by Sally Wadyka in Food Safety, September 24, 2016
by Toby Amidor in Food Safety, May 27, 2016
When food falls on the floor, it’s always a judgment call as to whether that food goes into your mouth or into the trash. And many of us, when making that call, defer to the so-called “five-second rule” — that long-standing and widely accepted notion that if food spends five seconds or less on the floor it hasn’t had enough time to be contaminated by whatever bacteria is on the floor. But is the five-second rule based on any actual facts, or is it just a myth that we perpetuate every time we let our kids pick up and keep sucking on that lollipop they dropped?
Turns out, scientific research on the topic has been pretty limited … until now, that is. A team of researchers at Rutgers University’s School of Environmental and Biological Sciences put a variety of foods — watermelon, bread, bread with butter, and gummy candy — through their paces. They dropped them onto four different surfaces — carpet, stainless steel, ceramic tile and wood — and left them for less than one second, five seconds, 30 seconds and 300 seconds. All of the 128 possible scenarios were repeated 20 times; in the end, the researchers had a total of 2,560 data points to analyze. Read more
by Toby Amidor in Grocery Shopping, April 9, 2016
Many neighborhoods celebrate the warm weather by throwing block parties. Filled with tons of food, including burgers, hot dogs, steak, side salads, beverages and desserts, block parties make it tough to stick to a healthy eating plan. And with all that food and all those hungry hands, there’s also a chance of a food safety snafu. Before heading out to your local block party, keep these tips in mind — and share them with the neighborhood!
You can usually find some healthy bites at a block party if you go simple. Grilled corn on the cob (without gobs of butter), grilled chicken and watermelon can make a healthful, well-balanced meal. Oftentimes, however, you can’t help but take multiple servings of the broccoli salad laden with mayo — or try one of every protein cooked on the grill. Let’s also not forget about tossing back a few (or more!) beers, plus dessert. Don’t worry. You can tote along some of these healthy bites to your next block party to make things a little bit healthier: Read more
by Toby Amidor in Healthy Tips, February 14, 2016
Heading to the market to purchase meat? Before putting anything into your cart, you should always examine it to ensure that it is safe to eat. Here’s what you should be looking for.
by Amy Reiter in Food News, September 18, 2015
There’s a new type of packaging you may see your water come in — a box. But is drinking water from a box healthier than drinking good old bottled water?
by Sally Wadyka in Food Safety, April 18, 2015
The search for the next big superfood
Now that chain-store consumers are devouring acai, quinoa and chia seeds en masse, seekers of edgy new superfoods are scouring the world for the next big thing, something packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals … and coated with the allure of the exotic. Warning that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is probably sufficient for health and energy and that unusual foods can be unpredictable and even possibly harmful (for one thing, they may interact unfavorably with medicines), the Los Angeles Times lists a few superfoods gaining favor: Will moringa, E3 live blue-green algae, citicoline, freekeh, turkey tail mushroom or Sideritis be the next kale — or just a big fail? Time and tastes will tell.
by Toby Amidor in Food Safety, September 27, 2014
When you hear about an outbreak of foodborne illness, it usually involves a large food corporation or chain restaurant. But you may be just as likely — perhaps even more likely — to encounter food contamination in your own kitchen. “In general our food is very safe, but there are also things consumers can do help prevent problems,” says Jeannie Sneed, Ph.D., research professor at Kansas State University and author of a new study about how consumers’ food-handling habits can lead to food contamination.
Here, the biggest culprits in the kitchen — and what you can do to minimize the risk. Read more
by Toby Amidor in Food Safety, June 25, 2013
We often think those small bad habits in the kitchen are no big deal. But it’s the little things that can lead to food-borne illness. In honor of Food Safety Month (September!), here are five less-than-squeaky-clean practices worth quitting.
The Habit: reusing grocery bags
A survey conducted by the Home Food Safety program found that 85 percent of Americans aren’t washing their reusable grocery bags. The problem: Raw foods, including meat, chicken and eggs, leave potentially harmful bacteria inside those totes. And those bacteria can be transferred to produce if the same bag is reused without being cleaned. Read more
by Toby Amidor in Food News, Food Safety, January 9, 2013
Go ahead, open your fridge. How long have most of the items been in there? You’re probably thinking to yourself, when should they be tossed? Since the sniff test or a quick eyeball over isn’t the best way to make that determination, take a look at the guidelines and then get ready to keep or toss ‘em.
Your refrigerator and freezer are temporary storage facilities that can extend the shelf life of food. However, the food stored in your fridge and freezer can definitely spoil within a specific time frame. Here are guidelines for common foods but if you’re ever in doubt, toss the food out.
- Leftover baby food (jarred or canned): 2 to 3 days (refrigerator)
- Opened canned juices: 5 to 7 days (refrigerator)
- Fresh orange juice: 6 days (refrigerator) or 6 months (freezer)
- Opened sodas or carbonated beverages: 2 to 3 days (refrigerator)
- Soy or rice milk: 7 to 10 days (refrigerator); don’t freeze
by Toby Amidor in Food Safety, December 5, 2012
The government is finally moving forward with the biggest overhaul of food safety rules since the Great Depression—it’s about time! With major recalls in the past few years of melon and peanut butter, the safety of the U.S. food supply has been under major scrutiny. Food safety advocates are thrilled, but will these government plans really keep our food supply safe?
The Food Safety Modernization Act was signed into law by President Obama and hailed to be the first major overhaul in the safety of our food system in 70 years. The entire system shifts the focus to prevention rather than reaction when a problem occurs. There are 2 new rules proposed by the FDA that would govern about 80% of the U.S. food supply, excluding meat and poultry.
With cold and flu season upon us, it’s important to get the facts on how to prevent the spread of germs in and out of the kitchen. I had the pleasure to speaking with Jason Tetro – AKA The Germ Guy—where we discussed how to keep your kitchen safe, the calming effects of hand washing and why kids should eat dirt.
Q. How did you come to be known as the “Germ Guy?”
Back in 2008, I was asked by the local television station, CTV Ottawa to do regular question and answer segments on germs and our relationship with them in our daily lives. The host, Leanne Cusack, felt that my title, “University of Ottawa Microbiologist Jason Tetro” was a little too long and shortened it to “The Germ Guy.” The name stuck in the community and soon, I was better known by that moniker. I went on to develop my own blog and then became a contributor for the Huffington Post.
Q. I heard that you always wear a loose piece of clothing in order to help prevent the spread of germs. Can you explain?
One of the best ways to prevent infection is simply to avoid exposure through the nose and mouth. I tend to wear a loose undershirt so that when I am around someone who is obviously sick and not following proper etiquette – such as sneezing or coughing into the elbow – I take the matter into my own hands and cover my nose and mouth with the shirt. It’s come in handy in many places and thankfully, I’ve never been mistaken for a robber!