebrate this Fourth of July holiday, I encourage consumers to use food safety steps to reduce their risk of illness." First, avoid cross-contamination between raw meats and poultry and foods that are eaten uncooked. Wash and sanitize all surfaces and utensils after they touch raw meats and … [Read more...]

Americans Using Bleach and Disinfectants Improperly, According to CDC

According to a study published in the CDC's Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for June 5, 2020, many Americans are using bleach and disinfectants improperly during the coronavirus pandemic. Calls to poison centers regarding exposure to cleaners and disinfectants have increased during the pandemic. An internet panel survey found gaps in knowledge about the safe preparation, use, and storage of cleaners, bleaches, and disinfectants. One of the most striking items in the survey is that about 19% of American adults have used bleach to clean food. Overall, 39% of U.S. adults engaged in at least one high risk practice including washing food with bleach: they also said they applied household cleaning or disinfectant products to bare skin, or intentionally inhaled or ingested … [Read more...]

Pandemic Food Safety: Most Googled Recipes and Safety

We all know that during the coronavirus pandemic, more people are cooking at home out of necessity. Many people are cooking for themselves for the first time. And some of those people haven't been taught about food safety. CNBC's Make It section found the top 10 most-googled recipes during quarantine. And we are listing the food safety issues with some of those recipes. The top 10 recipes are for: banana bread, pancakes, chicken, pizza dough, brownie, Recette crepe, meatloaf, French toast, lasagna, and cheesecake. All of these recipes can make you sick if not prepared correctly. Baking Recipes The potential food safety issues with the baking recipes are with eggs and flour. Don't make any recipe that calls for eggs and isn't cooked or baked before eating. Eggs can be … [Read more...]

Do You Buy Food on Facebook? You May Want to Think Twice

You may or may not know this, but you can buy food through Facebook Marketplace. Sounds like a good idea in a time of potential food shortages, right? Maybe not. Food safety experts think that buying food from "opaque" Facebook posts may lead to consumers eating adulterated or contaminated  food. Some unscrupulous people may be selling adulterated food on Facebook, which is considered an "alternative channel" for sales because the food isn't necessarily inspected before it's shipped off to the buyer. Chris Elliott, professor of food safety at Queen's University in Belfast told The Grocer, "That's where I would go [to sell food]. I'm sure a lot of what's being sold on there is good, fine food, but I would say there's also a lot of fraud happening on that particular marketplace … [Read more...]

Prepare For Food Safety During Power Outages WIth Tips From the FDA

As the U.S. enters the hurricane and tornado season, the FDA is offering tips for helping consumers prepare for food safety during power outages. Food can spoil if the power is out for hours, but you can save money and protect yourself by following these steps. First, make sure that you have appliance thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer. That's the best way to tell if the temperature in those appliances is cold enough to keep food safe from bacterial growth. The freezer should always be at 0°F or below, and the refrigerator should always be at or below 40°F. Then, think about freezing containers of water to help keep foods cold in the freezer, refrigerator, or coolers when the power goes out. The melting ice will also provide drinking water if you use water from the … [Read more...]

Memorial Day Food Safety Tips From The USDA To Stay Safe and Healthy

The USDA is offering Memorial Day food safety tips to help keep you. safe and healthy. This holiday weekend is not like other years because of the coronavirus pandemic, but don't forget about food safety while you observe the holiday. Remember that if the weather is hot and humid, perishable foods can only be out of refrigeration for one hour before bacteria start to grow rapidly. Those foods include meat and poultry, dips and cold salads, and cut fruits and vegetables. About 85% of respondents to a recent USDA survey said they don't nest cold foods in ice when served. Keeping cold foods cold is important for food safety. In that same survey, 66% of respondents said they did. not keep cooked foods, such as burgers and hot dogs, warm after cooking. Those foods need to be kept … [Read more...]

Restaurant Food Safety Fails When Training Fails

As food safety lawyers, people have been asking us (from a distance) how worried they should be about COVID-19 and the safety of their takeout food? While we can’t tell them about viral transmission rates via various sources – we’re lawyers, not scientists - we can tell them what we have learned from years of representing people sickened by germs in restaurant food. Good sanitary conditions and safe food preparation processes and procedures (food safety plans) are very important…but it all fails when employee training fails. Obviously, when food safety plans are bad (for example, if they do not include proper testing of food storage areas for correct temperature control or mandate specific locations to keep raw foods from cross-contaminating cooked foods) then germs can spread. Too … [Read more...]

Study Finds Common Chicken Doneness Tests Not Effective

A study published in Plos One has found that common chicken doneness tests are not enough to ensure that pathogens in the bird have been destroyed before it is served. The study was conducted among 75 households in Europe from five countries. Researchers wanted to investigate whether actual and recommended practices for monitoring chicken doneness are safe. And a cross national web survey collected cooking practices for chicken from 3,969 households. Chicken is often contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. There have been many outbreaks linked to improperly cooked or undercooked chicken in the past few years. In a lab kitchen, chicken breast fillets were injected with cocktails of Salmonella and Campylobacter, then cooked to core temperatures between 55°C (131°F) dnd 70°C (158°F). … [Read more...]

Learn Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures For Different Foods

As part of our series on helping beginning cooks learn about food safety during the coronavirus pandemic, the safe minimum cooking temperatures for many foods is critical. These risky foods have to be handled carefully and cooked thoroughly to avoid the risk of a serious foodborne illness. These foods include beef, pork, seafood, chicken, turkey, shellfish, and foods made with eggs. All of these foods have been linked to multistate food poisoning outbreaks in the past. When you handle these foods, make sure to avoid cross-contamination between them and foods that are eaten uncooked. Meat juices dripping on other foods in the fridge is a main source of contamination. Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures First of all, the only way to tell if these foods are safe to eat is by using … [Read more...]

What You Need to Know About Raw Sprouts and Food Poisoning

Raw sprouts have been considered a health food for decades. They are crunchy and delicious and full of nutrients. The sprouting process increases the availability of protein, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and vitamins C and K than unsprouted seeds. Unfortunately, the sprouting process also links raw sprouts and food poisoning. There have been many Salmonella and E. coli outbreaks linked to raw sprouts in the past few years. These outbreaks have been so numerous that a term was coined about them: sproutbreaks. The problem is that the seeds are inherently risky. The bacteria can be encapsulated in the seed itself, so cleaning the seeds before sprouting is completely ineffective. Then, when the seeds are sprouted in warm, moist conditions, those bacteria can grow and … [Read more...]

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