August 12, 2022

Bacteria Killing Packaging Can Keep Food Fresh Longer

Bacteria killing packaging that can keep food fresh for a longer period of time has been developed at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the United States. The smart packaging is biodegradable, sustainable, and kills harmful pathogens. In tests, the packaging extended the shelf life of fresh fruit by two to three days. The packaging is made from a type of corn protein called zein, which was combined with starch and other naturally derived polymers. The scientists added natural antimicrobial compounds that included oil from thyme and citric acid. When the fibers in the packaging were exposed to an increase in humidity or to enzymes derived from pathogens, they released antimicrobial compounds. Those compounds … [Read more...]

It’s Not Safe to Store Food Outside During the Cold Winter Months

So it's cold outside, and your refrigerator and freezer are packed after a shopping trip. Is it safe to store food outside during these cold winter months? Or even cool down perishable foods like cooked meats or gravy? According to experts, no. Even if you put the food on the porch or in your garage to keep it away from animals, you are taking a big risk, according to the experts at Penn State Extension. The issues are uncontrolled temperature fluctuation and possible contamination. The danger zone for bacterial growth in food is 40°F to 140°F. In this temperature range, bacterial counts can double every 20 minutes. And since it can take only ten E. coli bacteria, for instance, to make your very sick, food can become dangerous to eat very quickly. Your refrigerator should be … [Read more...]

Wild Bird Species Pose Campylobacter Contamination Risk to Crops

A new study conducted at the University of California Davis has found that some wild bird species can pose a Campylobacter contamination risk to crops. Scientists know that animals and birds can contaminate crops in the field. The study looked at different bird species and the bacteria they can spread. The risk is low but it does exist. The researchers found that birds such as starlings and blackbirds "that flock in large numbers and forage on the ground near cattle are more likely to spread pathogenic bacteria to crops like lettuce, spinach and broccoli." Insect eating birds are less likely to carry the kind of bacteria that make people sick. Campylobacter is the pathogen that these birds carry most often, while bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella, which have been linked to … [Read more...]

What is Cross Contamination and How Can You Prevent It?

We talk a lot about cross-contamination here at Food Poisoning Bulletin. Cross-contamination is simply transfer of pathogens from one food to another, or to a surface. It is responsible for many cases of food poisoning caused by pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella every year in the United States. So what is cross contamination and how can you prevent it? There are many different types of cross-contamination. It can occur while harvesting food, processing it, during transportation, while shopping, in the kitchen, and during food service. We are mostly concerned with consumer behavior here. Direct cross-contamination occurs from food to food contact. Indirect cross-contamination occurs when bacteria are transferred from your hands or utensils from one food to another. To … [Read more...]

Holiday Food Safety Tips From the CDC

These holiday food safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will help you celebrate and stay safe and healthy. Christmas and Hanukkah and Kwanza and New Years celebrations typically involve large meals and lots of entertaining. These gatherings warrant special food safety knowledge. Serving a large group of people brings inherent risk. First of all, large quantities of food, especially foods like gravies, can easily be contaminated with bacteria like Clostridium perfringens, which grows in anaerobic environments, like the centers of large batches of food. This pathogen produces a toxin that makes you sick. So it's imperative that you divide large batches of food into small, shallow containers after serving and refrigerate them as soon as possible. And … [Read more...]

Yearly Reminder: Don’t Eat Raw Cookie Dough or Cake Batter!

The holiday baking season has begun, and it's time for the yearly reminder: don't eat raw cookie dough or cake batter! There are two specific ingredients in those recipes that can make you very sick: raw flour and raw eggs. The only way to destroy those pathogens is with heat. Pathogens such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes are destroyed when they are heated to 160°F. While it may seem counterintuitive that a dry product such as flour can contain pathogens, flour is a raw agricultural product. It can be contaminated in the field, during harvest, or transport, or during processing just like leafy greens or other produce. There have been many recalls of flour for pathogen contamination, and several serious multistate outbreaks linked to that product. E. coli … [Read more...]

Planning to Fry Your Holiday Turkey? Safety First

Are you planning to fry your holiday turkey? If you are, there are some things you need to know. There have been many accidents and injuries associated with this type of cooking over the years. Learn how to fry a turkey safely with these tips. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says that cooking fires are the number one cause of residential fires. And turkey fryers pose particular risks. Since 1998, there have been reports of 222 fire or scald/burn incidents involving turkey fryers. These incidents resulted in 83 injuries and $9.7 million in property loss. To protect yourself, only fry a turkey outside and well away from your home. Prince William County has more tips on turkey frying. While Thanksgiving is the peak day for home fires caused by cooking, Christmas and … [Read more...]

Keep Thanksgiving Leftovers Safe With Tips From the USDA

It's Thanksgiving. One of the best parts of this holiday is leftovers. So you should know how to keep Thanksgiving leftovers safe with these tips from the USDA. When you take foods out of the oven or refrigerator, set a timer and follow the two hour rule. That means that all perishable items such as the turkey, stuffing, side dishes, and desserts should be refrigerated within two hours after coming out of those appliances. After two hours, these foods enter the "danger zone" between 40°F and 140°F, where bacteria can double every 20 minutes. Then, even if you thoroughly reheat those foods, the bacteria could have produced toxins that are not destroyed by heat and can still make you sick. When you break down the foods from the meal, put them into shallow containers so they cool … [Read more...]

Prepare Your Holiday Turkey Safely with Tips From the CDC

It's almost Thanksgiving! Prepare your holiday turkey safely with tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Since turkey can be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria, it must be handled carefully. First of all, store the turkey properly. It should be stored in the freezer until you are ready to thaw it. Do not store a turkey in a car trunk, in snow, or on the back porch. At this point it's too late to properly thaw a large frozen turkey in the fridge, but you can cook it from the frozen state. It takes 24 hours of thawing in the refrigerator for each four to five pounds of turkey. Never ever thaw a turkey or any meat on the counter. The meat will remain in the danger zone of 40°F to 140°F too long, and bacteria will multiply. At room temperature, bacterial … [Read more...]

FDA’s Food Safety and Nutrition Survey Report Released

The FDA's Food Safety and Nutrition Survey, the agency's probability consumer survey designed to assess consumer awareness, knowledge, understanding, and self-reported behaviors regarding food safety, has been released for 2019. The survey was launched to help the FDA make informed regulatory, education, and policy decisions to protect public health. The survey was a mail-push to web methodology. The population includes adults who live in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. A total of 4,398 responses were collected during ht months of October and November 2019. Before this methodology change, FDA consumer surveys were conducted using phone interviews. The key findings on food safety include consumer knowledge about where they think they may contract food poisoning, … [Read more...]

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