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food safety and inspection service

New Research from FDA and FSIS Shed Light on Food Handling Behaviors in the Home

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 6 Americans (that’s 48 million people) suffer from foodborne illnesses each year, resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Part of what may be contributing to these illnesses is misunderstanding of where food poisoning can come from. In fact, according to a new national telephone survey conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), 53 percent of consumers think it is “not very common” to get food poisoning because of the way food is prepared in the home. This is not true, and promoting safe food handling in the home is one way CDC, FDA and FSIS are working to reduce the rates of food poisoning nationally.

The survey, conducted periodically by FDA and FSIS since 1988, explores the public’s understanding of food safety and their food handling behaviors at home. These findings show that while consumer understand of food safety is not universal, many are beginning to understand the source of food poisoning and how they can help reduce their risk.

USDA’s Collaborative and Active Engagement in the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System is Twenty Years Old and Going Strong

Today kicked off “Get Smart about Antibiotics” week in the United States and the World Health Organization’s World Antibiotic Awareness Week in 2016. During this week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its other federal partners want to remind families and communities about the importance of responsible antibiotic use in both humans and animals, to help reduce the development of resistant bacteria. This week, we also celebrate the 20th anniversary of the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS).  Through NARMS, USDA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collaborate on everything relating to antimicrobial resistant bacteria.   Since 1996, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) have been active participants in this combined federal surveillance program.

So, what is antimicrobial resistance?  As you might recall, in 1928, Dr. Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, a drug that revolutionized the treatment of bacterial infections. In the years following, penicillin and the discovery and therapeutic use of other antibiotics, we have relied on antibiotics to treat and cure a variety of illnesses - in both humans and animals, across the globe. The use of these drugs has aided in the development of resistant strains of bacteria. Unfortunately, this development means that some previously treatable forms of bacterial infections are now resistant to the antibiotics that were designed to treat them. It is estimated that the decrease in effectiveness of antibiotics, results in more than two million U.S. cases of antibiotic resistant infections, annually. Some of these types of infections might require longer hospital stays and are more costly to treat successfully. 

Flooding: A Checklist for Small and Very Small Meat, Poultry and Egg Inspection Processing Plants

Rivers rise. The ground is saturated. Levees fail. Floods happen, and they happen beside rivers, along the coasts, in deserts and in city streets. Flooding might be a fact of nature but that does not mean you have to lose your business and possessions to flood waters. 

It is never too early to prepare.  Because September is National Preparedness Month, it is a good time to think about emergency planning.  Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make an Emergency Communication Plan.

How to be a Savvy Shopper with Savory Leftovers

Thanksgiving is finally over, and now comes the biggest weekend for holiday shopping.  According to the National Retail Foundation, the average shopper spends about $380 from Black Friday to Cyber Monday.  

When planning out your battle strategy shopping budget, you may forget to account for the meals you eat before, during, and after a long shopping trip.  Those lattes, sandwiches, garlic knots, and smoothies you may buy to fuel your shopping can really start to add up and will put a damper on your holiday shopping budget. 

Cook Your Turkey like a P.R.O.

The countdown is over, and the big day is finally here.  It’s Thanksgiving Day, and the family is on the way, most likely with growling tummies.  You may have been preparing all month, but if not, no worries!  We’ve got you covered on how to safely handle and prepare your turkey.  Now that’s you’re ready, let’s get cooking!

Wash Your Hands 

One of the most important ingredients for a delicious and food safe Thanksgiving meal is clean hands.  Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds throughout the cooking process, especially before handling food and after handling raw meat and poultry.  This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent the spread of bacteria.  Often times, there tends to be multiple cooks in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day.  Make sure all of your helpers wash their hands before they touch any food.

Turkey Tips Step 2: Preparing Your Feast

 

Preparing for Thanksgiving can become hectic. On Tuesday we tried to make your trip to the grocery store a little easier, by explaining the labels you’ll find on turkeys for sale. Now that you have your bird, you’re probably thinking about putting your game face on and getting that meal ready.

In between trying to convince your 21-year-old nephew to sit at the kid’s table (because there’s no room at the adult table) and figuring out how you’ll answer your relatives’ questions about where your current relationship is going, we want to help you prepare your meal. With such thoughts possibly running through your head, proper food safety practices are sometimes treated like pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving: always required but too often ignored and overshadowed.

Turkey Tips Step 1: Shopping for Your Feast

-You’re certain you’ve thought of everything to make this year’s Thanksgiving meal a flawless success.

You’ve assigned your quarrelsome family members who passionately root for rival football teams to seats on opposite ends of the dinner table. You’re prepared to cook all of your guests’ favorite holiday dishes, and after years of practice, you finally feel like you’ve perfected the delicate art of carving a turkey. Yes, this year will be different. You won’t have to order a pizza and eat it with lumpy gravy like you did after last year’s cooking disaster! But while you may think you’ve thought of absolutely everything for the perfect Thanksgiving meal, you may have neglected some of the most important steps – those involving food safety.

How Far Has Food Safety Come in 150 years?

Throughout the year, and this month in particular, USDA celebrates 150 years of existence. The legislation that established USDA was signed on May 15, 1862, by President Abraham Lincoln. At that point, food safety wasn’t a major concern for the People’s Department.

The turning point for domestic meat inspection really came in 1905 and 1906, after Upton Sinclair published The Jungle. The details of the book described unsanitary working conditions in a Chicago meatpacking house, putting meat consumers at risk for disease.

An Introduction to Mobile Slaughter Units

In the United States the slaughter and processing of meat sold in the marketplace must take place at a state or federally-inspected facility.  The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, or FSIS, is responsible for this important task.  While these requirements are important for protecting the public’s health, they can create challenges for farmers, ranchers, and processors looking to do business.

For example, small livestock producers are finding it hard (and at times, cost prohibitive) to transport their livestock the long distances necessary to the closest FSIS-inspected slaughter facility.  This is especially troubling to producers at a time when markets for locally grown and specialty products are becoming more and more profitable.  FSIS-inspected “mobile slaughter units” provide a feasible option for small red meat and poultry producers wanting to provide safe, wholesome product to local and interstate markets.

Mapping Slaughter Availability in U.S.

Meat and poultry products are important commodities within many local and regional food systems.  The production of these products for local and regional markets is of course dependent on the availability of facilities that slaughter and process livestock and poultry.  Media stories have recently documented the difficulties many small farmers and ranchers often face when searching for facilities to slaughter their animals for local markets; lack of a nearby slaughter facility or lengthy wait times for services are frequently cited problems.