Recent Blog Posts

FSIS Salmonella Road Map

By Dr. Kara Morgan

The FSIS "Roadmap to Reduce Salmonella" was published on Friday September 18, and a public meeting was held on Tuesday September 22.  In her opening comments, Dr. Mindy Brashears, Undersecretary for Food Safety, explained that the meeting was being held because the Healthy People Goals for Salmonella have not been met for three decades (2000, 2010, and 2020). In spite of many efforts from federal food safety agencies and private sector actors, the rate of illness from Salmonella attributed to food has been stubbornly stuck at around 15 cases per 100,000 over that time period.

CDC estimates Salmonella bacteria cause about 1.35 million infections, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths in the United States every year. Food is the source for most of these illnesses. Thirty-eight  percent of foodborne illnesses from Salmonella are attributed to meat and poultry products. Animal-based products, which include dairy and eggs as well as meat and poultry, generally account for about 30% of calories consumed in the United States. Therefore, the likelihood of contracting salmonellosis from eating meat and poultry products is relatively high as compared to other foods.

In the roadmap, FSIS describes their current approach to reducing illness from Salmonella in meat and poultry products, including modernization of inspections, inspection tasks, FSIS laboratories, performance standards, outreach and communication, data transparency and analytics, research and innovation, and collaboration with public health partners. Unfortunately, there was no commitment to new approaches; rather, in the “Looking ahead” section, there was a list of what future activities “might” include. This was a bit surprising since we all know that traveling the same path will most likely to lead to the same results. The roadmap also cites a recently published study by FSIS researchers as evidence of a decreasing rate of Salmonella in meat and poultry products. However, the analysis uses statistical tools that assume the data was randomly collected. This approach, in addition to other analytically questionable interpretations of the data, leaves us with weak evidence that progress is being made.

There were a few ideas from the public comments that hopefully will give the agency food for thought. Many of those who provided public comments at the meeting noted that the broad category of Salmonella is too large. With molecular techniques, we can identify serotypes of Salmonella that have been harmful in the past and use this information to distinguish them from those that have not been associated with human illness. Currently, all major mitigation efforts from FSIS – like performance standards – treat all Salmonella serotypes equally. Notably, a pending petition for declaring over 30 serotypes of Salmonella to be adulterants was not mentioned in the meeting. USDA has not yet formally responded to the petition, but since declaring Salmonella an adulterant was not mentioned as part of the roadmap, we can assume that the petition is not on a fast track for approval. It is unfortunate that the issues raised in that petition were not addressed or acknowledged at the public meeting. There is more work to be done regarding bringing the best science to bear on this question of targeting the most important Salmonella strains. In our public comments on the petition, we mentioned that there have been advances in detection of virulence factors within serotypes through whole genome sequencing. These factors are strongly connected to severity of illness and, as such, would be an important consideration in a risk-based approach. There is no mention of focusing on specific serotypes in the roadmap, much less on virulence factors in the road map.

In our comments at the Salmonella Roadmap public meeting, CFI suggested that a broad coalition of stakeholders including industry, academia, consumer groups and government are needed to effectively address this problem.  This engagement, along with work to identify the most promising interventions is needed. A stakeholder driven risk prioritization would help ensure that available resources are targeted towards the right things to reduce risk. A risk-based food safety system is built on this type of process. Given that we have not moved the rate of illness from Salmonella in over 20 years, despite the implementation of many interventions, it is clear that a new approach is needed. We hope that the agency will listen and heed the many public comments that were provided and provide a more detailed strategy for reducing illnesses from Salmonella contamination in meat and poultry products. 


Dr. Kara Morgan

Dr. Kara Morgan

Research Scientist

Associate Director, Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention

 

 

 

 

Posted In:
Tags:
Comments: 0
sharing a meal - photo from iStock

We are proud to announce that the first TARTARE Newsletter will be published this month! The newsletter will be sent out on a bi-monthly basis to provide the TARTARE team and stakeholders with a combination of updates about project activities, team member spotlights, current news surrounding relevant food safety topics from around the world, and upcoming events of interest. This month's issue will feature an interview from TARTARE doctoral fellow Achenef Melaku about his experience on campus at The Ohio State University receiving training in Dr. Ahmed Yousef’s lab, an introduction to our new TARTARE project manager Nasandra Wright, and a summary of a publication that our own Dr. Kara Morgan was involved with titled “Assessing the Risks and Benefits of Advances in Science and Technology: Exploring the Potential of Qualitative Frameworks” among other information. Portions of the newsletter will be included in future blogs.  If you would like to recieve the TARTARE Newsletter, please send an email to cfi@osu.edu with the subject: TARTARE Newsletter.

Posted In:
Tags:
Comments: 0
Lone Star Tick - photo by Getty Images

By: Tracy Turner

Is there a tick that causes people to develop an allergy to red meat, and can it be found it Ohio?

Yes, to both of your questions.

The tick you are referring to is called the lone star tick, which, in certain cases, in some people, can cause an allergy to red meat after being bitten by the tick. 

This species of tick entered Ohio over the last decade or so. It has since spread throughout the state, although it is more common in southern Ohio, said Tim McDermott, an educator with Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). 

While the lone star tick prefers a wooded habitat, in many cases, it can also be found along the perimeter of pasture and hay fields that extend into the grass, he said. 

“It’s known to be an aggressive biter of humans, and while this tick isn’t known to vector or transmit Lyme disease, it can vector other diseases such as ehrlichiosis, southern tick associated-rash illness, tularemia, as well as some viral diseases,” McDermott said. “It has also been associated with causing an allergic syndrome in some people after being bitten.” 

According to a study by researchers with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, some people who have been bitten by a lone star tick have gone on to develop an allergy to eating red meat, and in some cases, dairy. The study found that, in rare cases, some people have developed life-threatening allergic reactions to red meat after being bitten by a lone star tick. 

The study attributes the allergic reaction to galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose (alpha-gal), which is a type of sugar that some animals make in their bodies. As a result, it’s found in red meats, including beef, pork, and lamb, the exception being primates.

According to published reports, humans don’t have alpha-gal, but they can have an immune response to it. 

“If a person is bitten by the lone star tick and has an allergic reaction to the alpha-gal carbohydrate in the tick saliva, they can show food allergy symptoms including hives, itching, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and swelling, after eating mammalian muscle such as pork, beef, lamb, and venison,” McDermott said. “In severe cases, the individual may suffer anaphylactic shock, which is a life-threatening allergic reaction.”

While the association between lone star tick bites and the allergy are clear, more research is needed to understand why these alpha-gal allergies develop in some people and not in others, according to the study.

“In Ohio, ticks are most active from April through September, although they can be active any time of the year,” McDermott said. 

“The three most common ticks that can affect humans, companion animals, and livestock found in the Buckeye State include the blacklegged tick (also known as the deer tick), the American dog tick, and the lone star tick,” he said. 

To prevent tick bites when in areas where they may be active, McDermott recommend that you should do the following:

  • Wear light-colored clothes including a long-sleeved shirt tucked into your pants and long pants tucked into your socks or boots.
  • Apply a tick repellent according to label instructions.
  • Wear footwear and clothing that have been treated correctly with permethrin. These can be purchased through many outfitters and clothing companies. 
  • Do frequent tick checks of your body while outside, and do a thorough inspection at shower time.
  • Protect your pets with an anti-tick product recommended by a veterinarian.
  • Keep dogs on a leash and avoid allowing them into weedy areas.
  • Do not crush or puncture a tick, if you find one attached. Instead, use pointy tweezers or a tick removal tool to carefully remove the tick by grasping the tick as close to your skin as possible and pulling it straight up with steady, even pressure. Then, disinfect the bite site, and wash your hands with soap and water. 
  • Save the tick for identification. 

“Lastly, if you think you may have been exposed to a tick bite or if you show symptoms of alpha-gal allergy, contact your physician right away to get a diagnosis,” McDermott said.

More information on lone star and other ticks can be found at Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases, an Ohioline fact sheet. Ohioline is OSU Extension’s free online information resource and can be found at ohioline.osu.edu

Chow Line is a service of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line writer Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or turner.490@osu.edu.

Editor: This column was reviewed by Tim McDermott, an Ohio State University Extension educator.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: 

Tracy Turner

turner.490@osu.edu

614-688-1067

SOURCE(S): 

Tim McDermott
mcdermott.15@osu.edu

  1. 364 West Lane Ave.
    Suite B120
    Columbus, OH 43201
    Fax: 614-292-2270
  2. Research Services Building
    1680 Madison Ave.
    Wooster, OH 44691
    Fax: 330-202-3504

Original article: https://cfaes.osu.edu/news/articles/chow-line-tick-causes-meat-allergies...

Posted In:
Tags:
Comments: 0
Grilling Steak and Meat Thermometer - Photo by Getty Images

By: Tracy Turner

Why should I use a meat thermometer while barbecuing steak on the grill? Can’t you just look at the steak to determine if it’s done by the color of the meat?

Although many people use color as an indicator of doneness when grilling meats, to lessen your chance of developing a foodborne illness, it’s best to use a meat thermometer to ensure that your meat is cooked to the correct internal temperature. 

Your question is very timely, considering that July is National Grilling Month, with July 4th generally accepted as the most popular U.S. holiday for grilling, surveys have shown. And because your question is very similar to one that was asked in a previous “Chow Line” column, it’s best answered by reissuing that column here.

According to research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, only 34% of the public uses a food thermometer when cooking hamburgers.

But, in order to avoid foodborne illness, the USDA advises consumers to use a food thermometer to accurately measure if meat is cooked to a high enough internal temperature to destroy any harmful bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli that might be present.

The safe minimum cooking temperature for ground meats, including beef, pork, veal, and lamb, is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Turkey and chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees, according to the USDA. Steak and pork can be safely cooked to 145 degrees.

To gauge the most accurate temperature, place the meat thermometer in the thickest part of the food.

In addition, the USDA says that you should allow a three-minute rest time after removing the meat from the heat source. During this rest time, the temperature of the meat remains constant or continues to rise, thereby helping to destroy any pathogens that might be present.

The problem with using color as an indicator of doneness for ground beef, for instance, is if raw ground beef is somewhat brown already, it might look fully cooked before it reaches a safe temperature. Different levels of oxygenation at different locations inside and on the surface of the meat can cause the meat to look red on the outside and brown on the inside.

So, if the meat is already brown, it won’t change color during cooking, the USDA says.

Here are some other tips for safe grilling from the USDA and the National Fire Protection Association:

  • When marinating meat or poultry, do so in a tightly sealed container kept in the refrigerator at 40 degrees or colder, or place the meat in an iced cooler if you are transporting the food. It’s important to keep the meat chilled because bacteria that can cause foodborne illness grow rapidly at room temperature.
  • Use propane and charcoal grills outdoors only.
  • Place your grill well away from your home, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease and fat buildup from the grills and trays below the grills.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
  • For charcoal grills, use only lighter fluid designed for grilling. Never use gasoline or other flammable liquids, and never add more lighter fluid once the fire has started.
  • Don’t cover or store your grill until it has cooled. Soak coals with water before throwing them away.

Keeping these safety tips in mind can help you have enjoyable barbecues without the worry of getting sick from eating undercooked meats.

Chow Line is a service of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line author Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or turner.490@osu.edu.

Editor: This column was originally reviewed by Jenny Lobb, educator, family and consumer sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: 

Tracy Turner

turner.490@osu.edu

614-688-1067

SOURCE(S): 

Jenny Lobb
Family and Consumer Sciences

Original article: https://cfaes.osu.edu/news/articles/chow-line-meat-thermometer-is-the-be....

Posted In:
Tags:
Comments: 0
Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention logo

The Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention was recently featured on the OSU Chow Line blog:

By: Tracy Turner

Is there a local source that I can use to find information and resources on food recalls? 

While there are several online sources of information on food recalls, the Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention (CFI) at The Ohio State University not only publishes information on the latest food recalls, it also provides multiple food safety resources, training, education, and information.

Founded as a nonprofit organization in 2006, CFI brought its 14-year record of protecting public health to Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) in September 2019. 

The center, which is now housed within the CFAES Department of Food Science and Technology, has a mission to advance a more scientific, risk-based food safety system that prevents foodborne illnesses and protects public health by translating science into policy and practice, said Barbara Kowalcyk, a recognized food safety expert and CFAES assistant professor of food safety and public health.

“In bringing CFI to Ohio State, we hope to build a stronger network of food safety experts who have the resources and talent to address existing and emerging food safety problems,” said Kowalcyk, who is also the center’s co-founder and director. “As knowledge brokers, we then work to translate science into practical, evidence-informed policies that protect public health and prevent foodborne disease.”

This is significant, considering the World Health Organization estimates that 600 million illnesses and 420,000 deaths are caused annually by 31 foodborne hazards worldwide. In the United States, serious foodborne bacteria, viruses, and fungi cause an estimated 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths each year, conservatively causing $77.7 billion in medical costs and lost productivity.

The CFI website can be found at foodsafety.osu.edu. Some of the information on the site includes:

  • Links to food safety-related research
  • Food safety education and training resources
  • Webinars
  • Food safety online courses
  • Consumer awareness and education information
  • Information on food safety training
  • Information on food safety outreach and public service 
  • Links to foodborne safety organizations and resources
  • A food safety blog

Additionally, among its many contributions, the center collaborated with other groups to develop, pass, and implement the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 (FSMA), which was the first major overhaul of food safety oversight at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in more than 70 years. FSMA shifts the focus from responding to foodborne illnesses to preventing them.

The center also joined multiple efforts to strengthen government resources for national and state food safety programs, and it led an effort to require mandatory labeling of mechanically tenderized beef products, which have been associated with foodborne illnesses, Kowalcyk said.

During its tenure at CFAES, the center “is working to connect the many people at Ohio State who are working on different aspects of food safety into an active network and help those outside Ohio State find the expertise they need within the university,” said Kara Morgan, associate director of CFI. 

“Our inaugural event last November, ‘Translating Science into Policy and Practice: What are the food safety priorities?’ was our initial effort and brought together over 100 people from around Ohio,” Morgan said. “Also, a webinar was held in June about food safety and COVID-19 to commemorate World Food Safety Day.”

To subscribe to the CFI listserv, you can click on the red icon on the foodsafety.osu.edu site or at go.osu.edu/CFIsubscribe.

Chow Line is a service of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line, c/o Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or turner.490@osu.edu.

Editor: This column was reviewed by Barbara Kowalcyk, director, CFI, and an assistant professor at CFAES’ Department of Food Science and Technology.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: 

Tracy Turner

turner.490@osu.edu

614-688-1067

SOURCE(S): 

Barbara Kowalcyk
CFAES Food Science and Technology

Original article: https://cfaes.osu.edu/news/articles/chow-line-cfaes-center-offers-food-safety-resources-information

Posted In:
Tags:
Comments: 0
laptop computer

By: Aaron Beczkiewicz

As a firm believer that we are the sum of our experiences, I often find myself looking back on the various jobs I have held since starting college. While some of those experiences are starting to blend together, I will always remember my first supervisor telling me my sophomore year of college that I should take a statistics course even though it was not required for my major. Shrugging off this advice at the time, I thought to myself “I’ll never need statistics.” How wrong I was…

I was certain for the longest time that I wanted to be a benchtop scientist working in a laboratory my entire career. As I became more involved in laboratory work and my tasks became second nature, I realized that it was not actually the laboratory work I enjoyed but the challenge of learning and perfecting new skill sets. Like most students in a biology-based major who find they enjoy college coursework and do not want it to end, I decided to go to graduate school. While completing my master’s project, I came to view the challenge of synthesizing results into a cohesive argument as a puzzle I was working to solve. For me, this shift in thinking also brought the realization that what I really wanted out of a future career was something that would be intellectually stimulating and keep me constantly learning.

I was hesitant at first to continue on into a PhD program because, on a base level, I was concerned I would struggle due to my (at the time) limited experience with statistics and data analysis. What pushed me over the edge was the harsh reality that I would eventually need to shift out of the laboratory and into an office role to pursue the career I wanted. Regardless of whether I made the shift while still in school or ten years down the road, I knew it would require a different skillset than what I had developed in the laboratory. So, I set out to change that by focusing on quantitative research methods during my PhD program.

As a now fully computer-based graduate student surrounded by students who spend the vast majority of their time in a laboratory, I am sometimes asked why I would give up benchtop work if I truly enjoyed the hands-on aspect and excitement of walking in each morning to look at the plates I had streaked with bacteria the day before. My answer, in short, is always that data is the future of food safety and the broader food industry in general.

To see this, one has to look no further than the 2020 Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting where an entire panel discussion – “Data Revolution: Is Food Safety Sitting on the Side Lines?” – focused on what the food industry and regulatory agencies must do to bring the field of food safety into the 21st century. With increased automation of food processing resulting in companies collecting large amounts of data on a daily basis, there is a lot of potential to use this data to inform processing decisions for improved food safety. However, as recognized during the session, there is a lack of food safety professionals who can effectively translate and integrate information collected across the field of food safety. To address this issue, panelists and attendees voiced support for offering statistics trainings and short courses to individuals currently employed in the food industry. While increasing opportunities for individuals to obtain more advanced statistical training could help, I think the true challenge in meeting this need is going to be finding ways to engage and encourage a traditionally laboratory-based field to take advantage of the training opportunities provided.

Looking back on my academic and professional career since first starting in a laboratory six years ago, I am not sure whether I would have thought to pursue a data analytics focus on my own. Regardless, I walk into work every day happy that my first supervisor encouraged me to expand my focus beyond the laboratory for possible careers and I encourage others to do the same.


Aaron BeczkiewiczAaron Beczkiewicz

Graduate Research Associate

beczkiewicz.1@osu.edu

 

 

 

 

 

Posted In:
Tags:
Comments: 0

By Ariel Garsow

Individuals in low- and middle income countries experience a disproportionate burden of foodborne disease (Havelaar et al. 2015). In other words, individuals with lack of access to financial or other resources experience more frequent or severe foodborne disease for a longer period of time. With the additional environmental stressors of COVID-19, an increasing amount of individuals will experience food insecurity. Being food secure means having access at all times to safe, nutritious food that is appropriate for one’s culture and lifestyle (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion 2020).

Pre-pandemic, 820 million people worldwide were identified as food insecure (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 2019), 135 million of whom were acutely food insecure in levels of crisis, emergency or famine (Food Security and Information Network, Global Network Against Food Crises 2020).

The image below shows the scale of acute food insecurity in Eastern Africa in the last year (Integrated Food Security Phase Classification 2020).

Acute food insecurity in Eastern Africa in the last year

To see data for other countries around the world, you can click on the photo.

Due to travel restrictions and disrupted supply chains from the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of individuals facing acute hunger could nearly double in 2020 (World Food Programme 2020).

In response to the impact of COVID-19 on food security, the United States Agency for International Development released a statement that, “in a vicious cycle, shocks to nutrition will increase vulnerability to COVID-19 and other diseases” (USAID 2020).

What might these shocks to nutrition look like for COVID19?  One illustrative example of a “shock to nutrition” is an increase in mycotoxins due to a locust plague. Mycotoxins are toxins produced by fungi that have been associated with adverse health outcomes such as stunting and liver cancer (Wu, Groopman, and Pestka 2014). Crop damage caused by insects or other pests creates an opportune environment for the fungi to grow and produce mycotoxins. The current locust plague is causing damage to crops which could lead to (1) an increase in food waste, since mycotoxin contaminated crops may be discarded or (2) adverse health outcomes due to the consumption of contaminated crops. Already, due to COVID-19, distribution of needed supplies to control the locusts is taking more time. Additionally, travel restrictions are barring individuals with expertise from traveling to locust-infested areas to provide assistance (Johnson 2020). 

 

 

 

It is likely that “shocks” like this will result from the COVID pandemic.  As COVID-19 continues to spread, attaining the UN Sustainable development goals “No Poverty” and “Zero Hunger” by 2030 is becoming even more challenging than they already were (United Nations 2020).

 

References

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2019. “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World.” 2019. http://www.fao.org/state-of-food-security-nutrition.

Food Security and Information Network, Global Network Against Food Crises. 2020. “2020 Global Report on Food Crises.” https://www.fsinplatform.org/sites/default/files/resources/files/GRFC_20....

Havelaar, Arie H., Martyn D. Kirk, Paul R. Torgerson, Herman J. Gibb, Tine Hald, Robin J. Lake, Nicolas Praet, et al. 2015. “World Health Organization Global Estimates and Regional Comparisons of the Burden of Foodborne Disease in 2010.” PLoS Medicine 12 (12): 1–23. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001923.

Integrated Food Security Phase Classification. 2020. “IPCINFO Website.” 2020. http://www.ipcinfo.org/.

Johnson, Kiersten. 2020. “Tracking the Perfect Storm in West Africa: COVID-19 & Desert Locusts.” 2020. https://www.agrilinks.org/post/tracking-perfect-storm-west-africa-covid-....

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. 2020. “Food Insecurity.” 2020. https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/social-determ....

United Nations. 2020. “About the Sustainable Development Goals.” 2020. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/.

USAID. 2020. “Responding to COVID-19’s Impact on Resilience and Food Security.” 2020. https://www.usaid.gov/who-we-are/organization/bureaus/bureau-resilience-....

World Food Programme. 2020. “COVID-19 Will Double Number of People Facing Food Crises Unless Swift Action Is Taken.” 2020. https://www.wfp.org/news/covid-19-will-double-number-people-facing-food-....

Wu, Felicia, John D. Groopman, and James J. Pestka. 2014. “Public Health Impacts of Foodborne Mycotoxins.” Annual Review of Food Science and Technology 5 (1): 351–72. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-food-030713-092431.


Ariel Garsow

Graduate Research Associate

CFAES Department of Food Science and Technology

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Posted In:
Tags:
Comments: 0
hamburgers Image by skeeze from Pixabay

By: Devon Mendez

Even with COVID limiting the number of summer events going on this year, many individuals are still finding time to meet in small groups to enjoy some sunshine. Whether this means a barbeque in the backyard with friends, or a picnic in the park, good food safety practices are important in preventing foodborne illness. Rates of foodborne illness, often referred to as “food poisoning,” typically are higher in the summer than other times of year. Proper handling and storage of food is of the upmost importance to ensure the health of you and your family at these events.

What causes most foodborne illness?

The simple answer to this question is bacteria, though viruses can be the culprits as well.  Since bacteria grow everywhere in our environment, it is imperative that we are aware of the risks and ensure that we keep food at safe temperatures. Typically, the danger zone for bacterial growth occurs between 40 to 140 degrees F, making it extremely important to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. While many of these bacteria should be mitigated during food processing, there is always a chance that they may be present. It is for this reason that properly handling and cooking food is imperative to keeping everyone healthy. In the summer, safety may need to be considered in grilling and making sure that foods that need to be refrigerated are not left out too long.

What can you do to keep you and your food safe?

When cooking and consuming food outdoors, the Center for Foodborne Illness (CFI) recommends following six major steps to help minimize the risk of you and your loved ones getting sick from eating during your outdoor activities. These steps include:

  1. Utilize safe water and raw materials
    1. Avoid high risk foods associated with recalls.
    2. Use clean water to wash all fruits and vegetables.
    3. If you are unsure if a food is safe, throw it out.
  2. Clean hands and surfaces
    1. Hands should be washed using warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds to ensure they are clean.
    2. Hands should be washed after handling food, using the restroom, or handling pets.
    3. Use disposable wipes, moist towelettes or paper towels to clean surfaces.
    4. Surfaces should be cleaned often and every time a different food is being prepared.
  3. Separate different foods
    1. Cross contamination is a major cause of food borne illness and is often caused when raw meats or other dirty food encounters another food source, depositing bacteria.
    2. Cross contamination can be avoided by using different cutting boards for different food types (i.e.- one cutting board for raw meats and another for fruits and vegetables).
    3. Ensure all food kept in coolers, especially raw meats, are properly packaged so they do not leak juices onto other foods.
    4. Avoid putting cooked food on the same plate as raw food.
  4. Cook foods to proper temperatures
    1. Using a thermometer when cooking meats is key to ensuring food has reached the proper temperature and is safe to eat.
    2. Cook all meats to the USDA recommended internal temperatures:
      1. Poultry (whole, pieces & ground): 165 °F /74 °C
      2. Ground meats: 160 °F /71 °C
      3. Beef, pork, lamb, and veal (steaks, roasts & chops): 145 °F /63 °C
  5. Keep cold foods cold and refrigerate foods as soon as possible after cooking
    1. It is imperative that all foods that are meant to be cold stay cold to avoid bacterial growth. This can be done by leaving the foods in an ice filled cooler or putting food out in bowls of ice water to keep it cool while people fill their plates.
    2. If possible, keep canned beverages and food in separate coolers so there is less interference with proper cooling of food.
    3. Keep food and coolers out of the sun.
    4. Make sure ice in the cooler is replenished as needed to ensure food stays at a safe temperature.
  6. Report any known foodborne illness
    1. If you become ill, especially if you have bloody diarrhea, go to the doctor and get tested.
    2. If you test positive for a foodborne illness, report it.
      1. Many foodborne illnesses are never reported, making it hard to keep track of the issue.

By following these simple steps, you and your loved ones can significantly reduce the chances of contracting a foodborne illness at your next outdoor barbeque or family picnic. This will also reduce your chance for a hospital visit, something that many would prefer to avoid with COVID-19 cases increasing by the day.


Devon MendezDevon Mendez

CFAES Graduate Practicum Student

Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and College of Public Health

 

 

 

 

 
Posted In:
Tags:
Comments: 0
bleaching food -  photo credit: Getty Image

By: Tracy Turner

I’m really worried about COVID-19 and want to keep my family safe, so lately, I’ve been rinsing my fresh fruits and vegetables with a mixture of bleach and water. That’s safe, right?

No, that is not safe. You should NEVER wash or rinse ANY food product with any form of bleach, disinfectant, or any other household cleaning chemicals.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a notice to consumers alerting them to the dangers of rinsing, soaking, or washing any food products with bleach or disinfectant, after a significant number of consumers have been doing just that.

Calls to poison centers around the country regarding exposures to cleaners and disinfectants have increased sharply since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC said. 

This comes as 42% of consumers who responded to a May 2020 poll conducted by OnePoll on behalf of HelloFresh, said that they worry about the cleanliness of the products they buy and the overall environment while grocery shopping, according to published reports. The survey of 2,000 Americans polled how consumer views on grocery shopping have changed in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

And in a May 2020 online survey of 502 U.S. adults conducted by the CDC, 39% of respondents reported they engaged in at least one of the following high-risk practices with the intent of preventing COVID-19 transmission:

  • Intentionally inhaling or ingesting cleaners and disinfectants
  • Drinking or gargling diluted bleach solutions, soapy water, and other cleaning and disinfectant solutions
  • Using bleach on food products such as fruits and vegetables
  • Applying household cleaning and disinfectant products to hands or skin
  • Misting the body with a cleaning or disinfectant spray

Given the high percentage of individuals engaging in these unsafe practices, the CDC recommends that public messaging should continue to “emphasize evidence-based, safe practices such as hand hygiene and recommended cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces to prevent transmission of COVID-19 in household settings.” 

“That messaging should also emphasize avoidance of high-risk practices such as unsafe preparation of cleaning and disinfectant solutions, use of bleach on food products, application of household cleaning and disinfectant products to skin, and inhalation or ingestion of cleaners and disinfectants,” the CDC said in a written statement.

It’s also important to understand that there is currently no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 is a foodborne disease, Sanja Ilic, food safety state specialist with Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), has said.

She said that COVID-19 transmits person-to-person through droplets that are produced when an infected individual, speaks, coughs, or sneezes. The virus is most often transferred to another individual when droplets directly reach their nose, mouth, or eyes, or through close contact such as a handshake.

The virus can also transmit when a person touches an object or surface with the virus on it and then touches their mouth or eyes before washing their hands, Ilic said.

However, fresh fruits and vegetables can sometimes harbor harmful bacteria, so you should rinse produce under running water before preparing or eating it, according to Barbara Kowalcyk, a food safety expert and an assistant professor at CFAES’ Department of Food Science and Technology.

“The only exception is prewashed produce and raw meat and poultry products,” said Kowalcyk, who is also director of the Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention (CFI) at CFAES. “Washing those products will actually increase the risk of foodborne illness because it can spread pathogens around.”

Fruits and vegetables that have skin should also be rinsed under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking them, even if you don’t plan to eat the skin, she said. 

“That is because peeling or cutting unwashed produce can transfer dirt or other contaminates from the surface of the produce to the portion of the fruit or vegetable you plan to eat,” Kowalcyk said. “Firm produce such as melons, apples, and cucumbers should be scrubbed with a clean produce brush before peeling or cutting into them. 

“They should then be dried off with a clean paper towel or cloth to further reduce harmful bacteria that might be present on the skin. Importantly, produce should be washed with water only. Never use soap, a bleach solution, or other sanitizers to wash produce.”

Lastly, don’t forget to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water before and after food preparation and before eating.

Chow Line is a service of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line, c/o Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or turner.490@osu.edu.

Editor: This column was reviewed by Barbara Kowalcyk, an assistant professor at CFAES’ Department of Food Science and Technology, and previously reviewed by Sanja Ilic, state specialist in food safety for OSU Extension.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: 

Tracy Turner

turner.490@osu.edu

614-688-1067

SOURCE(S): 

Barbara Kowalcyk
CFAES Food Science and Technology

Sanja Ilic
OSU Extension, Food Safety

Original Article: https://cfaes.osu.edu/news/articles/chow-line-don%E2%80%99t-bleach-your-food-protect-against-covid-19

Posted In:
Tags:
Comments: 0
Food Safety spelled out in blocks - photo credit Getty

By: Tracy Turner

I read something about a salad recall due to cyclospora, but I’ve not really heard about cyclospora before – what is it?

Cyclospora cayetanensis is a microscopic parasite that can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, and fatigue. When people eat food or drink water that’s contaminated with cyclospora, they can develop an intestinal illness called cyclosporiasis.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced June 19 that they are investigating a multistate outbreak of cyclospora potentially linked to ALDI Little Salad Bar Brand Garden Salad from ALDI grocery stores, Hy-Vee Brand Garden Salad from Hy-Vee grocery stores, and Signature Farms Brand Garden Salad from Jewel-Osco. 

As of now, the recalled salad has not been sold in Ohio, but in stores locations in Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. However, the FDA said, “it is continuing this investigation and there may be additional retailers and products impacted by this outbreak.”

Thus far, at least 122 people across seven states have been sickened after consuming the salad mix, with at least 19 people hospitalized, FDA said.

According to the CDC, cyclospora is generally transmitted when food or water is contaminated by infected feces, noting that the parasite is, “unlikely to be transmitted directly from person to person because it needs several days to weeks after being passed in a bowel movement to become infectious for another person.”

“Some people may experience symptoms that last a few days to a month or longer,” said Sanja Ilic, the state food safety specialist for Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Cyclosporiasis affects an estimated 15,000 people in the United States each year, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Cyclospora infects the small intestine and usually causes watery diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements. Other common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps or pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. 

People may also experience vomiting, body aches, headache, low-grade fever, and other flu-like symptoms, according to the CDC. Some people who are infected with the parasite don’t have any symptoms. If needed, treatment can include an antibiotic. 

Chow Line is a service of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line author Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or turner.490@osu.edu.

Editor: This column was reviewed by Sanja Ilic, state food safety specialist for OSU Extension.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: 

Tracy Turner

turner.490@osu.edu

614-688-1067

SOURCE(S): 

Sanja Ilic
OSU Extension, Food Safety

  1. 364 West Lane Ave.
    Suite B120
    Columbus, OH 43201
    Fax: 614-292-2270
  2. Research Services Building
    1680 Madison Ave.
    Wooster, OH 44691
    Fax: 330-202-3504

Original Link: https://cfaes.osu.edu/news/articles/chow-line-salad-recall-prompts-questions-parasite 

 

Posted In:
Tags:
Comments: 0

Pages