December 10, 2016

Consumers Concerned About Drought Causing Higher Food Prices

The U.S. Agriculture Department has forecasted that food prices are going to rise next year because of the widespread summer drought. This summer's drought has been categorizes as severe, and is expected to destroy or damage a large portion of the corn crop throughout the country. The government said that retail price increases will begin this fall. Prices are expected to rise on beef, pork, poultry, and dairy. Drought conditions usually lead to herd culling because feed costs rise. The prices of packaged and processed foods will also increase, but this rise should take 10 to 12 months to move to retail pricing. If the farm price of corn rises by 50 percent, then retail food prices as measured by the Consumer Price Index will increase up to 1 percent. Last week, Agriculture Secretary … [Read more...]

Food Safety After A Flood

When in doubt, throw it out is a good rule of thumb for any situation where food safety is in question. That's one of the tips the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA’s FSIS) has included on its recommendations to residents of flood-ravaged southeastern Texas. Historic levels of rain have swamped Houston and surrounding areas and power has been knocked out in some neighborhoods. While Harris County tries to assess the extent of flood damage, USDA officials are hoping to minimize illnesses that are sometimes associated with weather emergencies. "Refrigerated and frozen foods may reach unsafe storage temperatures when homes lose electricity, and food is also unsafe to eat if it has come into contact with flood waters," USDA Under Secretary for Food … [Read more...]

What to Do When the Power Goes Out

Power outages can be scary and frustrating. When your home loses power because of a storm (or for no particular reason), there are certain food safety rules you need to follow. FoodSafety.gov has created fact sheets and charts to help you know when perishables are safe to keep after a power outage and when they should be discarded. Here's the first rule of thumb: If the power is out for no more than four hours, and you keep the refrigerator door shut, everything should be fine in that appliance. A full freezer will hold its temperature (which should be below 0 degrees Fahrenheit) for 48 hours if it's full, or 24 hours if half full. Again, keep the door shut. You can use block ice to keep the refrigerator cold if the power will be out longer than four hours. Place a 10 pound block of … [Read more...]

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