Listeria: Thriving in the Cold

The equivalent of 15 semi-truckloads of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream was recalled earlier this year due to possible contamination with Listeria bacteria.  The recall cost the company $2.5 million, but it was the right response.  Another ice cream producer, Blue Bell Creameries, recalled all of its products made at all of its facilities after Listeria

Avoiding Plant Disease in the Backyard Vegetable Garden

In springtime, hope springs eternal for a bountiful harvest from the backyard vegetable garden.  One risk to productivity, however, is pathogens (disease-causing microbes) transferred from contaminated planting pots and garden tools to vegetables, a form of cross-contamination.  Here are some tips for avoiding crop loss due to cross-contamination. Recycle Planting Pots, Not Pathogens Do you

Thanksgiving Stress: What Rates High on Your Meter?

Thanksgiving is meant to be a delightful day centered on family, friends, and food. Traditions play a big role on this day, whether it is a brisk pre-dinner hike, watching football on TV, or giving everyone at the table a chance to express what he or she has been most grateful for this year. Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving Cook’s Quiz

Calling all cooks: As Thanksgiving approaches, you are invited to test your knowledge of safe food handling with this quiz: 1. Which of the following should all Thanksgiving cooks assume as they begin dinner preparations? a. All guests will arrive on time. b. The raw turkey is contaminated with potentially harmful bacteria. c. The mashed

Foodborne Illness Outbreak: Cyclospora

Federal and state agencies are working together to determine which foods are responsible for an outbreak of diarrheal illness that has affected almost 400 people in 11 states. Prepackaged salad mix has been identified as responsible for outbreaks in Iowa and Nebraska, but it is not known whether outbreaks in other states are also linked

Six Sneaky Hiding Spots for Kitchen Germs

What are the sneakiest hiding spots for kitchen germs?  Microbiologist Lisa Yakas, of NSF-International recently set out to answer that question.  Her findings confirm that germs are especially partial to environments that feature moisture and food residue. Twenty volunteer families enlisted in Yakas’ NSF-International project in which participants swabbed 14 common kitchen surfaces.  Next the

Easter Egg Safety

Dying Easter eggs and organizing Easter egg hunts are treasured traditions in many families. Enjoying these traditions safely—without foodborne illness—is a matter of following a few commonsense guidelines. We provide the following Easter egg safety tips based on US Department of Agriculture Fact Sheets with our wishes for a healthy, enjoyable holiday. Buying Eggs Buy

That White Film on Baby Carrots: Myth and Fact

There is no truth to the myth that the whitish film on baby cut carrots is a chlorine residue from carrot processing. Myth:  The white film noticed occasionally on baby carrots is a chlorine residue from carrot processing that presents a cancer health risk to consumers. Fact:  The white film in question, sometimes referred to

Sounds Like a New Way to Make Spinach Safer

“Eat your greens,” mom always said. And she was right. Fresh spinach, a powerhouse of nutrition, is a good example.  According to the How Stuff Works website, spinach provides twice as much fiber as other greens.  Raw spinach contains: beta-carotene, an anti-oxidant that can help reduce the risk of developing cataracts; lutein, a phytochemical that

Activating Your Holiday Kitchen

It’s the holiday season and your kitchen may be one of the millions in America that is about to be activated. Get ready to turn out your favorite dishes in the warmest, friendliest room in the house. But keep in mind that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year one in