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meat and poultry hotline

Countdown to Thanksgiving

The holiday countdown has begun.  In only a few weeks the holiday season begins, so now is the time to start thinking about Thanksgiving. USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline is ready to assist by offering some sure-fire ways to beat the clock to ensure a safe and delicious holiday dinner.

Food Safety 101 Webinar Series: Bringing Food Safety To Your Kitchen

Food poisoning is a serious public health threat. CDC estimates that approximately 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) could suffer from food poisoning illness this year, resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. This September, to celebrate Food Safety Education Month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) will help get the word out about important safety tips and tools to combat foodborne illness by hosting a free two-part webinar series: “Food Safety 101”. The series will be hosted by FSIS’ Food Safety Education Staff, and will feature speakers from the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, FSIS’ Office of Public Health Science, Kansas State University, and the International Food Information Council.

The webinars will emphasize USDA’s four steps to food safety: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill and offer a unique opportunity to hear from FSIS’s educators, researchers and partners. “Back to Basics”, the first webinar in this series, will occur on September 10th from noon to 1:30 pm EST and cover basic food safety tasks and the risks that can be avoided with proper food safety practices. “Everyday Application” will occur a week later on September 17th from noon to 1:30 pm EST. Participants of the second webinar will be able to identify common kitchen food safety blunders, and alternatives to keep your family foodborne illness free.

Before You Toss Food, Wait. Check It Out!

It’s happened to all of us: you’re looking for something in the freezer or pantry, and discover food that has been forgotten. Your first impulse is to throw it out, but wait!  Is it still good? Chances are it is!

Food poisoning bacteria does not grow in the freezer, so no matter how long a food is frozen, it is safe to eat. Foods that have been in the freezer for months (recommended freezer times chart) may be dry, or may not taste as good, but they will be safe to eat. So if you find a package of ground beef that has been in the freezer more than a few months, don’t throw it out. Use it to make chili or tacos. The seasonings and additional ingredients can make up for loss of flavor.

Food Safety Tips for Those Impacted by Storms

Following a disaster, those affected should be aware of these safety tips:

Anyone with questions about the safety of their food as a result of weather damage and power outages is encouraged to call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline (888-MPHotline), available in English and Spanish from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. CDT.

Ask Karen, FSIS’ virtual food safety representative who has the answers to nearly 1,500 food safety questions, is available 24/7 from your smartphone at m.AskKaren.gov, also in English and Spanish. Ask Karen can be downloaded for free for iOS and Android devices.

Thanksgiving Holiday Help: Plan Ahead

Cross posted from the foodsafety.gov blog:

Let’s face it, in November, a turkey will most likely find its way onto your menu. Planning ahead can help ensure that your special meal is successful, safe, and stress-free. If you have questions, the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline offers planning tips and shares their top turkey questions and answers.

FSIS Adds a Dash of Food Safety to Taste of DC

Washington, D.C.’s premier ‘foodie’ extravaganza, the 2nd annual Taste of DC, brought warm deliciousness to the heart of the capital during the Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 6-8. Thirty restaurants gathered along Pennsylvania Avenue with food samples, music and entertainment for people of the National Capital Region. Thanks to a partnership between USDA and Taste of DC organizers, the Food Safety and Inspection Service was able to stir food safety into the mix of culinary topics.

Found a Problem With Your Food? USDA Wants To Know About It

Have you ever opened a package from the grocery store to find that something wasn’t right about it, and then wondered who to call to report a problem?  The company’s toll-free number? The grocery store that sold it? Or someone else? If that product involves meat, poultry, or a processed egg product, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service just made it easier consumers to alert the agency to food safety problems, any time of the day or night.

The Electronic Consumer Complaint Form (ECCF), which became available on FSIS’s website this morning, will allow consumers to submit the important information FSIS needs to begin an investigation in just six steps. Consumers will be requested to provide details on:

  • When and where the product was purchased;
  • When and how the problem was noticed;
  • And how the agency can contact you for more information. Personal information is optional and will be used solely for the agency’s investigative purposes and product tracking.

“Ask Karen” Tweets to Reduce Foodborne Illness at Fourth of July Barbecues

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service started its Fourth of July “party” a little early this year, hosting a bilingual Twitter party on June 28 to answer its tweeps’ food safety questions in advance of any gatherings they are hosting. “Ask Karen,” FSIS’ virtual food safety representative, and her Spanish-language counterpart “Pregúntele a Karen” answered  questions from @USDAFoodSafety and @USDAFoodSafe_es about food safety around the Fourth of July holiday and summer in general.

Enjoy the Holidays: Preparing Healthy and Safe Meals!

Special holiday series – Blog 1 of 5

As we look forward to spending the holidays with friends and family and making meals and memories together, we all want to put good food on the table and do it safely.  We especially want to keep the threat of food poisoning at bay.  Over the next few days, we will share some delicious low-cost holiday recipes with some simple food safety tips to help you prepare healthy and safe holiday meals. The first recipe below talks about preparing and cooking a turkey safely. Recipes to follow will include Grandma’s Stuffing, Baked Apples and Sweet Potatoes, Green Bean Sauté, and Crunchy Pumpkin Pie.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season!

Nearly 300 Washington Area Residents Learn Food Safety from the Pros

Oxon Hill Elementary School’s motto for its annual health extravaganza is, “Spring forward with good health.” The motto was put into practice last week at the Maryland school’s health fair, where community organizations, activities and food samples came together to contribute to good health and well-being.