October 23, 2016

Stay Food Safe This Fourth of July

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)  and USDA are offering tips to Americans to stay food safe this Fourth of July holiday weekend. Outdoor cooking can include special hazards that can make you and your guests sick. First, grill like a PRO. Whenever you are cooking meats on the grill, whether they are burgers, chicken, steaks or ribs, use a food thermometer. First, PLACE the thermometer in the thickest part of the meat. If you are cooking a thinner piece of meat such as hamburgers, insert the thermometer from the side. Then, READ the temperature. Wait about 10 to 20 seconds for an accurate reading. For beef, pork, lamb, and veal steaks, roasts and chops, meat should reach a temperature of 145°F with a three minute rest time to be safe. Ground meats should be … [Read more...]

Sending Food This Holiday Season? Pack it Safely.

Foodsafety.gov is offering tips for safely sending food through the mail this holiday season. If the food you are packing is perishable, food poisoning is a risk. And if you are ordering food from a company, you should make sure they understand how to handle perishable goods. When ordering from a company, make sure that they send meats, poultry, and processed foods such as salads and potatoes, cold or frozen and packed with a cold source. The preferred cold source is dry ice to keep the package temperature as low as possible. The food should also be packed in a foam container or a heavily corrugated cardboard container to hold in the cold. And the food should be delivered as quickly as possible, preferably overnight. If you are packing food yourself to send through the mail, … [Read more...]

Memorial Day and Summer Holiday Food Safety Tips from the FDA

The FDA has released tips on eating safely this Memorial Day. Safe food handling when eating outdoors is important and can be tricky. When you are transporting food for a picnic or potluck, make sure to keep cold food cold and hot food hot. Cold food should be stored at temperatures below 40°F to prevent bacterial growth. You can pack meat, poultry, and seafood while still frozen so they stay colder longer. Organize cooler components. A plain picnic basket usually isn't insulated enough to hold perishable foods. Use two coolers, with beverages in one and perishable foods in another. As people take out drinks, they won't expose food to warm outdoor temperatures. Keep coolers closed too. Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood wrapped and separate from foods that will be eaten raw. … [Read more...]

USDA Offers Tips for a Safe Holiday Season

The USDA is offering tips to help keep your holiday season safe. Whether you're entertaining at home or carrying food to a potluck, there are rules you need to follow to make sure the food you have prepared and are serving doesn't make someone sick. First, if you have specific concerns, call the USDA Meat and Poultry hotline at 1-888-674-6854 or chat with a food safety speciality at AskKaren.gov. When shopping, make sure you keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs away from other foods in the cart. Buy cold and frozen foods last so they stay cold. And always place raw meat, poultry, and seafood in a separate bag at checkout. Go home immediately after you are finished shopping so food doesn't get to unsafe temperatures in the trunk of your car. Make sure you follow the rules of … [Read more...]

USDA Offers Food Safety Tips for Fourth of July Celebrations

The USDA is offering food safety tips for Americans celebrating Independence Day. Salmonella infections can happen if you serve unsafe food that is not handled or prepared correctly. First, make sure you separate raw meat products from ready to eat raw foods in your shopping cart and on the way home. Put raw meat into bags and containers separate from produce, snack foods, and breads. Keep them separate in the fridge and as you prepare the food too. Always cook hamburgers to 160°F as measured by a food thermometer. Wash your hands before preparing food and often while working in the kitchen. And keep food cool; always refrigerate perishable foods within 2 hours at room temperature; one hour if the ambient air temperature is above 90°F. The only way of ensuring doneness of meats and … [Read more...]

Consumer Reports Offers Holiday Food Safety Advice

Consumer Reports is offering food safety advice when you're cooking some type of meat for the holidays. Ham, beef and pork roasts, turkey, and duck are usually only prepared once or twice a year, so most cooks are unfamiliar with the food safety risks posed by these foods. When buying meats from a stand-alone refrigerator case, don't take the package on top. And if the packages extend above the top of the case, there's a very good chance that meat has entered the temperature danger zone above 40 degrees F. Francis Largeman-Roth, R.D., said, "those cases only keep things truly cold as far as the walls of the case go up." Store these large cuts of meat properly. A fresh turkey should be stored in the refrigerator for only one or two days.  Pork and beef roasts can be in the fridge for … [Read more...]

USDA Offers Tips on Sending Care Packages to U.S. Military

This holiday season, many people are sending care packages to those in the U.S. military who can't be home. The USDA is offering tips about the best things to mail and how to make sure the foods you send stay safe to eat. Food gifts that are mailed should not be perishable. The foods should also be able to tolerate a range of temperatures and not break even with rough handling. The recommended foods for mailing include dried products such as jerky and fruits, shelf stable canned foods, and condiments such as hot sauce that could be used to add flavor to MREs. Homemade cookies, candy, and low-moisture breads and bar cookies are also recommended. Mail order foods are a good choice too. Any shelf stable food that you can order online can be sent to military personnel. Those foods … [Read more...]

Stay Food Safe This Fourth of July

Several organizations are publicizing food safety for the Fourth of July holiday. The non-profit group Partnership for Food Safety Education has released several videos called Ugly Bug to remind consumers to cook chicken to 165 degrees F, to cook burgers to 160 degrees F, and to avoid cross-contamination by using clean plates to hold cooked food. Eatright.org has released information about food safety as well. Always clean the grill before you cook, and wash your hands frequently before preparing food, during preparation, and before you eat. Don't use the same utensils for cooked and raw foods. Always use a food thermometer to determine when food is cooked; you can't use other methods, such as visual or textural cues to tell that food is safe to eat. Never let perishable foods sit out … [Read more...]

More Holiday Food Safety Advice from the FDA

The FDA is offering holiday food safety advice to help keep you and your family safe and healthy during the season. They have several food safety videos, a food safety success kit, and information about ready-to-cook foods, and general tips. If you are hosting a party or a meal for anyone in a high risk group, it's critical that you are very careful about food safety. Those people include older adults, infants, young children, pregnant women, people with any chronic illness such as HIV/AIDS and cancer, and those who take medication to suppress their immune systems. Following the four basic food safety measures to the letter can help prevent foodborne illness. Always keep everything clean, separate foods to avoid cross-contamination, cook foods to a safe final internal temperature, … [Read more...]

Holiday Leftovers Storage Times and Tips

After the holidays, many people have lots of leftovers in their fridge. Using them up makes good sense economically.  But how long do these foods last? FoodSafety.gov has a convenient chart that will help you keep your family safe. Most cooked meats last three to five days in the fridge. After that time, they should be frozen for longer storage. Make sure you properly wrap the foods in freezer wrap and containers, label them, and freeze at 0 degrees F or below. Salads and side dishes last three to five days as well. Once you've properly stored leftovers, you must follow rules to thaw and reheat them safely. The USDA offers tips on this topic. Frozen foods can be reheated without thawing; the reheating time is just going to be longer. Be sure that leftovers reach 165 degrees F, and … [Read more...]

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