Norovirus Spread In Re-Usable Grocery Bags

It is imperative to wash re-usable grocery bags.

There are actually a variety of bacteria and viruses, such as E-coli and salmonella, which can be spread through the use of grocery bags as they come in contact with so many bugs.

Raw meat, unwashed produce, and public surfaces in addition to the fact that many bags are made of fabrics which can harbor disease.

The simple solution is to wash and dry bags to eliminate any chance of contamination.

While the risk of contracting an illness from any particular reusable bag is low, Schaffner said, the Oregon study follows a 2010 paper by researchers at the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University that found large numbers of bacteria in reusable grocery bags, including 12 percent that were contaminated with E. coli.
When scientists stored the bags in the trunks of cars for two hours, the number of bacteria jumped 10-fold.

USDA Makes Effort To Prevent Food-Borne Illness

With summertime quickly approaching, picnics and barbecue’s offer prime opportunities for food-borne illnesses to surface.

Preventing outbreaks will be a huge shift from past strategies which offer response tactics.

Consumers can choose meats last and keep the packages away from other foods.

Avoid putting your hands in your mouth or rubbing your eyes before thoroughly washing your hands.

It is also recommended to carrying an alcohol-based gel or wipes containing a small amount of bleach to clean yourself up after handling a package.

The new direction, which focuses on prevention and faster response times, is a huge improvement over past USDA practices, says Philip M. Tierno Jr., PhD, director of clinical microbiology at NYU Langone Medical Center and clinical professor at the NYU School of Medicine.

“We will likely see a reduction in unnecessary illnesses and possibly the prevention of a [death] or two,” says Tierno, author of The Secret Life of Germs.

Washington, D.C.-based consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest also supports the USDA’s shift in priorities.

Is It Necessary To Wash Pre-Washed Greens?

The debate roils; wash or don’t wash pre-washed lettuce?

You know the stuff; pre-washed, pre-cut, bagged up and ready to use.

Is it necessary to wash it yet again for safe eating?

Indeed, many (though not all) food safety specialists advise against washing bagged lettuce or spinach. Why? First, because there’s a good chance that if bacteria managed to survive commercial-scale washing with chlorinated water in the processing plant, a lot of them will survive your home washing, too.

Disease-causing E. coli O157:H7 can get trapped just below the surface of a lettuce leaf, and they’re tough to dislodge or kill. Second, there’s a real risk that you’ll end up adding bacteria to greens that were perfectly clean to start with: Your sink or cutting board may be dirtier than the lettuce.

It looks like the only way to truly insure that you are eating the safest lettuce possible would be to cook it!

Beef Recall Raises New Concerns

Tenderized beef is at the center of recall.

Is it now necessary to label meat which has been through the tenderizing process?

Because of an increased risk of bacterial contamination, some say the meat should be labeled.

E. Coli contamination was at the center of the recall which included more than a ton of beef.

Connecticut Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro said that the Wednesday recall involving some 2,057 pounds of ground and texturized beef from Town & Country Foods Inc. of Greene, Maine, underscores why consumers should be told when meat has been mechanically pierced with needles or blades.

U.S Department Of Agriculture Serves Our Children

The “pink slime” as it’s being called has caused quite the furor on the internet.

Parents and activists are alarmed to find out that this combination of meat by-products and ammonia hydroxide is being served to children in school lunches because the U.S Department of Agriculture continues to purchase it.

This “high risk product” has not passed food inspection findings, however, the U.S.D.A. commissioned a separate study to assess the safety of BPI’s “Lean Beef Trimmings” to make it appear safe.

Custer said he first encountered the product — which gained fame recently as “pink slime” in part due to the efforts of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver — back in the late 1990s. Despite voicing his concerns to other officials at the food inspection service, however, the USDA ruled that Lean Beef Trimmings were safe. “The word in the office was that undersecretary JoAnn Smith pushed it through, and that was that,” Custer said.

Appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1989, Smith had deep ties with the beef industry, serving as president of both the Florida Cattlemen’s Association and the of the National Cattlemen’s Association.

“Scientists in D.C. were pressured to approve this stuff with minimal safety approval,” Zirnstein said.

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