December 17, 2017

It’s Important to Use a Food Thermometer so the Food You Serve is Safe to Eat

Michigan State University has issued a post telling consumers that using a food thermometer is easy and important for your family's health. Most people don't use a food thermometer when cooking. Although about 62% of American consumers have a food thermometer in their kitchens, fewer than 10% actually use it. Any food that contains meat, poultry, fish, or eggs should be tested with a food thermometer before it is eaten to make sure that food has reached a safe final internal temperature. Using a thermometer is the only way to know that your food is thoroughly cooked and that it has reached a temperature that will destroy pathogenic bacteria. If your family has a member who is in a high risk group for food poisoning, this cooking step is even more important. Those in high risk … [Read more...]

USDA Says Grill Like a PRO

The USDA is offering tips on how to "Grill Like a PRO" this summer. That means using a thermometer to check the internal temperature of meats and poultry before you serve them. Research by the USDA and FDA found that only 24% of the public use a food thermometer when cooking hamburgers, and only 42% do so when cooking chicken. There have been many food poisoning outbreaks over the past few years linked to contaminated ground beef and chicken. Using a food thermometer is the only way to keep you and your family safe from food poisoning. P - Place the Thermometer! Put the thermometer probe into the thickest part of the meat. The probe should go in about 1-1/2 to 2". If you are cooking a thinner piece, such as hamburgers or chicken breasts, insert the thermometer from the side. Make … [Read more...]

Common Kitchen Food Safety Mistakes

Researchers at Institute of Food Technologies have released information on the five most common food safety mistakes consumers make in their kitchens. The team videotaped 120 consumers as they prepared a chicken and a salad at home. Most consumers felt they were handling and cooking the food correctly, but many made critical mistakes. The first was not washing hands before starting to prepare food. Hands should be washed with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before starting to cook, and dried with a paper towel, not a cloth towel that can become contaminated. The second mistake was washing chicken. When chicken is washed under running water, the bacteria aerosolizes and spreads up to 3 feet away. The bacteria then ends up in the sink and surrounding countertops, and some may … [Read more...]

Food Processors, Food Safety, the Law, and Common Sense

After the announcement of the Foster Farms raw chicken Salmonella outbreak, we realized there is a lot of misinformation out there about what contamination of food by pathogenic bacteria really means, both physically and legally. Reading comments on some other news stories really brought this point home. Most people do not understand why food safety experts and the law stress that food processors must produce safe food. The law states that companies are not allowed to sell food contaminated with enough bacteria to make someone sick. In addition, there is zero tolerance for several bacteria in certain foods: E. coli O157:H7 in beef; Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods, and Salmonella in ready-to-eat foods. The government has also classified six other STEC (shiga toxin-producing … [Read more...]

Stay Food Safe This Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is next week; many people celebrate with cookouts and barbecues. And the USDA wants you to stay safe and serve safe food. They've put out a video, infographics, fact sheets, and podcasts at FSIS' "Grill it Safe" webpage. View the video for safe grilling at YouTube. Be sure to follow the food safety rules of: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill whenever you prepare food. USDA's Under Secretary for Food Safety Elisabeth Hagen said, "We want to provide families with important information that will help reduce the risk of foodborne illness during their Fourth of July celebrations. Small children and the elderly are among the most vulnerable to foodborne illness, and this information is essential in protecting loved ones at family barbecues and picnics." Clean Bring … [Read more...]

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