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Tag: Food Safety

Eating Fish During Pregnancy Advice Updated

Tuna is listed as a best choice by the FDA. Photo: USDA Flickr

The Food and Drug Administration has updated their advice in regards to consuming fish while pregnant, breastfeeding, young children, and women planning to become pregnant. While the concern about consuming mercury is still valid, the advice now includes the importance of consuming fish as part of a healthy diet.

The nutritional composition of fish is beneficial to women during pregnancy and for young children. This includes heart health benefits and lower risks of obesity. The nutrients include protein, omega-3 fats, more vitamin B12 and vitamin D than any other food, iron, and other minerals like selenium, zinc, and iodine. A serving size for adults is 4 ounces and to consume two to three servings a week.

The FDA guidance includes charts and information in English and Spanish. There are lists of different types of fish categorized by best choices, good choices, and choices to avoid.

Learn more at www.fda.gov/food/consumers/advice-about-eating-fish.

 

Shelf Life of Mrs. Wages Mixes

Mrs. Wages makes several packaged mixes to help make home canning easy and quick. All of their products for canning use the water bath canning method. But do the mixes have a shelf life?

The company recommends using their mixes within 24 months of the day and year it was produced. On the side of every package is an 8 digit code. On the packets, it is imprinted on the package. On the salsa canisters, it is printed on the bottom. So, in the example at right, the B identifies the production facility. The 5 is the last digit of the year the mix was produced (2015). The next three numbers indicate the day, out of 365 days in the year, the mix was produced. So 138 is May 18. This is known as the Julian date. The last three digits indicate the production batch code, B92. So this particular mix has expired and should not be used.
Source: www.mrswages.com/canning/frequently-asked-questions/

 

Choosing Edible Flowers

Squash blossom Photo: NC State Extension

Edible flowers are used in salads, entrees, desserts and beverages. So which ones are safe to use? Not all flowers are edible.

Do some research. Good reference resources will guide you safely. Always be sure they are not poisonous. Do not use flowers from florists, garden centers, or picked from the roadside. Introduce them into your diet in small amounts as some can have unpleasant side effects. Not all parts of the flower are edible, so research can help determine which parts to use.

Here are some resources:

www.johnson.k-state.edu/docs/lawn-and-garden/in-house-publications/perennials/Edible%20Flowers.pdf

https://extension.umn.edu/flowers/edible-flowers

https://extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/garden/07237.pdf

https://extension.psu.edu/a-consumers-guide-to-edible-flowers

https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/choosing-and-using-edible-flowers-ag-790

 

What is Alpha-gal Allergy?

Beef Kabobs
Photo: USDA Flickr

The next time you work outside or do outdoor recreation, be aware of ticks and protect yourself from tick bites. The Lone Star tick has been linked to causing allergic reactions after eating red meat.

The Lone Star tick is a vector that can spread disease. Mosquitos and fleas are other insects that spread disease. The Alpha-gal molecule is carried in the saliva of Lone Star ticks. People bit by this tick can become sensitive and produce the immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody. Unlike typical food allergies, which is a reaction to protein, this is a reaction to the carbohydrate galactose-α-1,3-galactose. This carbohydrate is found in most mammals, such as red meat animals. It can also be in products made from mammals. It is not found in poultry or fish.

Symptoms include rash, hives, difficulty breathing, drop in blood pressure, dizziness, fainting, nausea, and severe stomach pain. These symptoms can occur in 3-6 hours after eating red meat.

The Alpha-gal allergy can be severe, and potentially life-threatening. See a healthcare provider immediately for care.

Learn more at www.cdc.gov/ticks/alpha-gal/index.html and www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/allergy-library/alpha-gal

 

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.

 

What is Hepatitis A?

A current recall of frozen blackberries is ongoing for possible Hepatitis A contamination.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from exposure to the Hepatitis A virus, including from food. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting several months. Illness generally occurs within 15 to 50 days of exposure and includes fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver tests, dark urine and pale stool.

Hepatitis A vaccination can prevent illness if given within two weeks of exposure to a contaminated food. In rare cases, particularly consumers who have a pre-existing severe illness or are immune compromised, Hepatitis A infection can progress to liver failure. Persons who may have consumed affected product should consult with their health care professional or local health department to determine if a vaccination is appropriate, and consumers with symptoms of Hepatitis A should contact their health care professional.

Learn more at https://bit.ly/2F1J9bB.

 

ALDI Flour Recall Linked to Eating Raw Dough

Photo: CDC

ALDI grocery stores recalled all purpose flour recently due to a multistate outbreak of E. coli O26 infections. As of May 24, 2019, 17 people have been infected across eight states. No deaths have been reported.

Investigation results have shown that of those interviewed, they reported eating, licking, or tasting raw dough or batter. DNA fingerprinting identified the flour as the source of the infection.

Symptoms of E. coli infection can appear in one to three days. But the time it takes to confirm that a person is a part of an outbreak can take two to three weeks.

Learn more at www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2019/flour-05-19/index.html.

 

Food Safety for School and Community Gardens

More and more gardens are popping up at schools and in communities. To help guide those who manage and work in these public gardens, a fact sheet and leaders guide have been updated and are now available.

The curriculum is called “Garden to Plate: Food Safety for School and Community Gardens.” Information includes site and soil selection, personal hygiene, water and irrigation, compost and fertilizers, pest and animal management, and harvesting and storage. The intended audience is consumers, school and community garden volunteers, and educators and teachers.

Leader’s Guide
www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/mf3153.pdf

Fact Sheet
www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/MF3152.pdf

 

Temporary Food Stand Guidelines

Fair season is almost here!  Here are some reminders from the Kansas Department of Agriculture for serving food safely in food stands.

  • Food prepared in private home may not be used or offered
  • All equipment needed for the intended operation must be on hand
  • Food contact surfaces must be protected from contamination by consumers
  • There must be separate areas for taking money and preparing food.
  • Dishwashing must include washing, rinsing and sanitizing equipment.
  • A handwashing facility must be available with hot/warm water, soap, and paper towels.
  • Only one raw, potentially hazardous food that requires onsite preparation or cooking can be made or served.

For more information, go to www.ksre.k-state.edu/foodsafety/topics/4h.html.