September 10th, 2013
02:30 AM ET
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Home cooks have been all a-cluck over recent guidance not to wash raw chicken before it's prepared and cooked. While it may seem counterintuitive, food safety resources like the United States Department of Agriculture's "Ask Karen" website advise:

"Washing poultry before cooking it is not recommended. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can be spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces. We call this cross-contamination.

Some consumers think they are removing bacteria and making their meat or poultry safe. However, some of the bacteria are so tightly attached that you could not remove them no matter how many times you washed. But there are other types of bacteria that can be easily washed off and splashed on the surfaces of your kitchen. Failure to clean these contaminated areas can lead to foodborne illness. Cooking (baking, broiling, boiling, and grilling) to the right temperature kills the bacteria, so washing food is not necessary."

The same goes for beef, pork, lamb and veal. Eggs, too, can incur an uptick in potential contamination, because according to the USDA, "the wash water can be 'sucked' into the egg through the pores in the shell."

So why did we all start bathing our birds in the first place? Probably because Julia Child, James Beard, Bettie Crocker, Fannie Farmer, Margaret Mitchell and the "Joy of Cooking" told us - and our parents and grandparents - to.
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Don't get sick from your picnic
July 18th, 2013
01:00 PM ET
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Outdoor eating is one of the greatest joys of summertime. Unfortunately, the escalated temperatures and lack of access to clean water can significantly bump up picnickers' chances of contracting a foodborne illness like salmonella, campylobacter or listeria.

About 48 million people contract some form of food poisoning each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so don't spoil your summer! Just take these four simple steps to stay safe and well-fed all season long.
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Salmonella outbreak linked to imported cucumbers
April 25th, 2013
07:15 PM ET
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that 73 cases of Salmonella Saintpaul have been reported across 18 states, believe to be linked to exposure to infected cucumbers. The cucumbers were supplied by Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse of Culiacán, Mexico and distributed by Tricar Sales, Inc. of Rio Rico, Arizona.

27% of reported cases required hospitalization and no deaths have been reported. The youngest person sickened was under one year of age.
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Filed under: Food Safety • Health News • Recalls • Salmonella • Tainted Food • Vegetables


Foodborne illness is on the rise, chicken especially risky
April 23rd, 2013
05:45 PM ET
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Despite food safety measures, the threat of foodborne illness remains in meat and produce - and some types of illness are on the rise, recent reports say.

About 48 million people contract some form of food poisoning each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Salmonella remained the top cause of foodborne illness last year, according to the CDC's 2012 report card on food poisoning, issued Thursday. However, the overall instance of Salmonella was unchanged from the 2006-08 data, the agency said. The report card is based on reports from 10 U.S. regions, representing about 15% of the country.
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