Archive for November, 2009

Storage Times for Food in the Refrigerator and Freezer

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Storage Times for the Refrigerator and Freezer

Category

Food

Refrigerator
(40 °F or below)

Freezer
(0 °F or below)

Salads

Egg, chicken, ham, tuna & macaroni salads

3 to 5 days Does not freeze well

Hot dogs

opened package

1 week 1 to 2 months

unopened package

2 weeks 1 to 2 months

Luncheon meat

opened package or deli sliced

3 to 5 days 1 to 2 months

unopened package

2 weeks 1 to 2 months

Bacon & Sausage

Bacon

7 days 1 month

Sausage, raw — from chicken, turkey, pork, beef

1 to 2 days 1 to 2 months

Hamburger & Other Ground Meats

Hamburger, ground beef, turkey, veal, pork, lamb, & mixtures of them

1 to 2 days 3 to 4 months

Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb & Pork

Steaks

3 to 5 days 6 to 12 months

Chops

3 to 5 days 4 to 6 months

Roasts

3 to 5 days 4 to 12 months

Fresh Poultry

Chicken or turkey, whole

1 to 2 days 1 year

Chicken or turkey, pieces

1 to 2 days 9 months

Soups & Stews

Vegetable or meat added

3 to 4 days 2 to 3 months

Leftovers

Cooked meat or poultry

3 to 4 days 2 to 6 months

Chicken nuggets or patties

3 to 4 days 1 to 3 months

Pizza

3 to 4 days 1 to 2 months

(more…)

Homemade Ice Cream & Risk of Salmonella Infection

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Risk of Salmonella Infection

The information here is intended to make one aware of the risk of using raw eggs in products that we consume. This includes making ice cream at home with eggs as an ingredient. Other products include salad dressings and mayonnaise.
There are also resources that suggest ways to be safe, eat sensibly and enjoy quality living.
Do read on:

Every year homemade ice cream causes several outbreaks of Salmonella infection with up to several hundred victims at church picnics, family reunions, and other large gatherings. From 1996 to 2000 (the latest year for which surveillance was completed), 17 outbreaks resulting in more than 500 illnesses in the United States were traced to Salmonella bacteria in homemade ice cream, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The ingredient responsible for the outbreaks is raw or undercooked eggs.

A person infected with Salmonella Enteritidis (SE), the strain of Salmonella found most frequently in raw eggs, usually has fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps beginning 12 to 72 hours after eating or drinking a contaminated food or beverage. The infection generally lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without any treatment.

However, for those at high risk–infants, older people, pregnant women, and people with a weakened immune system–it can be life-threatening.

Egg Substitutes

You can still enjoy homemade ice cream without the risk of Salmonella infection by substituting a pasteurized egg product, egg substitute, or pasteurized shell eggs for the raw eggs in your favorite recipe. Egg products are eggs that have been removed from their shells and pasteurized. They may be liquid, frozen, or dried whole eggs, whites, yolks, or blends of egg and other ingredients. Egg products are not widely available at retail; they are predominantly used in institutional food service.

Egg substitutes, which may be liquid or frozen, contain only the white of the egg, the part that doesn’t have fat and cholesterol, and are readily available at most supermarkets. Pasteurized shell eggs are also available from a growing number of retailers; you’ll find them located next to the regular shell eggs. These eggs look and taste just like regular shell eggs, though the white may be slightly cloudy, and they are nutritionally equivalent to their unpasteurized counterparts.

Safety Options

Other options for safe homemade ice cream are to use a cooked egg base or prepare it without eggs. The American Egg Board has a recipe for homemade ice cream made with eggs that are heated to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit and then cooled. This temperature will kill Salmonella, if present. The recipe is available on AEB’s website, www.aeb.org. There you will also find recipes for other foods traditionally made with raw or undercooked eggs, such as mayonnaise, Caesar salad dressing, and eggnog. There are also many recipes for homemade ice cream available in cookbooks and from a variety of other sources that do not contain egg ingredients.

One such recipe is available from the University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension using the following link: http://lancaster.unl.edu/food/ciq-homemade-ice-cream.shtml.

Even when using pasteurized products, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) advise consumers to start with a cooked base for optimal safety, especially if serving people at high risk. Additionally, you should ensure that the dairy ingredients you use in homemade ice cream, such as milk and cream, are pasteurized.

Other products containing egg

Commercially manufactured ice cream, mayonnaise, Caesar salad dressing, and eggnog are typically made with pasteurized eggs or egg products or the final product is pasteurized.
FDA continues to work with federal and state agencies, the egg industry, and the scientific community to eliminate egg-associated SE illnesses.

Resources:

FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
(888) SAFEFOOD (723-3366)
www.cfsan.fda.gov

USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline
(888) MPHotline (674-6854)

Milk, Cheese, and Dairy Products

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Milk, Cheese, and Dairy Products

Myths About Raw Milk

Pasteurization is a process that kills harmful bacteria by heating milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time. Some people continue to believe that pasteurization harms milk and that raw milk is a safe healthier alternative.

Raw milk can harbor dangerous microorganisms, such as salmonella, e. coli, and listeria, that can pose serious health risks to you and your family.

Here are some common myths and proven facts about milk and pasteurization:

  • Raw milk DOES NOT kill dangerous pathogens by itself.
  • Pasteurizing milk DOES NOT cause lactose intolerance and allergic reactions. Both raw milk and pasteurized milk can cause allergic reactions in people sensitive to milk proteins.
  • Pasteurization DOES NOT reduce milk’s nutritional value.
  • Pasteurization DOES NOT mean that it is safe to leave milk out of the refrigerator for extended time,particularly after it has been opened.
  • Pasteurization DOES kill harmful bacteria.
  • Pasteurization DOES save lives.

Tips for Fresh Produce Safety

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Buying Tips

Purchase fruit and vegetables that are  not bruised or damaged.

When selecting fresh-cut produce – such as a half a watermelon or bagged salad greens – choose items that are refrigerated or surrounded by ice.

Bag fresh fruits and vegetables separately from meat, poultry and seafood products.

Remember that the drips from the meat products may contain bacteria which will seep into your other purchases.

Storage Tips

Store perishable fresh fruits and vegetables (like strawberries, lettuce, herbs, and mushrooms) in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40° F  or below.

Refrigerate all produce that is purchased pre-cut or peeled

Preparation Tips

Begin with clean hands. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.

Cut away any damaged or bruised areas on fresh fruits and vegetables. Produce that looks rotten should be discarded.

All produce should be thoroughly washed before eating. Wash fruits and vegetables under running water just before eating, cutting or cooking.

Even if you plan to peel the produce before eating, it is still important to wash it first.

Washing fruits and vegetables with soap or detergent or using commercial produce washes is not recommended.

Scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush.

Drying produce with a clean cloth towel or paper towel may further reduce bacteria that may be present.