September 10th, 2013
02:30 AM ET
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Home cooks have been all a-cluck over recent guidance not to wash raw chicken before it's prepared and cooked. While it may seem counterintuitive, food safety resources like the United States Department of Agriculture's "Ask Karen" website advise:

"Washing poultry before cooking it is not recommended. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can be spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces. We call this cross-contamination.

Some consumers think they are removing bacteria and making their meat or poultry safe. However, some of the bacteria are so tightly attached that you could not remove them no matter how many times you washed. But there are other types of bacteria that can be easily washed off and splashed on the surfaces of your kitchen. Failure to clean these contaminated areas can lead to foodborne illness. Cooking (baking, broiling, boiling, and grilling) to the right temperature kills the bacteria, so washing food is not necessary."

The same goes for beef, pork, lamb and veal. Eggs, too, can incur an uptick in potential contamination, because according to the USDA, "the wash water can be 'sucked' into the egg through the pores in the shell."

So why did we all start bathing our birds in the first place? Probably because Julia Child, James Beard, Bettie Crocker, Fannie Farmer, Margaret Mitchell and the "Joy of Cooking" told us - and our parents and grandparents - to.
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September 4th, 2013
08:45 PM ET
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[Editor's note: The story has been updated to include developing new recall information.]

Chobani, the maker of a popular brand of Greek-style yogurt, announced that the company has voluntarily recalled some of its yogurt from store shelves in response to customer complaints about swollen or bloated packages. A statement released Thursday indicates that some instances of illness have been reported.

The New Berlin, New York-based company released a statement Wednesday on its blog saying in part:

"Our thorough investigation has identified a type of mold commonly found in the dairy environment. The product in question is less than 5% of our production and is limited to products produced at our Idaho facility, which accounts for only one third of our production capacity."

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Filed under: Dairy • Food Safety • Health News • News • Recalls • Tainted Food


August 13th, 2013
11:15 AM ET
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A farm linked to the recent outbreak of cyclospora has stopped sending lettuce to the United States, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Taylor Farms de Mexico "voluntarily suspended production and shipment of any salad mix, leafy green, or salad mix components from its operations in Mexico," the FDA website says. The company says it will not sell these products again until it receives FDA approval.
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Filed under: Cyclospora • Food Safety • Health News • Recalls • Tainted Food • Vegetables


August 5th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
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Diners at Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants in Iowa and Nebraska caught an intestinal illness after eating salad mix that came from Mexico, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The federal agency said its investigators have traced the outbreak to four "illness clusters" of restaurants, which spokeswoman Theresa Eisenman later identified to CNN as Red Lobster and Olive Garden locations. The probe didn't find indications that any bags of salad mix with the rare type of parasite - known as cyclospora - were sold at U.S. grocery stores.

The tainted salad mix came from Taylor Farms de Mexico, "a processor of foodservice salads," according to the FDA.

Darden - the parent company for Olive Garden, Red Lobster and other restaurant chains such as LongHorn Steakhouse - described the August 2 announcement from the FDA as "new information."

Read - Salad eaten at restaurants in Iowa, Nebraska blamed for illness outbreak

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Filed under: Food Safety • Health News • News • Tainted Food • Video


More than 50,000 pounds of beef recalled due to E. coli concerns
August 1st, 2013
11:00 AM ET
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A Kansas company is recalling about 50,000 pounds of ground beef products over fears of E. coli contamination.

The National Beef Packing Co. products, which were shipped nationwide, may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Wednesday.

There have been no reported cases of illness.

In an online statement Wednesday, National Beef Packing Co. reported "a voluntary recall for NatureSource Natural Beef, Naturewell Natural Beef and National Beef commodity ground beef." It said the meat was produced on July 18 and has a use by/freeze by date of August 7.

"We are working closely with authorities to investigate this matter and are contacting our customers who have purchased this product," the company said.

Read - Kansas company recalls 50,000 pounds of ground beef products

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Filed under: E. coli • Food Safety • Health News • Meat • Recalls • Tainted Food


July 25th, 2013
01:15 PM ET
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A surprise inspection by the Centers for Disease Control has resulted in a failing grade for one of the plushest cruise ships afloat.

According to a report by the CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program, the cruise ship Silver Shadow was cited repeatedly for using an "organized effort" to remove 15 trolleys of food from the ship's galley to individual crew cabins to "avoid inspection."
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Don't get sick from your picnic
July 18th, 2013
01:00 PM ET
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Outdoor eating is one of the greatest joys of summertime. Unfortunately, the escalated temperatures and lack of access to clean water can significantly bump up picnickers' chances of contracting a foodborne illness like salmonella, campylobacter or listeria.

About 48 million people contract some form of food poisoning each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so don't spoil your summer! Just take these four simple steps to stay safe and well-fed all season long.
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July 18th, 2013
09:15 AM ET
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The headmistress of the Indian school where poisoned lunches killed 22 students is on the run.

Local police chief Sujit Kumar said authorities are looking for the principal, who was not named, and her husband for questioning.

The students started vomiting soon after their first bite of rice and potatoes Tuesday at the school in the northeastern state of Bihar. Some fainted.

On Thursday, 25 people remained hospitalized - including 24 students and the school's cook, whose accounts of the incident are under scrutiny.

Bihar state Education Minister P.K. Shahi said the children were poisoned by an insecticide that was in the food.
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July 17th, 2013
10:45 AM ET
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At least 22 schoolchildren died in northeastern India after eating free school lunches that contained a poison, a state official said.

More than 25 others have been hospitalized in Bihar state, said Education Minister P.K. Shahi, after ingesting an insecticide that was in the food.
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