Preventing Foodborne Illnesses this Summer

Preventing Foodborne Illnesses this Summer

With the beginning of summer, many people think they can just keep their picnic food safe from bacteria by storing it in the refrigerator. But, there is one bacteria- that is exempt from that rule…

Unlike most food bacteria, Listeria can grow in cool temperatures. Refrigerating food already contaminated with these bacteria could allow the germs to multiply and spread, according to the USDA.

The bacteria can cause serious illness known as listeriosis, which is especially dangerous for children, older people, pregnant women, and those with compromised immune systems. Foods in which Listeria has been found include deli meats, hot dogs, smoked seafood and store-prepared salads. The FDA advises those at greater risk for developing listeriosis to reheat these ready-to-eat foods until they are steaming hot. They should also avoid unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses.

Listeriosis has also been linked to contaminated cantaloupes. The FDA recommended washing all fruits and vegetables under running water immediately before eating, cutting or cooking them. Firm produce, in particular, should be scrubbed with a produce brush. Examples like this, is specifically important in the summer when fruits are in season.

Other ways to prevent Listeria infection include:

          Set your refrigerator temperature to 40 degrees F or lower to slow the growth of Listeria. Use a refrigerator and freezer thermometer to make sure temperatures are appropriately cold.

          Wrap or cover food before placing it in the refrigerator. Be sure no containers or covers are leaking juices on other foods.

          Do not allow cooked or ready-to-eat (RTE) foods to sit in the refrigerator. Eat these foods right away so Listeria doesn’t have the opportunity to grow. If you have leftovers in your refrigerator, it’s best to throw them out after 3 days, just to be sure. Because remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

          Clean up refrigerator spills immediately. The FDA notes leaks or spills from hot dog packages, raw meat or poultry are mostly of concern. The agency advised cleaning these spills with paper towels to avoid spreading germs to a cloth towel.

          Routinely disinfect the refrigerator. Cleaning the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator with warm water and soap. Surface cleaners can also be used monthly.

          Sanitize kitchen surfaces where food is prepared with soap and water and surface cleaner.

          Wash cutting boards after every use. Nonporous acrylic, plastic, or glass boards can be sanitized in the dishwasher.

          Wash dish cloths, towels and cloth grocery bags in the hot cycle of the washing machine.

          Before and after handling food, wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds! And if you can’t remember how long- just sing the “Happy Birthday” song. This is a trick we educate children on for food safety and hand washing!

Center for Disease Control and Prevention 

Listeria_Colorado State University

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CDC statistics from 2011

CDC statistics from 2011

listeria

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What’s Trending in Food for 2013?

Top 10 Food Trends in 2013

1.     Repositioned Palate

        One in 10 shoppers now choose higher-end cuts of meat in order to recreate a restaurant dining experience. In the past, consumers used to eat food for substance, today more people are having eating occasions that can be described as “savoring”, which conveys a new upscale eating experience defined by freshness, distinct flavors, and more.

2.     Redefining Health

        Data shows that consumers relate the word “fresh” with “healthy”. Nine in 10 people think fresh foods are healthier, and 80% look for the descriptor “fresh” when it comes to retail and 58% in restaurants.

3.     Generational Cooking

        Young adults are continuing to cut back on restaurant visits for the fifth year in a row, which means the market for the food industry to develop at-home meal products that appeal to the newest generation of cooks is on the rise.

4.     Eating Alone

        There has been a dramatic increase in the number of adults who are eating solo, regardless of family dynamics. In addition to adults, children are also eating alone more often opening the market for new fresh/refrigerated meals for kids.

5.     Seeking True Transparency

        Food safety is trending and doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. 17 % of consumers have stopped buying a certain food or brand due to certain safety concerns.

6.     Global Look-Alikes

        The integration of ethnic flavors, food items, and ingredients into American foods. Children’s sushi is predicted to be a hot trend for 2013.

7.     Farmstead Formulations

        Hyper-local sourcing, like restaurant gardens, farm/estate brands, small-producer suppliers, and the mainstreaming of farmers’ markets all attest to consumers’ fascination and appreciation for all things agricultural related.

8.     Craveable Finger Foods

        Restaurants have added bite-sized food to their menus and 67% of consumers find it “extremely appealing” to get their flavor through dips/condiments.

9.     Nutritional Insiders

        In 2012 alone, 78% of consumers made a strong effort to get more vitamins and 57% tried to consume more products with specialty nutritional ingredients. The top vitamins were vitamin D, vitamin C, B-vitamins and omega-3s, antioxidants, vitamin E, and vitamin A.

10.  Mother Hens

        Moms are more likely to buy nutritionally enhanced food and beverages. They are also more likely to seek out nutritional information. Moms want healthier kids’ food away from home.

Top 10 Food Trends in 2013

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How to Control Your Eating

How to Control Your Eating?

So many different journals and magazines try to offer advice to people on tips at controlling or curbing people’s unnecessary eating habits. But, when you really break it down, how a person avoids eating those extra bites is being attentive at what they’re eating and how much they have eaten. This specific way of thinking when eating is called “Mindful Eating”.

A report recently was released revealing that implementing 3 strategies can help a person eat less throughout their day.

1-     Avoid distractions

2-     Think about your food while you’re eating it

3-     Remembering what you ate at your previous meal

The reports found that eaters who were distracted by television, radio, or reading while eating, ate more at that meal. Then, they ate even more at the next meal. The study conditions also played a role in the amount of food eaten. Participants were less aware of what they ate when they were in a dimly lit room or eating in a buffet restaurant when employees were constantly removing empty plates from their table.

The results were similar for unrestrained eaters and restrained eaters (individuals who watch what they eat to avoid gaining weight).

So, the researchers came to the theory that anything you do to enhance your memory of what you eat can help control how much you eat at that meal and especially later on. Scientists speculate that when we make decisions about eating, we draw on memories about the satiating effects of our most recent meal.

The following tips can help a person eat mindfully, and likely maintain a healthy weight…

  1. Remove eating distractions: Eating in front of the TV, while reading, checking emails, or while doing anything else takes the focus off of your food are eating. This will increase the chance you overeating.
  2. Think about food when eating: Be conscious of every bite while you are eating to help regulate how much you eat. Involve your senses to notice the smell, taste, texture and color of foods being eaten in the present moment.
  3. Cue your food memories: When you sit down to eat, recall your last meal or snack. Make a mental list of the foods you ate, how they tasted and how satisfied you felt after eating.
  4. Pay attention to hunger: It takes practice, but listening to your body’s hunger cues can help you reduce your calorie intake. Take a moment to determine how hungry you feel before you eat, halfway through a meal and after you finish eating.
  5. Slow your pace: Eating slowly forces you to savor your food and eat less. It also leads to better digestion. After every bite, put down your knife and fork. Chew thoroughly.
  6. Dine to music:  Research shows that listening to soft music can help reduce anxiety, irritability and depression, emotions that can lead to overeating.

Here is a helpful checklist to keep with you at the office or at home:

–        Am I sitting?

–        Am I eating fast or slow?

–        Am I mindlessly munching or noticing each bite?

–        Am I asking “How hungry am I?” on a scale from 1-10

–        Am I multitasking or truly focused on my meal?

–        Is my stomach rumbling or am I bored, stressed, tired, anxious, etc.?

Controlling Your Eating

Awareness Checklist

Mindful MyPlate

mindful myplate

savor

awareness checklist