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11/26  2018 ISSUE:836


Romaine expected in stores soon; new labels with date, field information coming
Source :
By Coral Beach (Nov 26, 2018)
Government and industry officials say new labels for romaine lettuce will help keep the public safe during events such as the current E. coli outbreak. But, most entities in the supply chain are not involved in the initiative and not all forms of romaine will carry the voluntary labels for consumers.
Growers are working on their new labels now and will begin shipping romaine as soon as they start using them, according to announcements Nov. 26 from produce industry groups and the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA announcement also reported the agency has determined the current outbreak is linked to romaine only from specific areas of California.
A week ago, both the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned against all romaine in all forms from all growing regions. That warning is now narrowed to romaine only from “the Central Coast growing regions of central and northern California.” 
“Growing and harvesting of romaine lettuce is now shifting to the winter growing regions of the U.S., which include mainly the California desert region of the Imperial Valley, the desert region of Arizona in and around Yuma, and Florida,” according to a statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.
Gottlieb said the public should continue to exercise extreme caution when it comes to romaine lettuce because of the ongoing outbreak. That advice is repeated in the revised public warning.
“Based on discussions with major producers and distributors, romaine lettuce entering the market will now be labeled with a harvest location and a harvest date,” according to the FDA. “Romaine lettuce entering the market can also be labeled as being hydroponically or greenhouse grown.
“If it does not have this information, you should not eat or use it.
“If consumers, retailers, and food service facilities are unable to identify that romaine lettuce products are not affected — which means determining that the products were grown outside the California regions that appear to be implicated in the current outbreak investigation — we urge that these products not be purchased, or if purchased, be discarded or returned to the place of purchase.”
Although some romaine is grown in Mexico and exported to the U.S. during the winter months, it is not implicated in the current outbreak, according to the FDA. Similarly, hydroponic romaine lettuce and romaine grown in greenhouses are also marketed in the U.S., but there is no information to suggest they are implicated in the three E. coli O157: H7 outbreaks identified since November 2017.
The patient count in the current outbreak, which involves cases in the United States and Canada, is increasing. The CDC reports 43 U.S. residents across a dozen states have been confirmed with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157: H7. Canadian officials say 22 people in their country are sick from the same strain. No deaths have been confirmed in either country.
In the United States, the outbreak reaches from coast to coast, with California hardest hit at 11 confirmed patients. New Jersey has the second most cases, reporting nine confirmed victims.
The E. coli O157: H7 isolated from patients in the current outbreak is the same strain that hit the U.S. and Canada a year ago. The late 2017 outbreak was linked to romaine and leafy greens. However, public health officials say it isn’t the same as the strain that sickened hundreds and killed five people earlier this year.
An overwhelming number of people in the current outbreak who have been interviewed so far by U.S. public health officials reported eating romaine lettuce in the days before becoming ill. The CDC’s update posted Nov. 26 said 88 percent of the people for whom the information was available said they ate romaine lettuce before their symptoms began.
The outbreak strain is also proving particularly dangerous, based on the hospitalization rate. Of the patients for whom the information is available, 42 percent have been admitted to hospitals. One person in the United States has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) a potentially deadly form of kidney failure. The U.S. victims range in age from 1 to 84 years old.
Illnesses in the United States began on Oct. 8, with the most recent onset date reported as of Oct. 31. However, it can take several weeks for the CDC to receive reports of confirmed cases because of the time required for laboratory tests and the notification process. Consequently, illnesses that began before Oct. 31 may not yet be included in the CDC’s count.
Voluntary labeling plan
A number of produce industry groups have been working with government officials to develop labels to make traceback investigations easier and faster. The United Fresh Produce Association in Washington, D.C., sent an alert to members Nov. 26 with details about the new labeling plan, as did the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association.
“The revised consumer advisory is welcome news for Florida growers,” Lisa Lochridge, director of public affairs for the Florida Association, told Food Safety News. “We are working with our state department of agriculture on the new labels.
“We began harvest around Nov. 8, so it’s clear that Florida romaine couldn’t have been part of this outbreak.”
Lochridge said there are about 4,500 acres of romaine in Southern Florida. That’s a small fraction of the acreage in California and Arizona, but it’s still a $95 million industry on an annual basis.
Jennifer McEntire, United Fresh vice president of food safety and technology, agreed that the FDA’s revised public warning is good news for the industry.
“Romaine that will soon be available in grocery stores and restaurants could not have been related to the outbreak. This labeling will give consumers assurance that they can purchase romaine again,” McEntire said in a statement issued immediately after the FDA announcement.
United Fresh created a question-answer document about the process and purpose of developing the new traceability labels. (Click here to read the entire document.)
Scott Horsfall, executive director for the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) organization, said West Coast growers are pleased that the romaine market will be open again.
“This episode drives home how important traceability labeling is,” Horsfall told Food Safety News. “The information has always been captured for traceback, but it wasn’t part of the consumer-facing package.”
Government asked for, and industry agreed to, a voluntary market withdrawal and a shipping moratorium for all romaine on Tuesday before Thanksgiving. In his statement Nov. 26, Commissioner Gottlieb said the action was necessary to protect the public.
Scott Gottlieb
“The FDA believes it was critically important to have a ‘clean break’ in the romaine supply available to consumers in the U.S. in order to purge the market of potentially contaminated romaine lettuce related to the current outbreak. This appears to have been accomplished through the market withdrawal request of Nov. 20,” Gottlieb said.
The LGMA in California and its sister LGMA in Arizona already require grower members to be able to trace their products back to the specific field where they were grown, but those traceability details stop at the edge of the field. Processors, packers, shippers, distributors, retailers, and restaurants have not been part of the LGMA traceability efforts. Neither are those supply chain entities involved in the voluntary labeling plan announced Nov. 26.
Produce group representatives say the voluntary “origin/harvest date” labels on “bagged” romaine products should be on the consumer-level packaging in a prominent place and presented in a form that consumers will understand. The recommended form is: “Romaine grown in (source) and harvested after (date).”
However, if consumers are not buying bagged salad products, but rather opting for whole head or hearts of romaine, they probably won’t be seeing traceback information. So-called “commodity products” are most often packed in boxes without individual packaging. For commodity romaine, the traceback labels are expected to be used at the carton level.
“For the time being, retailers may elect to provide signage to consumers regarding the growing region origin of commodity romaine — as indicated on cases containing romaine — following the way that country of origin labeling is communicated,” according to the Q&A document posted by United Fresh. “As this new approach is taken, we will continue to optimize recommendations to improve clarity and feasibility.
“Foodservice operations (including restaurants) should expect to field consumer questions regarding the source of romaine lettuce.”
United Fresh staff has been working with the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), and regional groups on the labeling initiative. Those other groups include Western Growers, California LGMA, Arizona LGMA, Grower-Shipper Association of Central California, Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, Yuma Fresh Vegetable Association, and Yuma Safe Produce Council.
The new labeling practices for growers are expected to be used from now and going forward, according to the FDA and produce groups. Gottlieb said he expects providing consumers with the traceability information will become standard practice.
“In addition, the leafy greens industry has agreed to establish a task force to find solutions for long-term labeling of romaine lettuce and other leafy greens for helping to identify products and to put in place standards for traceability of product,” Gottlieb said.

We have food safety laws thanks to 19th century “poison squad”
Source :
Ars chats with author Deborah Blum about her new book, The Poison Squad.
As you gathered to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday last week—avoiding romaine lettuce potentially contaminated by E. coli—we hope you remembered to give thanks for the landmark 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act. Signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt, it was the first regulatory law to enforce food safety standards in America, along with the Federal Meat Inspection Act.
It was known as "Dr. Wiley's Law," in honor of Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, who served as chief chemist of the US agriculture department at the time and proved a tireless crusader for consumer protection. He even recruited several of his young male employees to ingest common chemical food additives to test their safety, dubbed the "Poison Squad." The story of his decades-long fight is the subject of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Deborah Blum's fascinating new book, The Poison Squad: One Chemist's Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century.
Blum has a soft spot for stories about scientists who challenged the status quo—people who were also complicated, obsessive, and difficult personalities. "I'm not sure you can change the world unless you're all of those things," she says. Her first book, Love at Goon Park (2002), focused on psychologist Harry Harlow, who studied the effects of neglect on primates in his lab and went on to revolutionize how we think about the value of love and affection. Ghost Hunters (2007) explored William James' quest to find scientific proof of life after death in the late 19th century.
It was Blum's bestselling 2010 book, The Poisoner's Handbook, that served as a precursor of sorts to her latest offering. Set in Jazz Age New York City, it's all about the city's first medical examiner, Charles Norris, who joined forces with the city's first toxicologist, Alexander Gettler, to implement the first rigorous standards for forensic toxicology, the better to catch murderers.
Blum stumbled upon Wiley's work while researching poisons and toxins in the early 20th century and found herself captivated by the subject. She spent weeks at the Library of Congress, poring over Wiley's extensive papers: not just reports and private letters, but also memos, telegrams, and an entire folder filled with the marketing flyers companies sent to grocers and manufacturers, encouraging them to use their additives to increase profits.
"I thought, what in the world was food like back then, that would lead us to this point in 1902 where a government scientist is deliberately poisoning other government employees?" she says. "I realized I'd been telling myself a fairy tale about the wondrous, pink-cheeked nature of 19th century healthy food." In reality, the country was in a period of transition, as the industrial revolution marched onward and more people moved from rural areas to cities in search of jobs. This had a deleterious impact on the food supply chain, as food had to travel farther in an age without refrigeration.
The lack of regulation meant that companies could pretty much put whatever they wanted into food with no fear of being held accountable. "[Food] wasn't safety tested, because there were no rules requiring that," says Blum. "It wasn't labeled because there were no rules requiring that anyone tell you what was in your food. And it wasn't illegal even if you killed someone."
Companies were adding copper to vegetables to make them look greener and 20 Mule Team Borax to butter as a preservative—assuming it was butter and not beef tallow or ground-up cow stomach dyed to look like butter. Spices contained things like ground coconut shells, charred rope, brick dust, even floor sweepings. Honey was often little more than dyed corn syrup. The phrase "a muddy cup of coffee" might date back to this era, when ground coffee typically contained dyed sawdust, tree bark, or charred bone, and fake coffee beans were made out of wax and dirt. "I'm especially bitter about this, because I love coffee," says Blum.
Dairy suppliers were among the worst offenders, adding pureed calf brains to milk to make it look more like rich cream, thinning the milk with water and gelatin, and then adding dyes, chalk, or plaster dust to correct the color. Worst of all, they added formaldehyde—then widely used as an embalming fluid to slow the decomposition of corpses—to milk as a preservative. (The additives were given innocuous names like Rosaline and Preservaline.) Hundreds of children were sickened, and many died, from the tainted milk. Formaldehyde was also used as a preservative in meat.
That was the driving force behind Wiley's radical "Poison Squad" project. (He actually referred to it as "hygienic table trials"; journalists gave it the more colorful moniker.)  He recruited several young men to be his guinea pigs—all of whom signed waivers—and provided them with three healthy square meals a day. The catch: half of them also were given capsules containing borax, salicylic acid, or formaldehyde. Wiley started with the borax, thinking it would be the safest additive, and was alarmed at how quickly his squad members sickened.
The results convinced Wiley that federal regulation was necessary to protect American citizens from the dangerous and fraudulent practices of food suppliers. Naturally, industry leaders pushed back against Wiley's proposed legislation. The National Association of Food Manufacturers formed around this time, along with chemical industry manufacturing associations, as companies pooled their resources to oppose the ominous specter of government regulation. They even instituted a smear campaign against Wiley. One trade journal called him "the man who is doing all he can to destroy American business."
His reputation suffered but not his resolve: Wiley merely redoubled his efforts. "He basically set his government career on fire, because he was so determined to force this legislative change," says Blum. "He becomes much more of a public crusader than a scientist."
It was novelist Upton Sinclair's groundbreaking novel, The Jungle, that eventually tipped the balance. Based on Sinclair's first-hand reporting of the dreadful conditions at meat-packing plants, the details in the manuscript were so shocking that his initial publisher, MacMillan, refused to publish it and dumped him as a client. Doubleday ended up publishing the novel, although not before sending its own investigators to the plants to verify the details. Even President Roosevelt didn't believe it at first when Doubleday sent him the book (and their accompanying report). His own investigators reported back that, if anything, the conditions were even worse.
With Roosevelt's support, Congress finally passed the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906. Even though the final bills were much more watered down than Wiley would have liked, it was a major legislative victory. But enforcing the new law was an entirely different challenge, and Wiley found himself involved in numerous lawsuits. His case against flour manufacturers to prohibit them from bleaching their product—thereby adding nitrates to the mix—was ultimately struck down by the Supreme Court. But other lawsuits were more successful.
Blum covers the case against Coca-Cola in depth; the popular beverage originally contained a fair amount of cocaine (as the name implies). The state of Georgia insisted they remove the drug in 1902, and Coca-Cola replaced it with massive amounts of caffeine instead. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which sided with Wiley and the government. Coca-Cola was forced to cut the amount of caffeine in the beverage by half and pay all court costs.
In the end, the free press and American consumers made the biggest difference by keeping the issue on the front page and by refusing to purchase food products that contained dangerous additives, respectively. This forced companies to adopt better practices.
Eventually, Wiley realized that he could no longer be effective in promoting further regulation in his government position and resigned. His new job: Good Housekeeping magazine hired him to run their internal testing laboratory at double his government salary. Wiley was responsible for testing all manner of consumer products: food, drink, cosmetics, cleansers, and so forth. If they passed his stringent standards, they received the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.
The Poison Squad is an engaging, sometimes enraging, read about the forgotten public health crusader who helped ensure our food is safe to eat. It's also very timely, coming at a time when there is a significant anti-regulation push from the current administration—including a proposal to move responsibility for food safety out of the Food and Drug Administration to the more agribusiness-friendly Department of Agriculture.
"It would be a terrible mistake to roll back any of the regulations that we have in place [for food safety]," says Blum. "It's not that all businesses are evil. But there are always going to be people who take advantage if there are no standards in place. The 19th century tells us that, so let's not repeat that mistake."

The Importance of Safety and Sanitation Training
Source :
By P&G Professional (Nov 26, 2018)
In North America, education and training interventions have been widely used to decrease foodborne disease in foodservice operations, with most interventions focusing on improving worker knowledge of safe food handling. The limitation of this approach is that knowledge alone does not influence the adoption of safe food handling practices. With the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating that 48 million people get sick from foodborne illness each year, it’s important to understand the significance of a proper sanitation program and how to best develop and execute one in any foodservice operation.
Understanding the risk factors and levels of cleanliness needed to prevent contamination of food and kitchen equipment is the first step when implementing a thorough food safety program. Identify the types of soils and surfaces in your establishment to determine the proper cleaning and sanitation products to use, how often cleaning must be done to achieve the desired results and the training needed for your staff from management on down.
Create a Proper Cleaning Plan
Working with your cleaning supplier is a great way to put a highly effective sanitation plan together. A cleaning supplier can help identify any contamination risks within your facility by conducting a cleanliness audit, inspecting everything from the floors and drains to kitchen equipment and food contact surfaces, among other areas. They can also help ensure your cleaning program is working by measuring trace ATP and surface proteins through regular testing.
Once the risks have been identified, facility managers can create a master cleaning plan, outlining what should be cleaned, how it should be cleaned, when to clean and who should do the cleaning. This plan should also include details on which cleaning products to use to remove various soil types found on the different surfaces in any food service operation, as well as training procedures and schedules for staff at every level.
Common Cleaning Guidelines
Any sanitation program should include cleaning procedures for the common, and sometimes overlooked, areas found around any commercial kitchen.
In a commercial kitchen, countertops are at the heart of the action. Protect against food cross-contamination with regular disinfection and maintenance that can help prevent foodborne illnesses.
Cutting boards need to be cleaned frequently, including before use, before changing from one food type to another and after food handling is complete. Since these surfaces tend to be scored and scratched, they can harbour food that can lead to bacterial growth.
Dishes, pots, and pans are key tools in any foodservice operation, so a main ingredient to a spotless kitchen is the right dish cleaning product. Get your dishes virtually spotless and remove stubborn grease by using a dependable product you can trust.
Bacteria can often be found feeding on food residues in floor drains. These food sources can also attract other unwanted pests. Regular drain cleaning can help keep this in check.
Consider the ease of cleaning when purchasing new kitchen equipment, such as ice machines. The more difficult it is to clean, the less likely it will be cleaned consistently or correctly.
The Right Products and Tools
Using the right cleaning products and tools is also imperative when it comes to achieving food safety goals. Multipurpose products can clean a broad range of soils and surfaces, making cleaning easier by reducing the number of products needed and minimizing rework. Multipurpose products also help save time by reducing the complexity of the job, making staff training easier and simplifying inventory management.
With employee labour accounting for up to 80 percent of cleaning costs, operators can reduce the amount of time and resources it takes to clean a restaurant by using effective cleaning products and putting efficient cleaning processes into place.
Additionally, facility managers should have procedures in place to properly clean and sanitize cleaning tools regularly since scouring pads, brushes, and mops can be sources of cross-contamination.
Importance of Cleaning and Disinfecting
To fully understand why a proper cleaning program is important, employees need to recognize the difference between cleaning and disinfecting and why each step is essential to ensure guests (and employees) stay safe and healthy in your facility.
To start, employees need to be able to identify the difference between cleaning — the removal of soil or dirt from a surface — and disinfecting — the killing or reduction of microorganisms that cause disease, odours, and spoilage — and understand that both steps of the process are necessary.
Most disinfectants do not effectively remove soil, if at all, but cleaning well allows disinfecting agents to work more effectively because the soil is removed and cannot protect the germs. Multipurpose products that clean and disinfect in a single step are the best value for operators by limiting inventory needs, reducing rework, and simplifying training.
The Value of Training
Employee education and training are the keys to success for any sanitation program. Incorrect cleaning methods can spread dirt and bacteria around instead of cleaning it, and not using cleaning products the way they’re intended can reduce or eliminate their efficacy, putting guests and staff in harm’s way. Training should be ongoing and provided to each new employee and each time there is a new piece of equipment or new cleaning supply introduced.
Properly training employees, at every level, can help eliminate these risks and give employees a clear understanding of why thorough cleaning is vital, and how to make sure their efforts meet the most rigorous of cleanliness standards. Proper training can also increase employee safety by ensuring that products are being used correctly and reducing rewash (exposure to chemicals) and miscalculation with mixing.
To achieve the highest levels of content retention, training programs should be developed with content that is highly visual, auditory and tactile like videos that show and tell employees how to complete a task, including the opportunity to learn by doing. P&G Professional and Clemson University recently completed a study to determine the effect of a multi-phase, motivation-based educational intervention to improve the cleanliness of surfaces in a commercial kitchen. Validating that the trainees understood the content during the initial training sessions was one of the most important outcomes of the study, and this goal was achieved through use of multiple choice questions that were graded and documented in real time. Knowing they will be graded, trainees pay more attention to the content.
There are a variety of training tools that can be successful in reaching food service employees, including using active managerial controls to help improve managers’ ability to train and sustain a cleaning program and individual training for food safety/compliant cleaning. On-demand tools that offer written procedures or training videos are also ideal. For example, P&G Professional’s online university site regularly monitors and records knowledge intake.
Self-Monitoring and Feedback
Implementation of routine and documented checks can help improve overall cleanliness and can be used for retraining, which is also an important step in ensuring information retention. The checks system should not be overwhelming to implement and should take no longer than 10 minutes of a manager’s time. Measures can primarily be sensory (visual, touch, and smell) with established check points such as tables and chairs (not sticky and visually clean). Additionally, when issues are noted, the manger should retrain employees on proper procedures using demonstrations, as well as visual and auditory training materials and techniques. Your cleaning supplier can help develop a self-monitoring program that makes sense for your business.
An End-to-End Approach
Food safety requires an end-to-end cleaning and sanitation regimen that is continually monitored, and where constant feedback is provided to achieve the overall goals of the program. By evaluating your facility and equipment needs, with an eye toward safety and ease of cleaning, and selecting the most effective sanitizing and disinfecting products, you can have a dramatic impact on food safety, as well as productivity.
Dr. Anderson is a food safety and sanitation consultant for P&G Professional, the away-from-home division of Procter & Gamble. Dr. Pettigrew is a principal scientist at P&G, where he provides technical leadership in the Global Microbiology Organization and Systems Biology Programs. Reach Dr. Anderson or Dr. Pettigrew at

Food Safety Scares Ahead of Thanksgiving Dinner
Source :
By Sara Brown (Nov 21, 2018)
First it was turkey, now romaine and ham. Ahead of the holiday week, consumers are being warned by government watchdogs about food safety and disease traceability. Here’s a quick run down on how to keep your holiday menu safe:
Romaine Lettuce
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Tuesday to avoid romaine lettuce because it might be contaminated with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria. Retailers began pulling the product immediately.
The CDC advised throwing away any remaining lettuce in refrigerators and sanitizing shelves and drawers where it was stored. The Packer reports 32 cases of sickness in 11 U.S. states and 18 in Canada.
While it’s not genetically related to the Yuma outbreak from earlier this year, U.S. officials say they are unable to pinpoint any specific source.
Yes, Thanksgiving’s centerpiece is a risk. As of Nov. 5, 2018, 164 people say they’ve been infected with a strain of Salmonella Reading from turkey products in 35 states. Of those affected, 63 have been hospitalized and one death has occurred.
In interviews, ill people report eating different types and brands of turkey products purchased from many different locations.
To date there is only one product recall.
On Nov. 15, Jeannie-O Turkey Store Sales in Barron, Wis., recalled 91,388 lb. of raw ground turkey products. The recalled ground turkey was sold in one-pound packages labeled with establishment number “P-190”. This is found inside the USDA mark of inspection. The following products were recalled:
“Jennie-O Ground Turkey 93% LEAN | 7% FAT” with “Use by” dates of 10/01/2018 and 10/02/2018.
“Jennie-O Taco Seasoned Ground Turkey” with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018.
“Jennie-O Ground Turkey 85% LEAN | 15% FAT” with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018.
“Jennie-O Italian Seasoned Ground Turkey” with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018.
The CDC reminds all consumers to handle raw turkey carefully and cook it thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165°F to prevent food poisoning. Raw turkey products can have germs that spread around food preparation areas and can make you sick. Clean food prep surfaces, cutting boards and utensils with warm soapy water.
If you circumvent the turkey, be careful which ham products you select.  Earlier this year, Johnston County Hams recalled 89,096 lb. of ready-to-eat ham products for a listeria monocytogenes contamination.
The ready-to-eat deli-loaf ham items were produced from April 3, 2017 to Oct. 2, 2018. The following products subject to recall are:
Varying weights of 7-lb. to 8-lb. plastic-wrapped “JOHNSTON COUNTY HAMS, INC. COUNTRY STYLE FULLY COOKED BONELESS DELI HAM.”
Varying weights of 7-lb. to 8-lb. plastic-wrapped “Ole Fashioned Sugar Cured The Old Dominion Brand Hams Premium Fully Cooked Country Ham” with Sell-By dates from 4/10/2018 to 9/27/2019.
Varying weights of 7-lb. to 8-lb. plastic-wrapped “Padow’s Hams & Deli, Inc. FULLY COOKED COUNTRY HAM BONELESS Glazed with Brown Sugar.”
Varying weights of 7-lb. to 8-lb. plastic-wrapped “Premium Fully Cooked Country Ham LESS SALT Distributed By: Valley Country Hams LLC” with Sell-By dates from 4/10/2018 to 9/27/2019.
Varying weights of 7-lb. to 8 lbs. plastic-wrapped “GOODNIGHT BROTHERS COUNTRY HAM Boneless Fully Cooked.”
These items were shipped to distributors in Maryland, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina and Virginia, and bear establishment number “EST. M2646” inside the USDA mark of inspection.
Read more from Farm Journal’s PORK.

Basic guidelines for getting your turkey to the table safely
Source :
By (Nov 18, 2018)
Here are turkey safety tips and recommendations from the Free Press Test Kitchen and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Before you start cooking:
Thaw the turkey, if frozen. If you haven’t yet taken it out of the freezer, do it today. Thaw it in its original package on a tray. Allow almost 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey. A 12- to 16-pound turkey will take 3 to 4 days to thaw in the refrigerator.
If you forget to thaw your turkey in advance, place it in a sink in its original wrapper and fill the sink with cold water. Change water every 30 minutes. A 12- to 16-pound turkey will take 6 to 8 hours.
The USDA does not recommend rinsing or washing your turkey first, which is a step in many recipes. Why? The splashing water can contaminate nearby foods and utensils.
Several years ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture lowered the safe cooking temperature for the overall turkey to 165 degrees.
Invest in an instant-read thermometer. Make sure the thermometer you have is working properly. You can buy thermometers at grocery stores, hardware stores,  warehouse clubs, kitchen supply stores and retailers that have kitchen tools. They range in price from $5 to $50.

Food safety experts say to take romaine recall seriously
Source :
By William Joy (Nov 20, 2018)
The CDC is warning businesses and consumers to toss out romaine lettuce
There's a nationwide health alert.
The Centers for Disease Control is urging everyone to throw away any type of romaine lettuce.
The recall includes lettuce whether it’s raw, chopped or packaged.
Across the country, more than a dozen people have been hospitalized because of an E.coli outbreak and the CDC says more than 30 people have gotten sick.
Younger children and older adults are most at risk.
Experts say cooking or washing doesn’t matter and you need to throw out any romaine.
“The five dollar package of lettuce is nothing compared to having your child in the hospital with kidney failure over the holidays because of an E.coli outbreak,” Bryan Severns – Food Programs manager Kansas State’s Olathe extension, said.
So far, no cases have been identified in Kansas and Missouri.
The CDC still doesn’t know the source of the outbreak.




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