September 24, 2021

Little Known Safe Grilling Tips to Prevent Foodborne Illness

When it comes to summer grilling, we are bombarded with information about how to keep the food you are cooking safe. Everyone knows (or should know) about safe final internal temperatures, to wash your hands before cooking and after handling raw meats, and to follow expiration dates on these products. But there are little known safe grilling tips to prevent illness. For instance, did you know that you can get sick if you don't handle marinades properly?  Any marinade that has come into contact with raw meat will instantly become contaminated with pathogens. Vinegar or lemon juice in marinade will not kill these pathogens. So if you are using a marinade, handle it carefully. If you want to use some for dipping or to marinate vegetables, make the marinade, reserve some in another bowl … [Read more...]

Food Safety Tips During Hurricanes and Severe Storms

With the first named Atlantic hurricane approaching the U.S. mainland, the USDA is offering food safety tips during hurricanes and severe storms. The best thing to do is to be prepared before storms hit. And this advice applies to all Americans, not just those who live in hurricane-prone areas. First, make sure that you keep an appliance thermometer in your refrigerator and freezer. The freezer must be kept at 0°F or below, and the refrigerator between 33°F and 40°F to slow down most bacterial growth. Then, freeze containers of water for ice to help keep food frozen in the freezer or cold in the fridge or in coolers if the power goes out. Make more ice cubes too. You can also use this ice for drinking water if flooding occurs and you need a clean source of water. Freeze … [Read more...]

Fourth of July Food Safety Tips From the USDA to Stay Safe

These Fourth of July food safety tips from the USDA will help you and your guests stay safe to enjoy the long holiday weekend. Follow basic food safety tips, and add those that apply when you are cooking and eating outdoors, especially in hot weather. First, start by always washing your hands with soap and water before you start cooking and before you eat. Learn how to properly wash your hands. Second, keep raw meats, poultry, seafood, and eggs away from foods that are eaten uncooked, such as produce and salads. Use separate and different colored cutting boards for meats and for fresh fruits and vegetables, and yet another for cheeses, which can be contaminated with bacteria. If you are grilling outdoors, follow the rules for safe grilling, including not grilling inside, in a … [Read more...]

Ten USDA Tips To Keep Restaurant Leftovers Safe at Home

The USDA is offering ten tips to keep restaurant leftovers safe when you take them home. Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is easing, more people are going out to eat. But how you handle doggie bags can have an impact on your health. Firsts of all, if you are having dinner before going to a movie or shopping, do not take leftovers. Perishable food needs to be refrigerated within two hours after it comes out of the oven or fridge. Since it probably took you about an hour to eat, you don't have much time to refrigerate the food. Second, bring the food directly home. The faster you get it into the fridge, the lower the chance that bacteria will grow. Third, you can refrigerate meat and poultry leftovers at 40°F or below for four days. Eggs and lunch meats can be stored in the fridge … [Read more...]

Charcoal Grill Safety Tips From Consumer Product Safety Commission

It's the first full da of summer, so it's appropriate that we discuss charcoal grill safety tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The second part of this discussion will cover food safety when grilling, which mostly involves using a thermometer, safe final internal food temperatures, and washing plates and utensils while cooking. Charcoal bags now have a food safety label, indicating that the use of that product is a carbon monoxide hazard. Put bluntly, burning charcoal inside can kill you. This heat source gives off carbon monoxide as it burns, which has no odor. Never ever burn charcoal inside homes, vehicles, or tents. In fact, you shouldn't even grill on a porch that has a ceiling. Furthermore, do not bring a charcoal grill inside the house to use for … [Read more...]

How Should You Handle and Cook Frozen Raw Breaded Chicken Breasts?

A new Salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 17 people is linked to frozen raw breaded stuffed chicken breasts. Sixty-two percent of these patients have been hospitalized because they are so sick. And unfortunately, this is not the first time a serious outbreak has been linked to these types of products. How should you handle and cook frozen raw breaded stuffed chicken? In Canada in 2018 and 2019, almost 600 people were sickened by a Salmonella outbreak linked to frozen raw breaded chicken. Also in 2018, an outbreak in the U.S. was linked to Ruby's Pantry frozen breaded raw chicken. In 2015, two outbreaks linked to these products that were made by Aspen Foods and Barber Foods sickened at least 20 people in the United States. And remember that in Salmonella outbreaks, case … [Read more...]

Memorial Day Grilling Food Safety Tips From the USDA

Memorial Day is next Monday, so the USDA is offering Memorial Day grilling food safety tips, to pros and beginners alike for the long weekend. Rates of food poisoning and food poisoning outbreaks increase in the summer months because bacteria grow faster in warm weather. In addition, cooking and eating food outdoors can be risky because people are tempted to take shortcuts to food safety. Sandra Eskin, USDA's Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety said in a statement, "Memorial Day marks the beginning of warmer weather and summer fun. Don’t let foodborne illness ruin the cookout –follow food safety guidelines like washing your hands, thoroughly cooking your food and checking food temperature with a thermometer." First, always use a food thermometer when you are cooking meat and … [Read more...]

How to Clean Fresh Fruits and Vegetables To Protect Yourself

As we head into the summer months in the Northern hemisphere, people start eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. And unfortunately, every year there are outbreaks linked to those products, from cyclospora to E. coli. As a matter of fact, fresh produce is one of the main ways people get sick from food poisoning, and one of the major causes of multistate food poisoning outbreaks. From Salmonella on peaches to E. coli on romaine lettuce to cyclospora on basil, these foods sicken thousands of people every year. While it's not possible to make these foods completely safe without cooking them to 165°F, you can reduce your risk by cleaning them properly before preparation. First, do not use soap or bleach or other disinfectants to clean fruits and vegetables. Because these items are … [Read more...]

FDA Releases Report on Deli Food Poisoning Risk Factors

The FDA has released a new report on deli food poisoning risk factors. This study is part of a 10-year initiative that looks at risk factors in retail settings, which include employee practices, personal hygiene, and food safety practices such as improper handwashing. Some deli foods, such as soft cheeses and sliced meats,  are considered high risk for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination, due to the difficulty of cleaning some equipment and the intrinsic makeup of these foods. The study highlights the importance of having a well-developed Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) and employing Certified Food Protection Managers, since delis with these procedures and employees are more likely to properly control foodborne illness risk factors. A well-developed FSMS was the … [Read more...]

Soaking Nuts Grains and Seeds in Cold Water Reduces Salmonella Risk

Soaking nuts grains and seeds in cold water reduces the risk of Salmonella growth, according to a new study from Oregon State University. Raw sprouts have long been considered a risky food because they are often contaminated with pathogens that can cause serious illness, and there is no "kill" step before they are eaten. These foods aren't exactly "sprouts," which are a known food safety risk, since the root doesn't emerge, but include grains, nuts, and seeds that are soaked so their hulls soften and the product swells. These products are made by soaking in room temperature water overnight. When the hulls swell, "anti nutrients" are reduced, which are compounds that reduce the human's body to absorb vitamins and minerals. These foods are then dried using low temperature and humidity … [Read more...]

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