October 16, 2020

Baked Potatoes and Cooked Rice: Why Are They Risky?

Did you know that baked potatoes and cooked rice are potentially risky foods? Those foods seem so innocuous, but they both can cause serious illness if not refrigerated promptly and reheated properly before eating. Both of these foods are called TCS, which stands for time/temperature control for safety. For baked potatoes, the risk is botulism, but only if the potato is cooked and cooled while completely wrapped in aluminum foil. The foil can create a low oxygen environment where the pathogen can grow and produce the toxin. Potatoes are a low acid food, which puts them in the high risk category for botulism poisoning. In fact, a botulism outbreak linked to home canned potato salad served at a church picnic in 2015 sickened 21 people. One woman died. When you cook a baked potato … [Read more...]

Potatoes and Food Poisoning Outbreaks: Botulism and Listeria Monocytogenes

Potatoes aren't often thought of when people think about food poisoning. This root vegetable is, after all, always cooked before it's eaten, which would kill off any pathogenic bacteria. But this vegetable grows in soil and can be contaminated at any point along the supply chain. But there have been some outbreaks linked to potatoes. Clostridium botulinum outbreaks have been linked to baked potatoes that are wrapped in aluminum foil. The spores that produce this deadly toxin are found in the soil, and they can contaminate the spuds. The spores can sometimes survive the baking process. If the potatoes are baked while tightly wrapped in aluminum foil, that creates an anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment. And that creates the perfect conditions for botulism spores to germinate, grow, … [Read more...]

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