October 22, 2016

Hurricane Matthew Heading Towards You? Keep Your Food Safe

The USDA is offering food safety recommendations for people who are in the path of Hurricane Matthew. This storm will hit the eastern coast of Florida the evening of October 6, 2016 and will move up the east coast over the weekend. Forecasters expect heavy rain and significant flooding. Power outages and flooding can compromise the safety of food that is stored in your home. Take steps now to keep your food safe. Keep appliance thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer in case the power goes out. Safe temperatures are 40°F or lower in the fridge, and 0°F or lower in the freezer. Freeze water in one quart plastic storage bags or containers before the storm. These can be put into your fridge and freezer to help keep food cold. Know where you can get dry ice or block ice, and have … [Read more...]

Cut Food Waste But Maintain Food Safety

September is National Food Safety Education Month, and the government is trying to tell consumers that is is possible to reduce food waste while still eating safe food. Every year, there are about 48,000,000 cases of food poisoning in the United States. That leads to 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. But food waste is also a major concern. Every year, 80% of our freshwater, 10% of the available energy, and half of our land is used to get food to our tables. And organic waste, mostly food, is the second biggest component of landfills. Landfills are the third largest source of methane emissions, which contribute to climate change. Since 30 to 40% of food in the U.S. is thrown out, we are contributing to climate change and wasting a lot of money. Americans discard about … [Read more...]

The FDA Offers Tips on Tailgating Food Safety

Fall is football season, and that means a lot of eating. Tailgating is part of that sport; people set up grills and picnic tables in the parking lots of stadiums and chow down. The FDA is offering tips to make your tailgating event a food safety success. Plan ahead for food safety. Make sure you have these items on hand to keep the food you serve safe: paper towels, moist towelettes or hand sanitizer, two coolers (one for food and one for beverages), ice, frozen gel packs, two sets of cooking utensils (one for raw foods and one to take cooked food off the grill), paper plates, disposable silverware, a food thermometer to check the temperature of burgers and chicken, and clean containers to hold leftovers. Always wash your hands well with warm water and soap for at least 2o … [Read more...]

What to Save and What to Throw Out After a Power Outage

The USDA has issued a chart of what foods are safe and what foods should be thrown out after a power outage. Severe weather in the southern part of the country has highlighted the importance of keeping food safe during a weather emergency. It would be a good idea to print out this chart and use it after a power outage. Food stored in a refrigerator during a power outage should be safe as long as the power is not out for more than 4 hours, as long as the door is kept closed as much as possible. The general categories in the USDA's chart contain recommendations that should be followed after a power outage. They state that all meats, seafood, and poultry, and foods containing those ingredients, should be discarded. Hard cheeses and processed cheeses will be safe, while soft … [Read more...]

GoIng to the Fair? Protect Your Family From E. coli

The E. coli outbreak in Washington County, Oregon that may be related to livestock at the Washington County fair is a reminder to all that attending county and state fairs can be dangerous. Officials are investigating "several" illnesses that occurred after those sickened attended the fair. In the past few years, there have been E. coli outbreaks linked to livestock exhibits and petting zoos at fairs. And now that we are getting into autumn, the big state fairs are set to begin.   Livestock exhibits and areas where ruminant animals are gathered are the hot spots for these outbreaks. Cows, goats, sheep, deer, and elk are ruminant animals; they can carry E. coli bacteria in their intestines. The bacteria comes out in their poop, which can get everywhere, including on the … [Read more...]

Keep Food Safe After a Flood

There is terrible flooding in some parts of the United States. The FDA is offering advice on how to keep yourself safe from food poisoning after a flood. Flood water is usually filthy and filled with bacteria, viruses, and parasites. It can carry E. coli bacteria, Salmonella, Shigella, hepatitis A, and tetanus. If you have time before a flood or weather emergency, make sure you have appliance thermometers in your fridge or freezer. Freeze containers of water to help keep food cold in the fridge, freezer, or coolers. Have a supply of bottled water stored where it will be above the flood water. If flooding occurs, only use water from a safe source for drinking, preparing food, and for washing. Bottled water that has not been exposed to flood water is safest. If you don't have … [Read more...]

Back to School Food Safety

With everyone getting ready to go back to school, there are some steps you can take to make sure your child's lunch is safe. Foodsafety.gov is offering some tips to consumers. When you buy a lunch box, make sure that it is insulated, with enough room for two cold sources to keep the food safe. Perishable foods must be kept below 40°F to prevent bacterial growth. Make sure that the lunch box is easy to clean. Always wash all reusable food storage containers with hot, soapy water after each use. Thermoses should be tested before use to make sure they can keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Fill it with hot water and let the thermos stand at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours. Then test the water with a reliable food thermometer and make sure it is at least 140°F, the safe … [Read more...]

USDA’s FoodKeeper App Says Hola and Olá

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) FoodKeeper app, which helps consumers reduce food waste, now includes information in Spanish and Portuguese. The app covers food storage recommendations for more than 400 foods including   baby food, dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry, produce and seafood, and more. Developed through a partnership of the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute, FoodKeeper's goal is to reduce food waste by sharing food storage methods that extend the shelf life of the foods and beverages.  Since its April 2015 launch, it has been downloaded more than 100,000 times, according to the USDA. "The FoodKeeper app is a very handy and easy tool to use, and it reflects USDA's commitment to provide … [Read more...]

USDA: Meat, Poultry Food Poisoning Dropped 12 Percent in 6 Years

The most significant changes to the food safety system since the 1950s, enacted during the Obama administration, led to a 12 percent drop in the rate of food poisoning from meat, poultry and processed egg products,  according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administartion (USDA). From 2009 to 2015, better testing methods, an emphasis on mislabeling, and improved scientific processes have helped the agency to more quickly identify food that is contaminated with pathogens or is mislabeled, the agency said. "The United States has the strongest food safety system in the world, and over the past seven years it has grown even stronger. We're better now at keeping unsafe food out of commerce, whether it's made unsafe because of dangerous bacteria, or because of an allergen, like peanuts or wheat," … [Read more...]

FDA Warning Letter to DreamLand Trading in Minneapolis Cites Rodents, Other Problems

Rodents and other problems are cited in an FDA warning letter to DreamLand Trading Inc. in Minneapolis a warehouse and distributor of imported foods including, rice, pasta, packaged juices, edible oils, tea, spices, and dates.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspected the facility, located at 3912 Dight Avenue South, from April 29 to May 18, 2016 and found "serious violations." Because of the insanitary conditions at the facility,  the food is considered adulterated, meaning it is contaminated with filth or may have been rendered injurious to health, according to the FDA. Midway through the inspection, May 6, 2016, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) placed an embargo on food products held there. Some of the things FDA investigators observed during the inspection … [Read more...]

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