July 17, 2019

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...]

Clostridium Perfringens Warning As the Holidays Approach

A Clostridium perfringens outbreak sickened hundreds of people who ate at the Poplar Tent Presbyterian Church BBQ on November 1, 2018. The Cabarrus Health Alliance reported that at least 290 people had reported symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea after that event. The bacteria that caused the illness was identified as Clostridium perfringens after food samples were tested. The bacteria was fond in the Brunswick stew. Clostridium perfringens outbreaks are common around the holidays, because the bacteria grows in food prepared in quantities. When gravies or stews are not kept at a safe temperature, the bacteria easily grows. These outbreaks happen when large groups gather, such as events with catered food, nursing homes, schools, and hospitals. So how can you prevent these … [Read more...]

Thanksgiving Turkey Food Safety Tips From the CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is offering Thanksgiving turkey food safety tips, especially about your holiday turkey. This year, a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Reading has sickened at least 164 people in 35 states, hospitalized 63 of those patients, and killed one person in California. The statement says, "Food handling errors and inadequate cooing are the most common problems that lead to poultry-associated foodborne disease outbreaks in the United States." You need to know that most poultry products sold in this country are contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. For instance, Consumer Reports found that 97% of the chicken breasts they purchased were contaminated. So it's up to the consumer to protect himself. Here are the Thanksgiving food safety steps you … [Read more...]

Do You Have Meal Kits or Food Delivered? Here’s How to Keep It Safe

Do you have meal kits or food delivered to your home? This practice has exploded over the past few years. Many companies offer these services. Consumers can order food delivered from the grocery store, or order kits with preprepared food that are just assembled and heated. All this convenience is nice, but how do you make sure that those foods are safe? The CDC has some answers. All perishable foods, which include meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and chopped or sliced fruits or vegetables, must be stored at a safe temperature to control bacterial growth. That temperature is 40°F or below. It's up to the company to pack the food and include ice packs or insulation to make sure that the food is safe. Meal Kits Delivery Steps Before you order, ask questions. Find out how the … [Read more...]

What Is the Best Way to Wash Fruits and Vegetables?

Consumers are understandably nervous about the new romaine lettuce growing season in the Yuma, Arizona region after the large E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that was linked to that product earlier this year. In that outbreak, 210 people were sickened, and 96 people were hospitalized. Five people died. So how should you, and can you, wash fruits and vegetables to help get rid of pathogens? The FDA and CDC never did solve this outbreak, and never identified a single farm or product that caused the illnesses. They did, however, find that canal water that may have been used for irrigation or to dilute crop chemicals was contaminated with the outbreak strain. One of the issues with that outbreak was that most of the illnesses were caused by chopped romaine. Lettuce from many different farms … [Read more...]

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