All Posts In Food Safety

Get The Facts: Melon Safety

by in Food News, Food Safety, November 9, 2011
canteloupe
Is your melon safe?

The recent Listeria outbreak has made us aware that our food supply isn’t as safe as we may think. This isn’t the first time melon has caused illness or even death. Here’s a look at melon outbreaks and simple tips to keep your loved ones safe.

Past Melon Outbreaks
Sliced melon is no stranger to foodborne illness. It’s considered a potentially hazardous food, meaning a food that has the ability for bacteria to grow and thrive. One of the most memorable stories I can recall happened in 2000. A 2-year old girl fell ill and died after eating at a Milwaukee Sizzler. Although the girl never ate the E. Coli tainted ground beef, it was argued that the sliced melon she ate contained the bacteria. The alleged faux pas made during preparation was cross-contamination.

The recent outbreak of cantaloupe has shed light on the importance of keeping melon safe. As of today, 133 people have become ill and 28 have died throughout 26 states from Listeria-tainted cantaloupe. Although Jensen Farms in Colorado recalled the cantaloupes on September 14, symptoms of Listeria can take up to 2 months to appear. So the numbers can still go up through November.

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How Safe Is Your Supermarket?

by in Food Safety, Grocery Shopping, September 21, 2011

grocery store
We all buy food somewhere – from the grocery store, farmers’ market, membership clubs or specialty markets. These places must all follow food safety practices to keep food safe. Sadly, this isn’t always the case. Keep your eyes peeled for some of these frequent “ick” factors wherever you shop.

DIY Inspection
All establishments that sell food must adhere to food safety guidelines. They get inspected just like restaurants. During your next trip to the market, take a few minutes to visually inspect the premises yourself. Here are few things to take notice of:

  • Do the floors look clean?
  • Are spills being cleaned up immediately?
  • Is the canned food dusty?
  • Do the deli and other service counters appear clean?
  • Is the stock well organized?
  • Is food displayed within its expiration date?
  • Does the produce look fresh?
  • Are there signs of pests like mouse droppings or roaches?

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Packing a Safe Lunch

by in Back to School, Food Safety, August 31, 2011
kids looking into lunchbox
Feed them well, keep them safe.

A new study published in the August issue of Pediatrics may change the way you pack your child’s lunch this school year. Find out the shocking results and what you can do to keep your child safe from food-borne illness.

The Study
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin tested temperatures of pre-school lunches in 9 Texas day care centers. Lunches of 235 kids with at least one perishable food items were checked 90 minutes before lunch. The researchers also noted whether lunches contained ice packs. The results were astounding:

  • 39% of the lunches had no ice packs.
  • 45.1% of the lunches had at least 1 ice pack.
  • 88.2% of the lunches were found to be at a hazardous temperature.
  • 1.6% of perishable items checked were found to be safe.
  • Even lunches with multiple ice packs were found to be at unsafe temperatures.

This means that most kids (at least from the sample studied here) were eating food that was unsafe. This is especially scary since we’re talking about young children who are more susceptible to becoming sick from food bugs due to a weaker immune system. So what’s a parent to do to keep their kiddies safe?

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Food Safety News: No More Screening For E.Coli?

by in Food Safety, July 13, 2011

bacteria, e coli
Global food-borne illness outbreaks have been on the rise in recent years. So why is the U.S. considering putting an end to screening foods to make sure they’re free of some of the deadliest bacteria?

In The News
The LA Times reports the House of Representatives passed a bill last month to do away with funding for a 10-year old program that screens commonly contaminated produce for the presence of harmful bacteria. Now it’s on to the Senate.

This program has lead to nearly 20 food recalls over the last 2 years. Budget restraints and complaints of “unnecessary recalls” are being blamed for the possible reallocation of funds.

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Summer Picnic Menu

by in Food Safety, Healthy Recipes, May 25, 2011
Picnic Menu
Host a safe and healthy summer picnic with our best recipes and tips.

Divide and conquer at your next potluck picnic with these delicious and nutritious dishes. Don’t forget that warmer weather also increases the risk of food spoilage, so be sure to keep your food safe by following our simple tips.

Get our healthy picnic picks »

The Top 5 Foodborne Illnesses, and How To Avoid Them

by in Food News, Food Safety, May 13, 2011
Poultry is a top cause of foodborne illness -- here's how to handle it properly.
Poultry is a top cause of foodborne illness; wash your cutting boards and knives with soap and water before cutting up vegetables or ready-to-eat foods.

What’s really lurking in the food you eat? These days, lots of things. A newly-released study from the University of Florida found that the 14 most common food microorganisms kill more than 1,300 people each year and cost more than $14 million in health care dollars. Let’s stop these bad boys from making us sick (and costing us a fortune) — read up on the top 5 and what you can do to stop them.

The top 5 foodborne illnesses and how to stop them »

Healthy Debate: Should You Avoid Food Dyes?

by in Food News, Food Safety, April 7, 2011

sugary cereal

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is calling for a ban on several of the most common food dyes, citing studies that suggest they lead to hyperactivity in children. Last week, the FDA held hearings on the topic and concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to warrant a ban.  Here’s the latest on this hot debate.

Get the facts on food dyes »

Save or Toss: Shelf Life of Common Foods

by in Food Safety, April 1, 2011

stocked refrigerator

The time for spring cleaning has arrived — this includes your refrigerator, freezer and pantry! Confused on what should stay and what should go? We’ll tell you how long you can keep foods and when it’s time to toss them.

What to keep and what to toss »

What’s Really In Your Food?

by in Food News, Food Safety, January 27, 2011

food label

Taco Bell’s beef claim isn’t the only questionable marketing out there lately. Check out some other surprisingly shameless food claims, and find out what you can do about it.

4 processed food claims, debunked »

The Food Safety Bill: What It Means For You

by in Food News, Food Safety, December 10, 2010

caution

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that tens of millions of Americans become ill and thousands die from foodborne illnesses each year. With the rapidly increasing rate of foodborne illnesses hitting the United States, something needs to be done. That’s where the new food safety bill comes into play.

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