October 27, 2021

USDA Makes Effort to Reduce Poultry Salmonella Illnesses

The USDA announced a new effort to reduce poultry Salmonella Illnesses, to try to achieve a national target of a 25% reduction in those illnesses. Several "key activities" are being launched to gather data and information that is needed to support future action. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement, "Far too many consumers become ill every year from poultry contaminated by Salmonella. We need to be constantly evolving in our efforts to prevent foodborne illness to stay one step ahead of the bad bugs. Today we’re taking action to help prevent Salmonella contamination throughout the poultry supply chain and production system to protect public health." USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Sandra Eskin said, in a Consumer Federation of America Virtual National … [Read more...]

Is It Safe to Partially Cook Meat and Poultry Ahead of Time?

Labor Day is the last big grilling holiday of the summer season. Most Americans love to grill, and cook out whether at home or in a park. Grilling food safety tips are important for every person to know. But there's one question that is not often answered: Is it safe to partially cook meat and poultry ahead of time? Most people love to be able to prepare many foods ahead of time when they are entertaining. Salads, desserts, and side dishes are all easy to prepare ahead. But what about meats? While you can cut meat into serving sizes and marinate meats for added flavor and tenderness, you should never partially cook meat or poultry ahead of time to finish later, according to the CDC. This is not widely known and this fact is not often included in FDA or USDA grilling tips. The … [Read more...]

Consumer Advocates Call for Modernization of Poultry Food Safety

Consumer advocates, food poisoning survivors, scientists, and four major poultry producers are calling for the modernization of poultry food safety to reduce illnesses, according to Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). These groups want to meet with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to discuss a "modernized, science-based regulatory approach to ensure the food safety of poultry products." The four poultry products are Butterball, Perdue Farms, Tyson Foods, and Wayne Farms. The four consumer groups are CSPI, Consumer Federation of American, Consumer Reports, and Stop Foodborne Illness. Campylobacter and Salmonella infections make up 705 of the foodborne illnesses tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those pathogens are commonly found on … [Read more...]

Charcoal Grill Safety Tips From Consumer Product Safety Commission

It's the first full da of summer, so it's appropriate that we discuss charcoal grill safety tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The second part of this discussion will cover food safety when grilling, which mostly involves using a thermometer, safe final internal food temperatures, and washing plates and utensils while cooking. Charcoal bags now have a food safety label, indicating that the use of that product is a carbon monoxide hazard. Put bluntly, burning charcoal inside can kill you. This heat source gives off carbon monoxide as it burns, which has no odor. Never ever burn charcoal inside homes, vehicles, or tents. In fact, you shouldn't even grill on a porch that has a ceiling. Furthermore, do not bring a charcoal grill inside the house to use for … [Read more...]

Don’t Put Frozen Food Outside During Power Outages Even if it’s Cold

There are major power outages in large swaths of the United States as a result of freezing temperatures and severe weather, and some bad food safety advice is circulating. When it's cold outside and you are worried about frozen food thawing and spoiling, you may be tempted to put the food outside to keep it frozen. That's a bad idea. Don't put frozen food outside. Even if there's snow on the ground and icicles hanging from your roof, outside temperatures can vary wildly. Frozen food is only safe if it stays below 0°F. Snow and ice will be present on the ground until the air temperature gets above 32°F, and even warmer temperatures than that. This fluctuation can cause thawing and freezing in your frozen food, causing loss of quality and perhaps even the growth of pathogenic … [Read more...]

USDA Withdraws Controversial Poultry Line Speed Rule

On Friday, January 22, 2021, the USDA withdrew a controversial poultry line speed rules from the previous administration that would have rolled back line-speed standards at poultry plants. The first such proposal was made by the Obama administration in 2012. At the time, and over the last nine years, food safety experts and consumer advocates have opposed increasing these speeds, which whip poultry carcasses past inspectors at three birds per second. Executive Director of Food and Water Watch's Wenoah Hauter, said in a statement, "Such speeds would have made it nearly impossible for inspectors to properly due their jobs and ensure food safety and public health." She continued, "We’re pleased that the Biden administration has resisted the bidding of the immensely powerful … [Read more...]

USDA Releases Consumer Info on Preparing Frozen Foods Safely

The USDA has released consumer information on preparing frozen foods safely. New research reveals that consumers may not know how to safely cook these foods, which can put families at risk of contracting a foodborne illness. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, consumers are preparing more foods at home. It's important that all cooks, especially beginners, read product labels so they understand how to properly prepare these frozen foods. Don't rely on appearance. Some foods are not fully cooked or ready to eat. That can cause confusion, especially if the food is breaded or if it has grill marks. In a recent USDA study, 22% of consumer's said that a not ready to eat frozen chicken entree was either cooked, partially cooked, or they weren't sure, when the entree was actually … [Read more...]

Drift From a Poultry Farm Moved Aerosols Onto Nearby Almond Orchard

A new study has shown that drift from a poultry farm moved aerosols onto a nearby almond orchard and altered the leaf microbiome. The study was published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Raw almonds have been linked to Salmonella outbreaks in the past. There were also outbreaks linked to raw almonds in 2000 and 2005 in California, and in 2012 in Australia. The movement of pathogens from animal operations into adjacent plant crop fields is not well characterized. The study showed that dust and bioaerosols moved from a commercial poultry operation a short distance into an almond orchard. The scientists found that the microbiome on the leaves was altered. The study was conducted over a two year period. Swabs of orchard soil surface and air, soil, and almond leaf samples … [Read more...]

Stop Foodborne Illness, CSPI Call For Poultry Safety Modernization

The food safety agencies Stop Foodborne Illness and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) are calling for poultry safety modernization to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter infections in poultry. Those agencies believe that the USDA's regulatory framework lags behind advances in science and technology and doesn't reflect the best. practices to prevent illness from poultry. Stop Foodborne Illness CEO Mitzi Baum said in a statement, "To their credit, FSIS, academic experts, and many poultry industry leaders recognize the poultry safety problem and are working on solutions. Consumers rightfully expect, however, that FSIS build today’s best practices into its regulatory system so they can become common practices. Outbreaks linked to poultry products have occurred … [Read more...]

Backyard Poultry Salmonella Outbreak Sickens 97 in 28 States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a report about a backyard poultry Salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 97 people in 28 states. This is not the first such outbreak; many of these outbreaks have been identified in the past few years. One of the issues is that Salmonella bacteria can be naturally present in chickens, even inside hen's ovaries, which then produce contaminated eggs. The pathogen is Salmonella Hadar. Seventeen people have been hospitalized because they are so sick. And 30% of ill persons are children younger than five. Epidemiologic evidence shows that contact with backyard poultry such as chicks and ducklings is the likely source of this outbreak. In interviews, 38, or 86% of 44 ill persons interviewed, said they had contact … [Read more...]

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