Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘food safety’

cleaning-sanitizing-1

The Centers for Disease Control (2011) estimates that there are about 48 million cases of food borne illnesses every year. Fortunately, most of us can experience a foodborne illness with little or no symptoms. For others, severe cases of vomiting, diarrhea, and even death can occur. Certain groups are more at risk for severe illness: the very young, the elderly, pregnant women, and those who have weakened immune systems due to illness.

A recent Center for Science in the Public Interest report suggests that although restaurants are the number one location for reported foodborne illnesses, private homes are second. Restaurants serve a high volume of people making them susceptable to food borne illness, so are held to extremely high safety standards which we don’t always adhere to at home. Practicing poor personal hygiene, contaminating ready-to-eat food with raw meat juices, not cooking foods to proper temperatures, and not storing foods properly are all culprits when people get sick from their very own kitchens.

One critical food safety practice that restaurants adhere to but we as consumers often neglect is cleaning AND then sanitizing all food contact surfaces. Cleaning involves removing dirt from surfaces using soap and water. Sanitizing involves reducing germs to safe levels on a food contact surface by applying chemicals or heat. Both cleaning and sanitizing are important steps to keep food safe. If you don’t clean, your sanitizer won’t work well and you’ll still have germs. If you don’t sanitize, you’ll have a clean surface full of germs.

According to a new Ohio State University Extension factsheet entitled “Cleaning and Sanitizing in the Kitchen: Using inexpensive household food-safe products” there are several points to consider when cleaning and sanitizing:

  • Cleaning and Sanitizing should be considered BEFORE and AFTER food preparation on a daily bases if you live with those who are at risk for foodborne illness and/or if you have a pet that climbs on counters. Otherwise, you’ll need to think about what is best given your situation.
  • When cleaning with soap and water, make sure to rinse with clean water and air dry or dry with a paper towel. Soap residue can reduce the effectiveness of a sanitizer.
  • When sanitizing, leave the sanitizer on the surface for the recommended amount of time. Allow it to air dry or dry with a paper towel.

Unfortunately, commercial sanitizers are often expensive and not always eco-friendly. Consider using the following inexpensive household products as sanitizers:

  •  Diluted Chlorine Bleach (6.1%) Solution – Mix 1 scant teaspoon with a 1 quart of room temperature water and apply to food contact surface for 1 minute. This solution can be kept in a spray bottle for one week. Chlorine bleach will kill Listeria, E.coli, and Salmonella.
  • Undiluted Hydrogen Peroxide (3%) – Apply warm (130 degrees) for 1 minute or apply at room temperature for 10 minutes. The warm method is more effective against Listeria and so should be considered if preparing food for pregnant women.
  • Undiluted White Distilled Vinegar (5%) – Apply warm (130 degrees) for 1 minute or apply at room temperature for 10 minutes. The warm method is more effective against Listeria and E. Coli but both methods are effective at preventing Salmonella.
  • Baking Soda has not been proven to be an effective sanitizer.

Sources

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/kitchen-sanitize.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/2011-foodborne-estimates.html#annual

http://cspinet.org/reports/outbreakalert2014.pdf

Author:

Dan Remley, Assistant Professor

Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness

OSU Extension

Reviewer:

Marilyn Rabe

Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Franklin County rabe.9@osu.edu

Read Full Post »

Grocery store shelfAre you being tricked at the grocery store? Are you sure products you are buying really are as healthy as they claim?

Many consumers are tricked by words on the label and ingredients in food into making choices which cost more money but may not be the healthiest choices. Watch out for these tricks of the trade by companies:

• Companies add vitamins and minerals to junk food or plain water. Thus, junk food appears healthier. Skip expensive waters and drink plain water. If you need vitamins and minerals take a daily vitamin pill.

• Companies use flavorings, colorings and other ingredients to create fake berries or other fruit. Check ingredients to make sure real fruit is in the product.
• Colorings and flavorings are also used in beverage drinks so you will pay more and not realize you are not getting fruit or very little fruit. Read labels to find and buy only 100% juices.

• Monosodiumglutate and hydrolyzed vegetable protein are used so companies can skimp on the real food. These usually help with meaty flavors. Check ingredients to avoid or limit these.

• Transglutaminase (enzyme) allows companies to put some pieces of meat together so it appears as a larger steak. Make sure your steak is one piece of meat.

• Companies want you to drink more soda so they add caffeine as it is mildly addictive. Drink water.

• Carotenoid Colorings such as canthaxanthin and astaxanthin are added to make farmed salmon pinker, so it looks more like expensive wild salmon. Check the ingredients or ask if “wild caught” or “farmed.”

Beware of some words such as “real, fresh, simple, premium and artisanal. “ These words do not have defined meanings in the food industry.

Real conveys the image of no fake or chemical ingredients. However, real doesn’t have to be chemical-free or not be processed food.

Fresh does not have a time period associated with it according to the Food and Drug Administration. Fresh means the food cannot have been frozen or preserved.

Simple can have multiple meanings. We think it means less processed and less ingredients. However, the food can include sugar and fat as part of the ingredients.

Premium is another word that does not have a meaning. It can trick you into thinking you are getting a better product or deal than you are.

Artisanal conveys the image of handcrafted baked goods and cheeses. Many grocery store products labeled “artisanal” are not produced by small-batch producers and may have many ingredients only used by larger producers. Check the ingredient lists.

Author: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension Fayette County

Reviewer: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension Wood County

References:

Jacobson, M. [2014]. Food Safety: Learn More about Food Additives with this Helpful Infographic What are additives used for and which should you avoid? Downloaded from Nutrition Action.Com Downloaded at http://www.nutritionaction.com/daily/food-safety/food-safety-learn-more-about-food-additives-with-this-helpful-infographic/?mqsc=E3775989&utm_source=WhatCountsEmail&utm_medium=Nutrition_Action_Daily_Tips+Nutrition%20Action%20Daily&utm_campaign=2014.07.19%20Daily%20Tip:%20Food%20Safety

Consumer Reports, [2014]. Consumer Reports: New food label gotchas, Downloaded at http://articles.courant.com/2014-07-12/business/hc-ls-consumer-reports-food-gotchas-20140712_1_new-food-label-consumer-reports-food-packaging

Read Full Post »

My Dad used to tease us, as children, with the famous line, “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!”  Well, now is the time to enjoy!  What’s YOUR favorite flavor?

I often wondered, where did that phrase come from, anyway?  According to Stanford University, “Ice Cream” or “I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream” is a popular song, first published in 1927, with words and music by Howard Johnson, Billy Moll, and Robert King. After initial success as a late 1920s novelty song, the tune became a traditional jazz standard, while the lyrics refrain “I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream” has remained a part of popular culture even without the rest of the song.

I love making ice cream at home! It is delicious and I sometimes feel it is becoming a lost art and a lost pleasure.  But, every year homemade ice cream causes several outbreaks of Salmonella infection with up to several hundred victims at church picnics, family reunions, and other large gatherings. From 1996 to 2000 (the latest year for which surveillance was completed), 17 outbreaks resulting in more than 500 illnesses in the United States were traced to Salmonella bacteria in homemade ice cream, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The ingredient responsible for the outbreaks is raw or undercooked eggs.

FoodSafety.gov offers this advice:

Cooking the Egg BaseCorrect size

Start with a cooked egg base for ice cream. This is especially important if you’re serving people at high risk for foodborne infections: infants, older adults, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems.

To make a cooked egg base (also known as a custard base):

  • Combine eggs and milk as indicated in the recipe. (Other ingredients, such as sugar, may be added at this step.)
  • Cook the mixture gently to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F, stirring constantly. The cooking will destroy Salmonella, if present. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the mixture. At this temperature, the mixture will firmly coat a metal spoon (but please don’t lick the spoon if the custard is not fully cooked!).
  • After cooking, chill the mixture before adding other ingredients and freezing.

Other Options

You can also use egg substitute products or pasteurized eggs in your ice cream, or you can find a recipe without eggs.

  • With the egg substitute products, you might have to experiment a bit with the recipe to figure out the right amount to add for the best flavor.
  • Pasteurized eggs can be substituted in recipes that call for uncooked eggs.  Commercial pasteurization of eggs is a heat process at low temperatures that destroys any Salmonella that might be present, without having a noticeable effect on flavor or nutritional content. These are available at some supermarkets for a slightly higher cost per dozen. Even if you’re using pasteurized eggs for your ice cream, both the FDA and the USDA recommend starting with a cooked egg base for optimal safety.

So, by following these safe handling and proper cooking practices, you can enjoy refreshing, tasty homemade ice cream without worrying about making anyone sick!

Another option for a fun day with the family with children is to make Ice Cream in a Bag! The recipe and instructions are at: http://engineering.oregonstate.edu/momentum/k12/jul04/

Fun facts: Ice cream innovations from Ohio State University!

1921 – When chocolate sticks to ice cream…Melvin De Groote, an Ohio State chemical engineering alum, held 925 patents at the time of his death—second to only Thomas Edison. Among his many achievements is the invention of the chemical recipe that allows chocolate to stick to ice cream, leading to the Eskimo Pie.

1978 – The drumstick was perfected – Food science professors John Lindamood and Poul Hansen wanted to keep the ice cream in the frozen treat from making the cone soggy.  So they developed a way to coat the inside of the cone with chocolate.

Celebrate National Ice Cream Month with your favorite flavor!

Written by: Kathryn K Dodrill, Extension Educator, The Ohio State University Extension, Washington County.

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, The Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Resources:

http://engineering.oregonstate.edu/momentum/k12/jul04/  http://www.osu.edu/features/2014/innovation.html#0

http://www.fda.gov/food/foodborneillnesscontaminants/buystoreservesafefood/ucm332850.htm http://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/homemadeicecream.html

http://rwj-b.stanford.edu/song/i-scream-you-scream-we-all-scream-ice-cream

 

Read Full Post »

marie fourth july

Summer has started and we have moved outdoors. Here are a few safety tips to remember when planning for this holiday season.

• Be safe swimming. Never swim alone, and make sure that kids’ water play is adequately supervised at all times. Statistics show that most young children who drown in pools have been out of sight for less than five minutes.

• Apply sunscreen before heading outdoors and reapply as needed. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause premature aging and skin cancer and those with darker skin should use a sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 15, according to recommendations from the American Academy of Dermatology.

• Drink plenty of fluids to avoid heat illness in extremely hot climates. The risk of heat illness is increased for the young and old. Remember to check your medication interactions with sun and those with chronic medical conditions.

• Fireworks injuries take 200 hundred people a day to the emergency room in the month of July! Keep the kids and pets away from the fireworks at all times. Attending fireworks displays organized by professionals is always safer than trying to put on your own show.

• Check for Ticks!! Remind your family to check themselves (and your pets) for ticks at the end of the day. Being outdoors near grasses, woods, hiking or camping in any area where ticks are abundant, wear long-sleeved, light-colored shirts and long pants tucked into socks or boots to protect you from tick-borne diseases. The Academy of Pediatrics recommends that repellents should contain no more than 30% DEET when used on children.

• Remember don’t leave food out at your event all day. Allowing food to sit in outdoor temperatures can invite foodborne illness to your event. The FDA suggests never leaving food out for more than one hour when the temperature is above 90 F and not more than two hours at other times. Foods that need to be kept cold should be placed in a cooler with plenty of ice or freezing packs and held at a maximum temperature of 41 F.

Have Fun!!! Stay Safe This Holiday!

Written by: Marie Economos, Extension Educator, The Ohio State University Extension, Trumbull County
Reviewed by: Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, The Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County.

REFERENCES:

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/f8d66b64-104b-4638-8f38-c203d2cd8684/BeFoodSafe_Logo___All_Ads.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=40b82161-495f-42d8-970a-62573d6e45ba#page=2

CPSC.gov.Fireworks Safety.

http://www.safekids.org/blog/summer-almost-here

http://www.safekids.org/blog/grilling-summer-safety

Read Full Post »

summer road trip

Summer is here and it’s time for the American road trip. There is no better way to escape the daily routine than to hit the open road. There is nothing like a short road trip to refresh the mind, body and spirit. Before you break out the cooler and hit the open road, plan in advance to avoid the pitfalls of open road trips. Here are some healthier ideas while on the open road:

• Make rest breaks active- pick a road stop or park and get the family out of the car to take a brisk 10 minute walk and move around. This helps to burn off some energy and helps the driver feel rejuvenated and more alert.
• Pack to play – plan to include regular physical activity in your daily routine while you’re away from home. Pack a football, Frisbee, paddle balls or a soccer ball so you can be physically active during your down time.
• Bring plenty of water. Sitting in the car for long periods of time can make it tempting to drink soda. Pack water or small portions of juice to quench your thirst.
• Pack healthy snacks in the cooler. Bring celery or carrot sticks and hummus for dipping, apple slices, fresh berries, grapes, low fat cheeses, healthy sandwiches, whole grain breads, pretzels, bags of dry cereal and whole grain crackers to snack on.
Safe travels this summer!

Written by: Beth Stefura, M Ed, RD, LD. The Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County. stefura.2@osu.edu
Reviewed by: Susan Zies, M.Ed, The Ohio State University Extension, Wood County.

Read Full Post »

No one really wants to think about food poisoning when they’re enjoying the outdoors and grilling food. But food safety is just as important to keep in mind whether you’re in the kitchen, at your backyard barbecue or grilling food at the company picnic.

The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service offers great guidance in “Grilling Food Safety 101″ online at http://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/grillingsafety.html. And, Ohio State University Extension offers more tips in a new video online at http://go.osu.edu/grillsafe.

It is especially important to make sure meat is cooked thoroughly when grilling out. People used to think that if meat looks pink, it isn’t done, and if it looks brown, it’s fine to eat. But food safety researchers have found that that’s false. Meat can be pink and be cooked thoroughly; it can be brown and not cooked enough. The only way to tell is by using a meat thermometer.

Be sure to insert the thermometer so it gets to the thickest part of the meat, but doesn’t touch any bone, which can distort the temperature reading. For burgers, insert the thermometer sideways and be sure it’s testing the center portion of the patty.

Safe temperatures include:

  • Hot dogs: 165 degrees F or until steaming hot.
  • Poultry, including ground poultry: 165 degrees F.outdoor grilling
  • Ground beef and other ground meat (not poultry): 160 degrees F.
  • Whole cuts of pork, lamb, veal and beef, including steaks and chops: 145 degrees F (followed by a three-minute rest time).
  • Fish: 145 degrees F.

Other things to bear in mind:

  • Don’t take cooked food from the grill and put it on the same plate that held the raw food. After you place the food on the grill, either thoroughly wash the plate and the utensils you used to handle the raw food, or use a fresh plate and set of utensils for the cooked food. There’s just too great of a possibility that bacteria from the raw food — which is killed by thorough cooking — will recontaminate the food after it’s cooked.
  • Don’t let food stay out for too long. The general rule is to not let perishable food sit out without refrigeration or heating for longer than two hours. But if it’s a hot summer day above 90 degrees, the risk that foodborne pathogens can multiply to dangerous levels increases, and the time limit drops to one hour.

Source:  Ohio State University Extension, http://chowline.cfaes.ohio-state.edu/?p=335

Author:  Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, goard.1@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Laptop on Kitchen Table with Cup of CoffeeShould you eat lunch at your desk?

Do you find yourself eating at your desk at work more and more often?  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reports that at least 83% of Americans eat at their desk several times a week. While many of us would prefer to have lunch with a friend or at least go out for lunch, we often find ourselves “too busy” to do so.

So is eating at your desk healthy?  When we eat at our desk, we often are totally unaware of just what and how much we are eating. We’re not focused on the food as we answer emails, sort papers and answer phone calls. But you can make healthy choices by bringing your lunch from home and avoiding take-out lunches which can tend to have excess calories, fat, and sodium and are often lacking in nutrients. Some healthy lunch choices could include:

  • A salad with added protein and fiber – some leftover chicken, healthy beans and/or nuts.
  • A whole grain wrap filled with veggies.
  • Homemade or low-sodium prepared soup that you can heat in the microwave.
  • Yogurt with added fruit and granola.
  • A sweet potato or fresh vegetables that you can pop into the microwave.
  • Water with a slice of lemon, lime or orange.
  • For a sweet ending to your lunch, fresh fruit makes a great dessert.

If you are bringing your lunch from home, use an insulated lunch bag with a freezer pack to keep your food cold until you can put it in the refrigerator at work. You want to be sure and wash your hands before eating your lunch and clean your desk top. According to an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics survey only 36 percent of survey respondents said they clean their work areas, desktop, mouse and keyboard on a weekly basis; 64 percent said they do so on a monthly basis or less.

A 2007 study from the University of Arizona found that desktops have 100 times more bacteria than a kitchen table and 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat!

So, if you are going to eat at your desk, take a few minutes to disinfect the area before opening your food. Once you start eating, avoid touching your phone, mouse,
etc. as you could be constantly re-contaminating your food.  You might also use a placemat or at least a paper towel under your lunch for added protection!

To answer the question, eating at your desk is not the healthiest activity!  Not only are you likely to eat more unhealthy foods, you are risking contaminating your food and potentially becoming ill. Take a little time for yourself at lunch time – walk to the kitchen or break room, invite a co-worker to join you and enjoy that healthy lunch you have prepared!

Written by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@sou.edu

Reviewed by:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Treber.1@osu.edu

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/7-tips-eating-while-you-work

http://www.eatright.org/Media/content.aspx?id=6442464916&terms=lunch%20food%20safety#.Uwd2PMYo7DQ

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,518 other followers