Category: food

Microwaves that heat unevenly: food safety problems?

Consumer Reports latest tests of microwaves found few models that evenly cooked food — thus leaving some portions undercooked, with potential dangerous pathogens. You might not even know you’re eating undercooked food.

An estimated 76 million cases of foodborne illness occur annually in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are only 313 million people in the U.S., implying that potentially one third of the U.S. population has a foodborne illness at least once a year.

Consumer Reports recommends:

  • If cooking directions suggest letting food stand for a few minutes, allow it. The additional minutes allow the heat to spread throughout the food and continue the cooking process.
  • Consider stirring the food, such as halfway through the microwaving process. It will help distribute the warmth and help to ensure even cooking.
  • If your microwave has a lower wattage rating, you may need to cook your food longer. Be careful to compare the directions with that wattage of your microwave.

(Microwaves that heat unevenly can pose food safety problems)

60 people became sick after eating contaminated food at Duluth’s Greysolon Plaza Ballroom

The Minnesota Department of Health on Friday said at least 60 people are likely sick with the norovirus after eating contaminated food at two events at downtown Duluth’s Greysolon Plaza Ballroom on Dec. 3.

“Preliminary information suggests that the illnesses are consistent with norovirus,” Robinson said. “This is a good opportunity to remind everyone that winter is the peak season for norovirus in Minnesota. The biggest prevention to help prevent the spread of norovirus is careful hand-washing with soap and water.”

People who have been ill should refrain from preparing food, commercially or for their own families, for an additional 72 hours after they recover, Robinson said. The virus, which moves from anal to oral contact, is not easily spread by casual contact but moves fast through contaminated food.

Symptoms usually appear 24 to 48 hours after contaminated food was eaten, “so people mistakenly believe it was the last food they ate, when it usually isn’t,” Robinson said. The virus can make people violently sick to their stomach, usually for a day or two, but rarely spurs any long-term health issues.

Greysolon Ballroom remains open and able to serve food, Robinson said, but Department of Health staff members have been on site to make sure the facility is taking proper precautions to prevent the problem from happening again.

(via Common food-related illness blamed in complaints at Duluth ballroom | Duluth News Tribune | Duluth, Minnesota)

Nasty germs lurking in raw cookie dough, scientist warns

Neil and her colleagues concluded that raw, ready-to-bake cookie dough was what caused 77 people in 30 states to become ill, 35 of whom became so sick that they needed to be hospitalized.

After learning about the outbreak, the researchers were able to track down the culprit by comparing the eating habits of 36 healthy volunteers to 36 people sickened by a deadly strain of E coli bacteria in 2009. Raw cookie dough consumption was the thing all 36 had in common.

When the researchers visited manufacturing plants where the cookie batter was being made their suspicions were confirmed: they found E coli in the samples they collected at the plants, according to the report which was published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

(via msnbc)