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August 23, 2010

SafeFood© and the Good Egg

I am sure all have heard about the national recall of fresh shell eggs; eggs that were produced at (as of now) two facilities in Iowa. In this past week, numerous inquiries regarding safety of fresh shell eggs have been raised. But there is not a need to panic – eggs are a food item with lots of bang for your buck, literally. They are packed with protein and relatively inexpensive. But, like other things of value, we shouldn’t mistreat them. That means keeping them chilled (under 45° F); protecting them from cracks (that is how bacteria can enter); and handling them properly (wash those hands and cook thoroughly). I appreciated the media announcements of the recall information. Sure enough, I looked in my fridge at home and had a half eaten cartoon of one of designated items (plant number 1946 with Julian date of 198 – not the lottery but still match). Fortunately – no symptoms from eggs we had eaten (likely because eggs in my house were hard cooked). The recall was a precaution; the risk of contamination from bacteria salmonella is historically low – 1 in every 20,000 eggs. New testing will spot presence of two strains of salmonella bacteria at the farm level – but consumer handling is also important.

August 16, 2010

SafeFood© All About U

You have the power (well, maybe not all the power, but certainly a good deal of it) in protecting yourself from a food borne illness. Sure you do.
Do you wash your hands before handling food – preparing or eating?
Do you wash fruits and vegetables before using?
Do you keep countertops clean by using clean sponges or dishcloths?
Do you check that meats are cooked by using a thermometer?
Do you keep foods that should be kept cold in the refrigerator?
Do you avoid leaving perishable foods at room temperature for long periods of time?
Do you buy foods that are not past expiration dates?
Do you put grilled meat on a clean plate?

If you answer yes to these questions, you are doing a lot of things right. Keep up the good work – you are keeping yourself and your family members safe!

August 11, 2010

SafeFood© Convenience

Our society has embraced convenience. Macaroni and cheese is a great example – once upon a time, moms made this from scratch with natural cheeses; fast forward through the boxed product with the orange powdered cheese sauce to today’s micro-waved product.
Is our country bi polar? There is a plethora of cooking shows, channels, books, magazines and web sites; but also increased convenience products available in the market place. Preparing menu items from “scratch” rather than “assembling” does take time. It provides greater control over food handling practices – and nutrition, for that matter (read the sodium levels on any packaged product!). Yet at times, it is handy to use packaged items. My cupboard is not bare of these and frankly, the product is often better than what I could create (spaghetti sauce is one example). These are personal decisions, but like any decision, consider the pros and cons. Many controls for safe food still rest in your hands.

August 02, 2010

SafeFood© Local

There are many advocates for local food systems, each with their own reasons for supporting the movement. Science tells us local foods are not more nutritious – but many support the idea the taste is better than produce harvested from across the country or around the world, simply because it may get to the consumer quicker. I like the idea of helping consumers better understand where and how food is produced. I don’t like the idea of consumer votes dictating to food producers how to do their jobs. There is increasing discord between food producers and consumers not familiar with food production regarding where and how food is produced. Buying food direct from food producers is a way to begin the conversation.