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.

Yellowfin Tuna At The Center Of Salmonella Outbreak

The CDC says that Yellowfin tuna is most likely responsible for an outbreak of salmonella in 20 U.S. states.

The company, the Moon Marine USA Corporation headquartered in Cupertino, California, is voluntarily recalling 58,828 lbs of the product, which is not available to individual consumers, according to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration report also released Friday.

According to a report Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no deaths have been reported, however, a total of 116 people have been infected with salmonella since the outbreak occurred, including 12 who were hospitalized as a result of the bacteria.

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.

Contaminated Peanut Butter Recalled

Smucker’s peanut butter recalled for Salmonella contamination.

The Ohio-based company says the jars covered in the recall would have been purchased in the last week or so. They have “Best if Used By” dates of Aug. 3, 2012 and Aug. 4, 2012, plus the production codes 1307004 and 1308004.
Smucker says 3,000 jars are being recalled from stores. Another 16,000 had never left warehouses.
Salmonella is bacteria resulting in fever, cramps and diarrhea that lasts for several days and can require hospitalization.
Smucker says no illnesses have been reported.

Keeping Your Kitchen Free of Disease is as Simple as Cleaning Your Refrigerator

Keeping your refrigerator clean is more than just a good idea.

It could save your health.

Clean your refrigerator as a matter of disease prevention and sanitary food preparation practice.

It’s amazing how many illnesses and bacteria can grow in your refrigerator.

A few simple tips can safeguard your health and help you manage your food inventory and reduce waste.

Wrap foods tightly with two layers of freezer wrap before putting in the freezer or use shrink
wrapping for an air-tight seal around the food.

Store eggs in their cartons — and don’t keep them on the refrigerator door.

Don’t wash fresh produce until you’re ready to use it. Store it in perforated plastic bags, and use
within a few days. Bananas should not be refrigerated.

To allow for air circulation in either your fridge or freezer, don’t overfill the compartments.

Without good circulation, it’s difficult to maintain the proper temperatures.

Store leftovers in tightly covered containers within two hours after cooking. Use in 3-5 days.

Store food and cleaning supplies separate.

Keep potatoes and onions in a cool, dry location. Don’t refrigerate them or keep them under the sink, where moisture from pipes can cause damage.

Check use-by or sell-by dates on food packages. Remember, these dates don’t apply once the package is opened.

Best-if-used-by dates are the most reliable ones to follow. They take normal handling into account.

Put raw meat on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator, in a plastic bag. This will keep the juices from dripping onto other foods.

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