Food safety hampered by shutdown
October 13th, 2013
12:15 PM ET
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Caroline Smith DeWaal is food safety director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit watchdog and consumer advocacy group.

This week, a mother called us about her child hospitalized with a Salmonella poisoning from his day care's chicken lunch. The child's condition was tenuous, with a blood infection, and treatment was especially challenging as the bacteria was antibiotic resistant.

The mom turned to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, for information and help because key government's public health agencies and websites are shut down. Does this have an impact on food safety? You betcha!
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October 9th, 2013
06:00 PM ET
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture demanded that Foster Farms, the California company implicated in the Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak that has sickened over 250 people, respond by Thursday with how the company will fix the problem. The company has complied and submitted a plan to the agency.

In a letter obtained by CNN, a USDA official told the company since the beginning of the year “your establishment has had multiple regulatory non-compliances issued for insanitary conditions.”
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October 7th, 2013
11:30 PM ET
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A Salmonella outbreak linked to a California poultry producer has sickened approximately 278 people in 18 states, health officials say. As of Tuesday morning, no recall had been issued.

Raw chicken products from Foster Farms plants have been identified as the likely source of this outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg.
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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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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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