Posts Tagged ‘food safety’

Egg safety

Friday, April 18th, 2014

egg huntEaster egg hunts are fun for kids of all ages. With a little caution, you can make sure your family stays safe from Salmonella and other food poisoning illnesses caused by eating contaminated eggs.  If you don’t celebrate Easter, this info on egg safety will still come in handy, especially with summer picnics around the corner.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), an estimated 142,000 illnesses each year are caused by consuming eggs contaminated with Salmonella. The FDA has put regulations in place to help prevent contamination of eggs on the farm and during shipping and storage. But consumers play a key role in preventing illness associated with eggs. In fact, the most effective way to prevent egg-related illness is by knowing how to buy, store, handle and cook eggs — or foods that contain them — safely.

Follow these safe handling tips to help protect yourself and your family, courtesy of the FDA:

When buying eggs

•    Buy eggs only if sold from a refrigerator or refrigerated case.
•    Open the carton and make sure that the eggs are clean and the shells are not cracked.
•    Refrigerate promptly.

Store raw eggs in their original carton and use them within 3 weeks for best quality.

Rules for eating hard boiled eggs

•    Cooked eggs, including hard-boiled eggs, and egg-containing foods, should not sit out for more than 2 hours. Within 2 hours either reheat or refrigerate.
•    Use hard-cooked eggs (in the shell or peeled) within 1 week after cooking. Cooked eggs for a picnic should be packed in an insulated cooler with enough ice or frozen gel packs to keep them cold.
•    Don’t put the cooler in the trunk — carry it in the air-conditioned passenger compartment of the car.
•    If taking cooked eggs to work or school, pack them with a small frozen gel pack or a frozen juice box.

If you enjoy making egg salad, deviled eggs or other delicious egg dishes, here are more egg safety tips, for you.

A safe egg hunt

All these “rules” got your head spinning? For a worry-free egg hunt, either hide the eggs an hour or two before the hunt and put them in the refrigerator right after the hunt, or better yet, use plastic decorative eggs if you are going to keep them out overnight or after the hunt. You can keep the decorated hard-boiled eggs in the fridge until ready to eat or adorn your table.

Is unpasteurized milk safe?

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

milkRaw milk and milk products from cows, goats, and sheep can transmit life-threatening bacterial infections. In a new policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises pregnant women, infants and children to consume only pasteurized milk, cheese and other milk products, and supports a ban on the sale of raw milk in the U.S.

The policy statement, “Consumption of Raw or UnpasteurizedMilk and Milk Products by Pregnant Women and Children,” published in the January 2014 Pediatrics (released online Dec. 16), reviews evidence of the risks of consuming unpasteurized milk and milk products in the U.S., especially among pregnant women, infants, and children.

“Consumption of raw milk or milk products can result in severe and life-threatening illnesses such as miscarriage and stillbirths in pregnant women, and meningitis and blood-borne infections in both young infants and pregnant women,” said Yvonne Maldonado, MD, FAAP, the lead author of the policy statement. AAP asserts that numerous data show pasteurized milk provides the same nutritional benefits as raw milk, without the risk of deadly infections including Listeria, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Brucella and E. coli.

The AAP supports the position of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other national and international associations in endorsing the consumption of only pasteurized milk and milk products for pregnant women, infants, and children. The AAP also endorses a ban on the sale of raw or unpasteurized milk or milk products in the U.S., including certain raw milk cheeses. For more information, click on this link.

Chicken and salmonella

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

In the last few days, you may have heard about people getting sick from salmonella found in some chicken. Salmonella are a kind of bacteria that cause the food poisoning, salmonellosis. You can get salmonellosis and other kinds of food poisoning from harmful germs in something you eat or drink.

Salmonellosis can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and headache. If you get salmonellosis during pregnancy, it can cause serious and even life-threatening problems for you and your growing baby.

So far, 300 people in over 18 states have gotten sick.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that the tainted chicken came from three Foster Farms packaging plants in California. The chicken may have the following UDSA inspection numbers: P6137, P6137A and P7632. The USDA is still investigating and hasn’t officially announced a recall yet.

In the meantime, be sure to cook all meats well to help avoid salmonellosis and other kinds of food poisoning. Use a food thermometer and cook chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 F. Wash hands and clean work space after handling raw chicken and other meats. Learn more tips about handling food safely.

Arsenic found in some organic baby formulas

Friday, February 17th, 2012

A recent study by Dartmouth College found that some organic foods that have brown rice syrup may have high levels of arsenic.

Brown rice syrup is used to sweeten some organic foods like some baby formulas and cereal bars.  It’s used in place of high-fructose corn syrup, another kind of sweetener. Arsenic is a natural element found in soil and minerals. High levels of arsenic may cause health problems. The study found that some organic baby formulas and cereal bars with brown rice syrup had higher levels of arsenic than the levels the government OK’s for bottled water.

While more research needs to be done, talk to your baby’s health care provider if you’re concerned about your child’s baby formula. Learn more about organic foods.

Eggnog anyone?

Monday, December 26th, 2011

eggnogEggnog is a favorite holiday drink and if you’re pregnant you can still have it. You just have to make sure it is pasteurized!  Most eggnog sold in stores is made from pasteurized egg product (check the label just to be sure).  But it is best to avoid homemade eggnog.  Homemade eggnog is often made with raw eggs and alcohol—two things you definitely want to avoid this holiday season.

Eggs can be contaminated with Salmonella and cause salmonellosis.  Salmonellosis is a food-borne infection caused by the bacteria Salmonella. Symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, fever, and abdominal cramps that last for several days. Occasionally a pregnant woman passes the infection to her baby. After birth, the infant may develop diarrhea, fever and, less often, meningitis.

If you are at a party with homemade eggnog and are looking for a fun and yummy substitution, you can revisit some of our older blog posts to see some “mocktail” and “bodacious beverage” recipes.  Some of these are so good you may start drinking them year-round!

For more food safety tips that may be helpful this holiday season, check out our website.

Listeriosis harmful in pregnancy

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

You may have heard recent news about cantaloupes being recalled because they may be linked to listeriosis, a kind of food poisoning. The cantaloupes are Rocky Ford cantaloupes and were shipped nationwide by Jensen Farms.

Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by bacteria called listeria. Listeriosis most often happens from being in contact with foods that have listeria. While anyone can get listeriosis, pregnant women are about 20 times more likely than other healthy adults to get listeriosis. In fact, about 1 in 6 cases of listeriosis happens during pregnancy.

Listeriosis is very harmful to women during pregnancy. A pregnant woman who gets listeriosis is at risk for miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth. Listeriosis is also very harmful, even deadly, to newborn babies. Older adults and people with weakened immune systems are at increased risk of listeriosis, too.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises everyone not to eat Rocky Ford cantaloupes shipped by Jensen Farms. While most grocery stores have removed the cantaloupes from their shelves, some people may still have them in their homes. At least 18 states have reported cases of listeriosis from cantaloupes, including California, Montana, Kansas, Florida and Maryland.

To learn more about the recalled cantaloupes, visit the CDC website.

Millions of eggs recalled

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

eggBy now you have probably heard about the egg recall that has affected so much of the country.  The FDA reports that over 400 million eggs have been recalled and over 1300 people have become sick due to Salmonella. 

Salmonella is a bacterium that can be on both the inside and the outside of eggs.  In healthy adults, Salmonella infections generally cause diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramping and fever that lasts for several days.  Pregnant women, infants, and others with a compromised immune system can sometimes become seriously ill from these infections.  Occasionally, a pregnant woman can pass a Salmonella infection on to her fetus, who can develop diarrhea, fever and, less frequently, meningitis after birth.

The best thing you can do to prevent Salmonella and any other food-borne illnesses is to make sure you handle your food properly.  You can reduce your risk of salmonella by paying attention to a few things:

• Storage:  keep eggs refrigerated at all times.  That will prevent the Salmonella bacteria from growing.

• Hygiene:  Wash your hands, cooking utensils, and preparation surfaces with soap and water after contact with raw eggs.  Remember that Salmonella can be present on the egg’s shell, so that includes eggs that have not been cracked open yet.

• Consumption:  Avoid eating raw eggs, undercooked eggs, or unpasteurized eggs.  Make sure restaurants use pasteurized eggs in any recipes that call for raw eggs such as Hollandaise sauce or Caesar salad dressing.

Check your eggs, if you haven’t already, for the recalled product codes and make sure you discard them.  If you or your family members have any symptoms of Salmonella, make sure you contact your health care provider immediately.  And read our fact sheet on food-borne illnesses and how to keep you and your family safe—especially during pregnancy.

Kellogg’s cereals recalled

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is recalling nearly 28 million boxes of Kellogg’s® brand cereals. The cereals being recalled are Apple Jacks®, Corn Pops®, Froot Loops® and Honey Smacks®. The FDA received reports that the package liners in these cereals have an unusual smell affecting the flavor of the cereals. Some people reported having temporary nausea or diarrhea.

The cereals were sold at stores nationwide between March and June of this year. If you have any of the cereals mentioned above, take a look at the Better If Used Before Date on the box. Only cereal boxes with the letters “KN” appearing after the Better If Used Before Date are being recalled.

While it’s unlikely for people to get seriously ill, the FDA recommends that consumers stop eating these cereals and contact the Kellogg’s Consumer Response Center at 888-801-4163 for a new box of cereal.  Visit the FDA Web site for more information. Learn more about food safety.

Safety tips for the holidays

Monday, December 21st, 2009

20987026_thbThe holidays are an exciting time of year for kids, and to help ensure they have a safe holiday season, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). 

Toy Safety
• Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child.  Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children.
• Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully.
• To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, don’t give young children (under age ten) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet.  Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated.
• Children under age three can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age three cannot have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.
• Children can have serious stomach and intestinal problems – including death — after swallowing button batteries and magnets.  Keep them away from young children and call your health care provider immediately if your child swallows one.
• Children under age 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Remove strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children.
• Watch for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies.

Food Safety
• Bacteria are often present in raw foods.  Fully cook meats and poultry, and thoroughly wash raw vegetables and fruits.
• Be sure to keep hot liquids and foods away from the edges of counters and tables, where they can be easily knocked over by a young child’s exploring hands.
• Wash your hands frequently, and make sure your children do the same.
• Never put a spoon used to taste food back into food without washing it.
• Always keep raw foods and cooked foods separately, and use separate utensils when preparing them.
• Always thaw meat in the refrigerator, never on the countertop.
• Foods that require refrigeration should never be left at room temperature for more than two hours.

Happy Visiting
• Clean up immediately after a holiday party.  A toddler could rise early and choke on leftover food or come in contact with alcohol or tobacco.
• Remember that the homes you visit may not be childproofed.  Keep an eye out for danger spots.
• Keep a list with all of the important phone numbers you or a baby-sitter are likely to need in case of an emergency. Include the police and fire department, your pediatrician and the national Poison Help Line, 1-800-222-1222. Laminating the list will prevent it from being torn or damaged by accidental spills.
• Traveling, visiting family members, getting presents, shopping, etc., can all increase your child’s stress levels. Trying to stick to your child’s usual routines, including sleep schedules and timing of naps, can help you and your child enjoy the holidays and reduce stress.


Independence Day celebrations

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

fireworksHappy 4th of July!  It may be hot for several reasons.  Will your little tikes be asserting their independence at today’s BBQ?  Keep your cool and the kids covered.  Make sure they drink plenty of water and are slathered in sunscreen.

Have fun with your toddler by putting sunscreen on each other. Don’t forget the feet if you’re likely to be running around barefoot.  And make sure you both wear a hat.  Sunburns hurt! Babies less than six months old should stay out of direct sunlight. Play in the shade of a tree, umbrella or stroller top.

Enjoy the fun foods of the day, remembering to keep raw meat and poultry separate from cooked or ready-to-eat foods. Rinse fruits and vegetables under running tap water before eating, and remove surface dirt with a scrub brush, cutting away any damaged sections, which can contain bacteria. Refrigerate any leftovers promptly, and never eat cooked food that has been out of the refrigerator longer than two hours.  If you’re pregnant, read more about food safety.

Don’t forget that while sparklers are great fun, they’re still dangerous for little kids and should be handled only by adults or older children who know not to wave them in people’s faces.  Keep a great distance from any launch sites and enjoy the fireworks!  (Babies can be frightened by the loud bangs that can hurt their ears.  You may want to move indoors or to your car to watch from the windows.)

Have fun!