February 27, 2024

Alternate Turkey Preparation Methods From the USDA

The USDA is offering tips on alternate turkey preparation methods for the Thanksgiving holiday. If you choose to prepare turkey other than roasting it in the oven, read carefully to avoid food poisoning or injuries. Whatever method you use, make sure that the turkey reaches 165°F, a temperature that must be read with a reliable and accurate thermometer. First, do not cook the turkey in brown paper bags from the grocery store. That product can emit toxic fumes and may cause a fire. The ink, glue and recycled materials in brown paper bags are especially toxic. Electric Roaster Oven If you choose to use an electric roaster oven, the cooking times and temperatures should be the same as in a conventional oven. But always read the user manual for the manufacturer's instructions. The … [Read more...]

USDA Study on Consumer Food Preparation Behavior Highlights Risks

A USDA study on consumer food preparation behavior highlights the risks of not following food safety rules. The five year study looked at how consumers prepare meals in light of the risks of food poisoning. The study was produced by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) as part of their efforts to educate the public about safe food handling practices. USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Emilio Esteban said in a statement, "These studies are important for USDA to understand consumer behaviors in the kitchen and it is timely to be releasing the latest findings during Food Safety Education Month. The results allow us to shape food safety communications and help consumers safely prepare food." The three areas the study concentrated on were handwashing, thermometer … [Read more...]

Labor Day Weekend Food Safety Travel Tips From the USDA

Labor Day weekend food safety travel tips come from Jesus Garcia, Public Affairs Specialist with the Food Safety Education Staff with the USDA. While many people stay at home during this long holiday weekend, others travel, especially to campsites and to go on picnics. And food safety is even more critical when you are away from home. First pack perishable foods into your cooler directly from the fridge or freezer. You can pack meat and poultry products while they are still frozen. Put an appliance thermometer in your cooler to make sure that the food stays safe and cold at 40°F or below. The danger zone, when bacteria counts can double in food every 20 minutes, is from 40°F to 140°F. Keep raw meat and poultry away from cooked foods and produce that is eaten raw, in the cooler … [Read more...]

USDA Offers Guide to Food Safety For School Lunches

Yes it's that time of the year. The USDA is offering parents a guide to food safety for school lunches. There is an inherent risk in packing perishable foods for your child to take to school every day, but with these rules you need to follow you can make sure the food stays safe to eat. USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Emilio Esteban said in a statement, "While there have been huge strides in food safety, at least 48 million people in the U.S. are still affected by foodborne illness every year. Our children’s health and safety depend on the safe food handling practices we teach and practice at home." Food safety for school lunches starts in your kitchen. When you prepare food for your child's lunch, and your own too, follow the steps of clean, separate, cook, and chill. … [Read more...]

Celebrate the Fourth of July Without Foodborne Illness

Celebrate the Fourth of July this year without foodborne illness, with tips from the USDA about safe grilling. There are inherent risks that come with cooking in hot weather too. First, always wash your hands before cooking and handling and serving food. Handle raw meat with care, since it can be contaminated with pathogen bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter. Keep raw meats away from foods that are eaten uncooked such as raw fruits and vegetables. When you form hamburgers or season steaks, using a separate cutting board and plate. And wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching uncooked meat and poultry. If you marinate the meat or poultry, keep the used marinade away from other foods, and discard it when you put the … [Read more...]

Salmonella Grand Challenge Issued on World Food Safety Day

The USDA is issuing a Salmonella Grand Challenge on World Food Safety Day 2023. This challenge brings together scientists from different specialties to fight this pathogen, which causes more than 1,000,000 foodborne illnesses in American every year. The challenge tries to develop a more effective strategy to reduce human Salmonella illnesses linked to poultry. The USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is launching this new initiative to learn more about how and where Salmonella causes the highest risk of contamination in meat and poultry products. This will help researchers develop better monitoring tools to producers can detect Salmonella contamination. This pathogen is found everywhere, on animals, in food, water, soil, and even the air. ARS is going to integrate its … [Read more...]

Proposal to Declare Salmonella an Adulterant in Breaded Stuffed Chicken

The USDA has released their proposal to declare Salmonella an adulterant at "very low levels" in breaded stuffed raw chicken products. The announcement that a proposal was coming was made in August 2022. These types of products have been linked to many food poisoning outbreaks in the past several years. In fact, since 1998, raw breaded stuffed chicken products have been associated with up to 14 outbreaks and at least 200 illnesses. The last outbreak was in 2021, when 28 people in 8 states were sickened after eating Serenade Foods stuffed chicken products including Kirkwood and Milford Valley brands. This proposal builds on the USDA's proposed regulatory framework to reduce Salmonella infections linked to poultry products. Salmonella causes about 1.35 million human illnesses and … [Read more...]

USDA Starts Testing Ground Beef For Big Six E. coli Strains, O157

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has started testing ground beef, bench trim, and other raw ground beef components for Shiga toxin-producing E. coli strains (STEC) that are adulterants. They include the "Big Six" O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145 as well as O157. The testing started on February 1, 2023. This new program was announced in the Federal Register on June 4, 2020. Before this new program, the government only tested beef manufacturing trimmings for the Big Six and O157:H7. Otherwise, all raw beef products are tested for E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella bacteria. FSIS has also started testing for the non-O157 STEC in ground beef samples collected at retail stores and in samples of imported raw beef products. Any positive results will be subject to … [Read more...]

USDA Regulations to Reduce Poultry Linked Salmonella Illness

The USDA is proposal new regulations to reduce poultry linked Salmonella illnesses. The agency is hosting a public meeting virtually on November 3, 2022 to seek input from stakeholders. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that Salmonella causes about 1.35 million human infections and 26,500 hospitalizations in the United States every year. Of those infections, more than 23% are linked to poultry consumption. Data from the USDA's Economic Research Service shows that the total cost for foodborne Salmonella infections in this country is $4.1 billion every year. The cost for the loss of productivity to the economy is $88 million. USDA Deputy Under Secretary Sandra Skin said in a statement, "We know that Salmonella in poultry is a complex problem with no single … [Read more...]

Eating Plant Based Meat? You Must Still Cook it Thoroughly

Are you eating plant based meat? The USDA says that you must still cook all of these products thoroughly to 160°F, since any food can be contaminated with dangerous pathogens. In fact, food poisoning outbreaks linked to plants and plant products is quite common. To show that many outbreaks are not necessarily linked to meat or poultry, just this year, there has been a Salmonella outbreak linked to shelled peas in Wisconsin, a Salmonella Senftenberg outbreak linked to Jif peanut butter, a deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to Big Olaf Creamery ice cream, a hepatitis A outbreak linked to organic strawberries, and a deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to Dole salads. The market for plant based meats, especially replacements for burgers, is growing for several … [Read more...]

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