Tag: Food Safety

Electric Pressure Cookers Still Not Safe for Canning

The message continues. Do not use electric pressure cookers for canning. Research conducted at Utah State University shows that electric pressure cookers do not always reach or sustain safe temperature levels for safe canning. This is even more critical at higher altitudes.

Electric pressure cookers also have faster heat up and cool down time periods. This can affect heat transfer and pathogen destruction.

Learn more about Utah State University’s study at https://bit.ly/2Yqxhah and from Food Safety News at https://bit.ly/2JydlyO.

Photo source: Utah State University Extension

By:  Ashley Svaty

Handling Recalled Food

Food recalls happen almost daily and many do not get a lot of publicity. In a majority of recalls, it is the manufacturer that issues a voluntary recall.

Manufacturers will work with the FDA or USDA to help determine the reason for the recall and to fix the issue. If foodborne illnesses have occurred, the CDC and state health departments will also be involved.

As consumers, it is important to pay attention to recalls to eliminate the chance of getting sick. Recall announcements give specific information about the food recall including the type of food, brand, package size, date codes, manufacturer codes, shelf life dates, distribution locations, and other pertinent information.

If you have a recalled food, take it back to where it was purchased for a refund, or throw it away. Do not take the chance of eating it or feeding it to animals.

Learn more at www.foodsafety.gov/recalls/index.html.

By:  Ashley Svaty

Keep Holiday Meals Safe

Whether it is a simple meal for two, or a large gathering with a buffet, food safety is a priority at any meal, and especially at the holidays. Nobody wants the gift of foodborne illness!

Are you the host for the holiday meal? Reduce your stress by starting a list now to plan the location, food and recipes, activities and games, and what your guests could bring. Put it in a timeline or on a calendar to stay on schedule.

Are you buying a fresh or frozen turkey? If you choose fresh, be sure to place an order with your grocer or butcher shop and pick it up 1-2 days before the meal. Frozen turkeys can be purchased any time and stored in the freezer. Pay attention to grocery sales to save some money.

Frozen turkeys are best thawed in the refrigerator or in cold water. In the refrigerator, plan on at least five days for a 20 pound turkey. In cold water, allow about 30 minutes per pound of turkey.

Do you only have one oven?  Use a slow cooker for hot dishes. A table top roaster oven can be used like a regular oven for many items. Even electric pressure cookers can cook up some tasty dishes! Some items, such as dessert or bread can be made ahead and frozen.

When cooking the turkey, remember that 325 degrees F is the lowest oven temperature to safely cook turkey. Use a food thermometer to be sure it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Learn more at www.ksre.k-state.edu/foodsafety/topics/holiday.html

By:  Ashley Svaty

Pre-Cut Melon and Salmonella

Posted in September You Asked It!

This summer, pre-cut melons were recalled due to Salmonella contamination. This included pre-cut cantaloupe, watermelon, and a fruit salad mix sold in grocery stores in nine states. While Salmonella is usually connected to meat, poultry, or eggs, it may seem unusual for melons. But, melons are not like many other fruits.

Most fruits are considered high acid, or low in acidity with a pH averaging between 3.0 and 4.0. Melons have a pH between 5.0 and 7.0. This makes them a low acid food. Salmonella thrives in a pH range of 4.1-9.0. So melons can support the growth of Salmonella. It can also grow in a temperature range of 43-115°F. Therefore, in this recall, if temperature abuse occurred at any point, Salmonella would grow.

Good handling practices are your best defense. Always scrub and wash melons before cutting them open. Store cut fruit in the refrigerator. Keep it separate from raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs. Use clean utensils to serve fresh melons. Wash your hands before and after handling melons or other produce. When buying pre-cut melons or other fresh produce, be sure they are cold and refrigerate promptly.

Sources:

www.cdc.gov/salmonella/adelaide-06-18/index.html

https://food.unl.edu/salmonella

www.fightbac.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/ConsumerFact_Sheet.pdf

By:  Ashley Svaty

You Asked It!

The June issue of You Asked It! is now available.  Featured in this issue you will find timely topics regarding:

  • Eating Out by the Numbers
  • CFSAN Resources for You!
  • New Food Preservation Resources
  • Using Natural Pectin in Fruit Pie
  • Food Safety for Moms-to-Be
  • Preserve Smart App
  • Summer Ag Adventure Challenge
  • How to make Cherry Raisins
  • Canning in Half-Gallon Jars
  • Beyond the Trash Can

Access the June issue here.

By:  Ashley Svaty

Women In Agriculture: Harvest Meals Food Safety

Join Chef Alli and our Nutrition, Food Safety, and Health Agent, Ashley Svaty in Osborne on April 24th at 6pm at the old high school gym. Chef Alli will teach how to plan and prepare harvest meals and Ashley will teach the group how to keep these meals safe when temperatures rise in the fields! Meal will be provided. Fee: $10/person RSVP is requested by Friday, April 13 by calling or stopping by the Osborne County Conservation District Office (1117 W. Hwy. 24), 785-346-2128, Ext. 3.

For more information, visit the event website.

By:  Ashley Svaty