Food Safety

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    Food Safety Scientist

    Food -- a perfect medium to teach science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts. Pick and choose from a curriculum that incorporates real life experience into virtual and hands-on labs, classroom discussion guides, presentations and videos. Not only do students learn a STEM concept, they increase their awareness of food and agriculture careers that are related to the safety of the food supply.

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    Preparing a Turkey a Day Before a Holiday Meal

    The holidays often involve preparing turkey. Planning ahead to safely prepare and roast a turkey will relieve some of the cooking stress associated with the holidays. When purchasing a fresh or frozen turkey, allow one pound of turkey per person. Frozen turkeys require several days to thaw. Thaw in the refrigerator (40 degrees or below), allow about 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds.

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    Home-Canned Pumpkin Butter: FoodSafe Risks

    Home canning of pumpkin butter and mashed or pureed pumpkin and winter squash is not recommended by the USDA. Pumpkin butter recipes often have acid, such as vinegar or lemon juice, added to reduce the pH level below 4.6 (a level at which the pathogen Clostridium botulinum will not grow). Food safety concerns related to pumpkin butter were studied by the University of Missouri in 1995.

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    Making Homemade Apple Cider

    Drinking fresh apple cider is a great way to celebrate autumn. Making it yourself can be an even greater treat, but there are some tips to keep in mind to keep your cider safe. Avoid using apples that have visible signs of decay or mold growth. Apples used for cider don’t have to be flawless, but they do need to be free from spoilage. Cut out any spoilage areas as the spoiled areas will cause the juice to ferment and will ruin the cider.

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    Does Your Refrigerator Smell Funny?

    If food has thawed in your refrigerator or freezer, you are probably facing an odor problem that hangs on even after the spoiled food is gone. Getting rid of this odor is likely to take time, patience and a combination of techniques. The first step is to clean the appliance with a gentle household cleaning solution and water. Be sure to wash around the gaskets in the door and the defrost drip pan.

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    Recommended Refrigerator and Freezer Temperatures

    In an FDA survey, only 21 percent of respondents said they put a thermometer in the fridge to check its temperature. People tend to trust that the refrigerator is going to be cold enough when relying on its factory settings. As many as 43% of home refrigerators have been found to be at temperatures above 40° F, putting them in the food safety “danger zone” where harmful bacteria can multiply.

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    Food Safety Tips for the Refrigerator

    September is National Food Safety Education Month. A different focus is chosen every year and this year’s topic is home refrigeration. It is not “out of sight – out of mind” when it comes to bacterial growth in the refrigerator. Bacteria can survive and some can even grow in cool, moist environments like the refrigerator. In fact, Listeria bacteria can grow at temperatures below 40 °F. A recent study showed that the refrigerator produce compartment might contain Salmonella and Listeria, making it one of the “germiest” places in the kitchen.

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    Success, Challenges, and Continued Improvement: A packer’s perspective

    On August 5th, Dr. Lily Edwards-Callaway, head of animal welfare at JBS, discussed the successes, challenges, and areas for continued improvement of cattle handling throughout their meat processing plants. Audit standards for animal handling are in place at meat processing plants and most company programs are based off of the North American Meat Institute animal handling and auditing guidelines.

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    Summertime Food Safety

    During warm weather, it is especially important to take extra precautions and practice safe food handling when preparing perishable foods such as meat, poultry, seafood and egg products. The warmer weather conditions may be ideal for outdoor picnics and barbecues, but they also provide a perfect environment for bacteria and other pathogens in food to multiply rapidly and cause foodborne illness.

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    Food Safety Starts on the Farm

    Farmers are entrusted with the care of the animals that produce our food before it gets to our plates. Whether food is purchased in a grocery store, a farmers market, or directly from a farmer, the animals that produce the food have been provided the best possible care and handling throughout their lives to ensure the food supply is safe. As relevant topics are written discussing on-farm management practices that impact the safety of our food supply, the select iGrow articles will be updated.

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    Safe and Quality Meat Preparation

    Meat provides protein and other essential nutrients to our diets, however, if not handled and prepared properly, it can also carry pathogens. Within this article are links to information about methods of preparing meat, handling meat safely, various cuts of meat, and other meat science topics. Select iGrow articles will be added to as relevant topics are written.

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    Local Foods: Licensed Kitchens

    Licensed kitchens are required if preparing and/or serving food at the farmers market that must be temperature controlled for safety. These types of foods are also referred to as potentially hazardous foods. They have been implicated in food borne illness out breaks, and support the growth of foodborne pathogens.

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    Selling Food Gifts Made at Home

    If you have a special recipe or canned jelly that people tell you is “good enough to sell!” and you would like to do just that to make a little holiday money, or if you have a bake sale or bazaar to organize for fundraising, these are some of the guidelines you should follow in order to comply with state regulations to sell your products.

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    Tis’ The Season of Raw Milk and Cream

    Consumers may seek out milk and cream fresh from the farm that has not been pasteurized or homogenized for many types of holiday dishes their family has enjoyed for years. Several of these dishes have a cooking step that brings the food to a temperature that will destroy the pathogens that may be present in raw milk.

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    Date Marketing Ready-to-Eat Refrigerated Foods from Licensed Kitchens

    Licensed foodservice establishments commonly prepare foods to be marketed as a packaged food item. Product dating for ready-to-eat (RTE), temperature controlled for safety foods must be marketed or consumed within a certain amount of time for safety. If a food is potentially hazardous and is held for at least 24 hours it must be labeled with a specific date for consumption or discarded.

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