Friday, June 26, 2009

Food Safety and the 4th

With the 4th of July coming already next week it seems like a good time to review food safety. Poultry was the most common source of "food poisoning" in 2006 according to an article in the NY Times. It was followed by leafy vegetables and fruits and nuts.

Poultry most often causes illness relates to clostridium perfringens. One a food has been left out at room temperature the spores that form and lead to illness can survive cooking so food storage is critical.

Salmonella was the second leading source of food-related outbreaks (peanut butter, spinach and tomatoes).

Rinsing fresh fruits and vegetables will decrease their ability to cause illness, but if they become contaminated in the field there isn't much a consumer can do.

With this information two things are clear:

1. The FDA must reform and improve its' food safety programs to protect the public.

2. Anytime, but especially in the warm summer months, chill food thoroughly before packing and keep it cold (40 degrees F. or lower).

3. Keep hot foods hot, that is, over 140 degrees F.

And take advantage of summer, especially in Minnesota, it ends too quickly.

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