October 15, 2019

CDC Says: Don’t Rinse That Chicken!

The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) is reiterating advice it has given before: don't rinse that chicken! Americans eat more chicken than any other meat, and chicken is often contaminated with Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Clostridum perfringens bacteria. Anyone who purchases raw chicken should handle it carefully to prevent food poisoning. Cooks and even cookbooks have told consumers to rinse chicken before cooking. But that advice is incorrect; don't rinse that chicken!  Bacteria can aerosolize under running water, and can contaminate everything within a 3-foot radius of the faucet. That means that the sink, countertop, and even you can be contaminated with pathogens if you rinse your chicken. The only thing that gets rid of bacteria on chicken is cooking it to … [Read more...]

FDA to Launch “New Era of Smarter Food Safety”

Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless and Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannas are announcing a "New Era of Smarter Food Safety" to help combat increasing cases of foodborne illness in this country.  It will incorporate elements and requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 with new and emerging technologies. This program will develop a "Blueprint for a New Era of Smarter Food Safety," which will address digital technologies, traceability, and food business models. One of the tools the press release lauds as a success in this type of model is the GenomeTrakr Network, which helps with investigations into foodborne outbreaks. One of the most important areas of foodborne illness investigation is traceability. Unless a contaminated food can be identified and then … [Read more...]

Coalition Files Lawsuit Against Iowa’s Ag-Gag Law

A coalition of food safety experts and public interest groups has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa to challenge the constitutionality of Iowa's new Ag-Gag law. This law is similar to another law in that state that was struck down on January 9, 2019. Ag gag laws have been passed in many farming states around the country in response to undercover work by animal activists. Undercover videos have recorded violent animal cruelty at some facilities. In 2012, a video recorded at Central Valley Meat in California resulted in the suspension of that facility's food registration for inhumane cattle treatment. That company supplied meat to the National School Lunch Program. The Central Valley Meats video showed downed dairy cows being shot in the … [Read more...]

Safe Recipe Style Guide Launched To Improve Cookbooks

A new tool for cookbook authors that is intended to improve  consumers' food safety behaviors at home has been launched. Safe Recipe Style Guide was issued by the Partnership for Food Safety Education. It will be used for any recipe writer and provides specific recipe text to address food safety issues in home kitchens. The Safe Recipe Style Guide addresses the four major areas of food safety violations that occur in home kitchens, including temperature, handwashing, cross-contamination, and produce handling. Studies have shown that when consumers follow recipes that incorporate these basic instructions, they increase food safety behaviors. For instance, when a recipe writer wants to address doneness tests, they could write, "Cook until internal temperature reaches XX (fill in … [Read more...]

GAO High Risk List Report Finds Food Plans Partially Met

The Government Accounting Office (GAO) has released its 2019 report on federal oversight of food safety, and the results are mixed. Food safety remains on the High Risk List, which is updated every two years. The safety of the U.S. food supply is covered by a system that includes 30 federal laws administered by 15 federal agencies. Federal oversight of food safety was added to the high risk list in 2007. The list is used to set agendas of agencies that are charged with oversight. The report states, "For more than four decades, we have reported on the fragmented federal food safety oversight system, which has caused inconsistent oversight, ineffective coordination, and inefficient use of resources. As of November 2018, two of the three recommendations to this high-risk area had … [Read more...]

New Study Finds Canadian Cookbooks Don’t Provide Food Safety Info

A new study, published in Food Control for June 2019, finds that meat and seafood recipes in some popular Canadian cookbooks do not provide adequate food safety information. The authors included 19 cookbooks that focused on meat and seafood.  The study was conducted at the Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety in the Department of Food Science at the University of Guelph in Ontario. The evaluated cookbooks were published from 2015 to 2017. In 2017, another study published in the British Food Journal found the same thing; no food safety information or incorrect info. Overall, the study found that "cookbooks are not a good source of reliable food safety information or safe food handling practices, and they do not encourage the reader to practice safe food handling during … [Read more...]

Winter Weather Food Safety Tips

Most people think about food poisoning during warm weather months, but food poisoning can happen any time of the year. In the winter, power outages are the issue. Foodsafety.gov is offering winter weather food safety tips. Winter storms and blizzards can cause power outages. When that happens, food in your refrigerator or freezer can become too warm, putting perishable products into the danger zone of 40°F to 140°F. In that temperature range, pathogenic bacteria can double in size every 20 minutes. If a power outage happens in your area, the first thing to remember is to keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A refrigerator will keep food at a safe temperature for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep food frozen for 48 hours. But if your freezer is … [Read more...]

CDC Warns Against Eating Raw Dough

Warnings against eating raw dough have been issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The holiday season is when most people bake sweets, and eating raw dough and batter is a fun thing to do. But it can make you very sick. People also often make doughs for crafts, such as making Christmas ornaments. Never use raw flour for those projects. There's a special warning, too, about the Salmonella outbreak that is linked to Duncan Hines cake mixes. Check your pantry to see if you have any of these recalled cake mixes. If you do, throw them away. The problem ingredients in cookie doughs and cake batters are eggs and flour. Eggs are often contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. And flour has been linked to E. coli outbreaks in the past. Flour is a raw agricultural … [Read more...]

Holiday Food Safety Tips From the CDC Can Help Keep You Safe

The holidays are here, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is offering some tips for food safety. At this time of year, food poisoning outbreaks, especially those caused by Clostridium perfringens, can increase. First, wash your hands. Wash them before, during and after preparing food; after touching raw meat or eggs or unwashed produce; before eating or drinking; after using the bathroom; before caring for someone who is ill; and before and after treating a cut or wound. Also wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; after touching an animal, animal food, or animal waste; and after handling garbage. Another holiday food safety tip: make sure that all of the food you cook is cooked to a safe final internal temperature. All ground meats … [Read more...]

Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips To Keep Your Family Safe

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday in the U.S. But the food associated with this holiday, especially the turkey and stuffing, aren't commonly made by most consumers, so there are food safety risks. Foodsafety.gov is offering help with Thanksgiving food safety tips. Safe turkey handling is especially important this year, with the CDC notice of a deadly Salmonella Reading outbreak that has sickened 160 people, hospitalized 93, and killed one person in California. Officials have named some types of Jennie-O ground raw turkey in association with this outbreak, and recalled those products, but have not identified any more brands or producers of turkey. That means it's up to the consumer to make sure the turkey is safely and properly prepared. These Thanksgiving food safety tips will … [Read more...]

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