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Posts Tagged ‘foodborne illness’

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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

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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

 

 

 

 

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Thanksgiving FeastDo you have a holiday party in your future?  Many of us will be hosting food events for family and friends throughout the holiday season.  You don’t want to be the one to make anyone sick from your food event.  Start with simple basics.

  • Clean everything before you start.  Use a solution of 1 Tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon of water.  Use this to clean your sink, countertops and as a sanitizer for cutting boards and other cooking utensils.
  • Next, plan your menu carefully.  Choose some items that can be safely left out of refrigeration like pretzels, crackers, baked products and fruit.  Make sure you have the equipment to keep other items hot (about 140 °F) or cold (under 40°F)
  • When shopping, pick up the perishable items (those needing refrigeration) last at the grocery store.  And, make sure this is the last stop on the way home.
  • Theeasiest way to assure your food is safe is to make sure the perishable food does not stay out of refrigeration for more than 2 hours.  A sit down meal that is served and then cleaned up is safer than a buffet style meal that stays out for hours. 
  • Keep a food thermometer handy so that you cook foods to the proper temperatures.  Color is not enough when deciding if your meat, soup or casserole is done.

o   Cook chicken to 165°F

o   Cook whole meats such as beef and pork to 145°F

o   Ground beef and pork should be cooked to 160°F

o   Heat soups and casserole dishes to 165°F

o   When holding hot dishes on a buffet table keep them at 140°F

  • Finally, put leftovers away promptly, within 2 hours of serving.  When reheating them for later service, heat to 165°F.

Following a few simple rules will keep you, your family, and your friends from getting a foodborne illness this holiday season.

Reference:  USDA Blog, Cooking Meat?  Check the New Recommended Temperatures, http://blogs.usda.gov/2011/05/25/cooking-meat-check-the-new-recommended-temperatures/

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

Reviewed:  Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D., Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension, West Region, spires.53@osu.edu

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salsaThe Super Bowl is not just a day for football, but also a day for parties and food.  Don’t invite food borne illness to your party.  Follow a few simple rules to keep it Super Safe.

CLEAN and wash kitchen surfaces, utensils and hands before preparing or serving food and wash all fruits and vegetables including those you plan to peel.

SEPARATE raw meats and poultry from ready-to-eat foods like fruit and vegetables.

COOK meat and poultry to the right temperature by using a food thermometer.  Cook poultry to 165°F, ground meat to 160°F, and steaks to 145°F.

CHILL raw and prepared foods to 40°F within two hours.

If food is going to be sitting out for serving, remember to keep cold foods chilled to 40°F or below and hot foods heated to 140°F or above.  Offer foods in smaller containers and put new ones out as they run out instead of putting all the food out at once.  It will stay within the temperature range and keep the food safe.  Also, offer serving spoons and small plates to reduce the opportunity for guests to eat directly from the bowls.  Don’t leave any perishable food outside the temperature danger zone for more than 2 hours.

Source:  foodsafety.gov

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

Reviewed by:  Liz Smith, NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, Ohio State University Extension, smith.3993@osu.edu

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Few things could spoil your family’s holiday celebrations like foodborne illness! Handling your holiday foods safely can prevent harmful bacteria from making your family sick. While some individuals are at a higher risk for foodborne illness: pregnant women, young children, older adults and people with weakened immune systems, we should follow the four steps below to control the spread of bacteria throughout the kitchen and keep our families healthy and happy.

1 . Clean. Begin by washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water before and after handling food. Be sure that countertops are clean by washing with hot soapy water after preparing food, and keep cutting boards and utensils bacteria free by washing with hot soapy water or running through the dishwasher. A mild solution of bleach and water can be used to help Rinse fruits and vegetables that are not being cooked under cool running water.

2. Separate. Help prevent cross contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry and seafood away from ready to eat foods in your shopping cart and your refrigerator. Use one cutting board for these raw foods and another for salads and ready to eat food.

3. Cook. Use a food thermometer to tell if a food is cooked to a safe temperature – just going by color is not sufficient. Always bring sauces, soups, etc to a rolling boil when reheating. If using a microwave oven, cover, stir and rotate the food to ensure even cooking.

4. Chill. Remember the “danger zone” where bacteria can grow rapidly, 40° – 140°F. Keep the refrigerator below 40°, use an appliance thermometer to check the temperature. Chill leftover foods within 2 hours and put food into shallow containers to allow for quick cooling. Thaw meat, poultry and seafood in the refrigerator, not on the counter.

By following these four simple rules, you can help prevent the spread of harmful bacteria which could make your family ill and make your holidays less than jolly!

Source: http://www.fsis.usda.gov and http://www.befoodsafe.org

Author: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator,OhioStateUniversityExtension

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