Archive for November, 2009

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Two-Thirds of Chickens Tested Harbor Dangerous Bacteria

November 30, 2009

Consumers Shouldn’t Have to Play Roulette with Poultry

YONKERS, N.Y., Nov. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Consumer Reports’ latest test of fresh, whole broilers bought in 22 states reveals that two-thirds of birds tested harbored salmonella and/or campylobacter, the leading bacterial causes of food-borne disease. The story appears in the January 2010 issue of Consumer Reports and is also available free online at http://www.ConsumerReports.org. Consumer Reports has been measuring contamination in store-bought chickens since 1998. The recent test shows a modest improvement since January 2007, when the magazine found these pathogens in 8 of 10 broilers, but the numbers are still far too high. The findings suggest that most companies’ safeguards are inadequate. Consumer Reports also found that most disease-causing bacteria sampled from the contaminated chicken were resistant to at least one antibiotic, potentially making any resulting illness more difficult to treat. “Consumers still need to be very careful in handling chicken, which is routinely contaminated with disease-causing bacteria,” said Dr. Urvashi Rangan, Director of Technical Policy at Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports. “Our tests show that campylobacter is widespread in chicken, even in brands that control for salmonella. While one name brand, Perdue, and most air-chilled chickens, were less contaminated than others, this is still a very dirty industry that needs better practices and tighter government oversight.” For its latest analysis, Consumer Reports had an outside lab test 382 chickens bought last spring from more than 100 supermarkets, gourmet- and natural-food stores, and mass merchandisers in 22 states. Among the findings: •Campylobacter was in 62 percent of the chickens, salmonella was in 14 percent, and both bacteria were in 9 percent. Only 34 percent of the birds were clear of both pathogens. That’s double the percentage of clean birds Consumer Reports found in its 2007 report but far less than the 51 percent in the 2003 report. •Among the cleanest overall were organic “air-chilled” broilers (a process in which carcasses are refrigerated and may be misted, rather than dunked in cold chlorinated water). About 60 percent were free of the two pathogens. •Perdue was found to be the cleanest of the brand-name chicken: 56 percent were free of both pathogens. This is the first time since Consumer Reports began testing chicken that one major brand has fared significantly better than others across the board. •Tyson and Foster Farms chickens were found to be the most contaminated; less than 20 percent were free of either pathogens. •Store-brand organic chickens had no salmonella at all, but only 43 percent of those birds were also free of campylobacter. •Among all brands and types of broilers tested, 68 percent of the salmonella and 60 percent of the campylobacter organisms analyzed showed resistance to one ore more antibiotics. All of the antibiotics were effective against 32 percent of salmonella samples and 40 percent of the campylobacter samples, as compared to just 16 and 33 percent in 2007 Although Perdue chickens were cleaner than other big brands in our tests, and most “air-chilled” organic birds were especially clean, Consumer Reports’ tests are a snapshot in time and no type has been consistently low enough in pathogens to recommend over all others. Buying cleaner chicken may improve consumers’ odds if they fail to prepare chicken carefully. Each year, salmonella and campylobacter from chicken and other food sources infect at least 3.4 million Americans, send 25,500 to hospitals, and kill about 500, according to estimates by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While both salmonella and campylobacter are known to cause intestinal distress, campylobacter can lead to meningitis, arthritis, and Guillain-Barre syndrome, a severe neurological condition. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) a consumer’s primary protection against chicken contamination. HACCP requires companies to identify potential points of contamination and take measures to eliminate them. The USDA has a standard that requires chicken producers to test for salmonella but it has yet to set a standard for campylobacter. Consumers Union has long called for the USDA to set limits on both the percentage of chicken samples that can be contaminated with campylobacter and the levels of it that they can contain. The USDA has said that a risk assessment for campylobacter and draft performance standards would be ready by the year’s end. It could take months to a year or more, however, for a proposed standard to become a final regulation and take effect. “USDA has been pondering new standards to cut the prevalence of bacteria in chicken for more than 5 years but has yet to act,” said Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union. “Consumers shouldn’t have to play roulette with poultry; the USDA must make chicken less risky to eat.” Until chicken becomes cleaner, consumers’ best line of defense involves following these procedures in stores and kitchens:

•Place chicken in a plastic bag like those in the produce department to keep juices from leaking.

•Choose chicken that is well wrapped and at the bottom of the case, where the temperature should be coolest. Buy chicken last before heading to the checkout line.

•If you’ll cook the chicken within a couple of days, store it at 40 degrees F or below. Otherwise, freeze it.

•Thaw frozen chicken in a refrigerator, inside its packaging and on a plate, or on a plate in a microwave oven. Never thaw it on a counter: When the inside is still frozen, the outside can warm up, providing a breeding ground for bacteria. Cook chicken thawed in a microwave oven right away.

•Cook chicken to at least 165 degrees F. Even if it’s no longer pink, it can still harbor bacteria, so use a meat thermometer.

•Don’t return cooked meat to the plate that held it raw.

•Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within 2 hours of cooking.

For more ways to help ensure that your food is safe, go to http://www.BuySafeEatWell.org. The January issue of Consumer Reports goes on sale December 1 wherever magazines are sold. 

 SOURCE Consumer Reports

*EDITORIAL NOTE:  Spray your poultry, including turkey, with Eat Cleaner All Natural Seafood + Poultry Wash, lab proven to kill Salmonella and E.coli.  www.eatcleaner.com.

 

 

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Lighten your Load this Holiday: Part 1 of 4

November 29, 2009

The day after Thanksgiving, I had the worst hangover.  And I didn’t have anything to drink.  Once in a while, we just have to splurge on a heavy meal full of carbs and fat, but this time of year can leave you weighted down.  So between now and New Year’s Eve, I rely heavily on my juicer.  It’s a miraculous little appliance that lets me pack a day’s supply of fruit and vegetables into a convenient, sippable treat. 

Need I extoll the virtues of fresh juice?  Well, since you asked…live enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, inreased metabolism, infection fighter, bone and tissue builder…and it’s helps everything move along the way it’s supposed to.  So when you eat cleaner, you’re doing it from the outside-in.  There, I said it!

One of my faves when the weather starts to cool is a carrot apple ginger mix.  Juice a bunch of carrots, two apples and a healthy tablespoon of fresh ginger.  I can literally feel the heat in my stomach move down to my toes.  Another powerful mix features equal parts kale and spinach, a few celery stalks, a couple of apples and a spoon full of spirulina – the ultimate green drink.  You can’t beat beets for their blood boosting properties, especially when combined with celery and carrots.  Fruit and veggies combined are a great way to cut the sugar. 

Get a jump start on your healthy resolutions with a glass of the good stuff.   That way, you can avoid getting sabotaged with the extra pounds we tend to pack on right about now.  It’s just one way to lighten your load this holiday.

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Take Part in Making Our Food Safe

November 25, 2009

 Our friends at the Make Our Food Safe coalition are organizing a photo petition to Congress, and we thought you might be interested in taking part. Read on to learn how you can help remind our leaders that American families want action on food safety now.

Preparing Thanksgiving dinner is stressful enough without worrying whether the food you serve your family is contaminated. That’s why the U.S. Senate needs to pass legislation before the end of the year that will improve food safety and give you one less thing to worry about over the holidays. We say American families have waited long enough. And that’s why this Thanksgiving, We are hoping you’ll help make sure the U.S. Senate gets the picture about food safety – by adding your photo to our Make Our Food Safe photo petition!

1. Make a sign that says, “Make my food safe for the holidays.”

2. Ask your family members to join you – if possible while you’re together for Thanksgiving.

3. Take a picture of you holding the sign. (Hold up your Eat Cleaner products while you’re at it!)

4. Send the photos to development@safetables.org – we’ll collect the photos, make them into holiday greeting cards, then deliver them to senators on Capitol Hill, in their local districts, and online in December. All photos need to be emailed by December 4th. To make our petition even bigger, forward this message to your family and friends today, asking them to submit a photo too!

Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for your help.

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Please don’t feed (or pet) the animals

November 23, 2009

Health Officials Trace E. coli to Stock Show

 DENVER (AP) Colorado health officials say a Denver-area E. coli outbreak in January and February was likely caused by exposure to animals at the National Western Stock Show in Denver.

A report Friday from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says the outbreak probably originated in a “Feed the Animals” exhibit in the children’s area. Investigators weren’t able to pinpoint the exact animal that may have caused the outbreak.

Thirty E. coli cases were identified in the outbreak. Of those, nine people were hospitalized.

Stock show President and CEO Pat Grant says there will now be signs warning of potential risks at stock and agricultural shows and of the need to wash hands and observe proper hygiene.

 This article taken from:  http://cbs4denver.com/wireapnewsco/Colorado.health.officials.2.1325738.html

 

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Richer in Experience and Conviction

November 22, 2009

To all our friends, family and supporters who rocked the vote for us…THANK YOU. 

It was an emotional journey that started in August. As one of almost 1,000 entries submitted, we were lucky enough to make it into the finals, one of 13 companies, to pitch our business at the Inc. Magazine/Alibaba.com Newpreneur of the Year event in San Francisco last week.  And while we didn’t win in the conventional way, we are richer in knowing the time is ripe for Eat Cleaner.

We created our brand to set the record straight on what’s on our plates, helping people put food safety and savings into their own hands.  People are eating at home more than ever and there’s never been a time when people were more concerned about how food is handled, how far it travels and the 20 sets of hands that have touched it before it reaches our mouths.

With 78 million reported cases of foodborne illness last year alone, most could have been avoided if the food was handled properly.  The fact is, we wash our hands with soap and water and douse them in hand sanitizer – which has enjoyed a 500% increase in sales this year alone – but our food is lucky if it gets a flash through the faucet.

Yes, we launched during one of the worst economic recessions in history.  But the fact is, we all gotta’ eat and after looking at the products out on the market, we knew we could make ours better while putting value back into the consumers pocket.   From the formulations to the packaging, go-to-market strategy and education, we created a solution that would not only get under the surface of food to make it healthier, but to also make it taste better and last longer…up to 200% longer.  So for less than your morning latte, you can enjoy cleaner, safer eating for a month.  The product pays for itself.

As retailers are starting to get on board with us, and we hear stories about people who have become raving fans, we know the real reward will be getting our products into people’s hands and to reap the support of all of you. 

 From our family to yours, have a healthy, safe Thanksgiving holiday.

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/video?id=7128841

 

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Winter Squash, Part 4: Acorn Squash

November 17, 2009

We are just beginning to discover the wealth of nourishment supplied by the mildly sweet flavored and finely textured winter squash, a vegetable that was once such an important part of the diet of the Native Americans that they buried it along with the dead to provide them nourishment on their final journey. In this fourth installment of our Squash celebration, we bring you the acorn squash. This beautiful vegetable has harvest-green skin speckled with orange patches and pale yellow-orange flesh with a unique flavor that is a combination of sweet, nutty and peppery. Acorn squash has distinctive longitudinal ridges and sweet, yellow-orange flesh.

The most common variety is usually dark green in color. However, newer varieties have arisen including Golden Acorn, known for its glowing pumpkin color, and even some that are white. They can also be multi-colored. As the name suggests, its shape resembles that of an acorn. It is also very good to eat, and is said to help your stomach.

To find a quality squash, search for one with a smooth, dry rind without any cracks or soft spots. The rind should be dull — a shiny rind indicates the squash was picked too early and will not be as sweet as is usually desired. Deep color is also a sign of a good acorn squash. For example, green acorn squash may have splashes of orange, but orange on more than half its surface is a bad sign. Also, acorn squashes should feel heavy for their size.

Before eating, scoop out the seeds and fibers. Acorn squash is most commonly baked, but also be microwaved, sautéed, and steamed. The acorn squash is not as rich in beta-carotene as other winter squashes, but is a good source of dietary fiber and potassium, as well as smaller amounts of vitamins C and B, mangnesium, and manganese.

Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ingredients

2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 large acorn squash, halved and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 cup raisins
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
1 cup uncooked couscous

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Arrange squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes, or until tender. Dissolve the sugar in the melted butter. Brush squash with the butter mixture, and keep squash warm while preparing the stuffing.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, celery, and carrots, and cook 5 minutes.
Mix in the garbanzo beans and raisins. Season with cumin, salt, and pepper, and continue to cook and stir until vegetables are tender.
Pour the chicken broth into the skillet, and mix in the couscous. Cover skillet, and turn off heat. Allow couscous to absorb liquid for 5 minutes.
Stuff squash halves with the skillet mixture to serve.

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Celebrating Squash – Week 3 of 4…Do You Know Jack?

November 6, 2009

That Orange Jack o’ fun, the Pumpkin

If you think he’s only about pie and being carved, you don’t know Jack.  This versatile vegetable is chock full of good stuff, loaded with vitamin A and antioxidants like alpha and beta-carotenes.  It’s also a good source of vitamins C, K, and E, and lots of minerals, including magnesium, potassium, and iron. Half a cup of canned pumpkin has 6.5 grams of effective carbohydrate and 3.5 grams of fiber.

 And don’t forget our favorite part – the seeds. Also referred to as pepitas, they’re loaded with minerals and have an anti-inflammatory effect which can help protect against prostate cancer and osteoporosis. A quarter cup has about 5 grams of effective carb and 1.5 grams of fiber.  Add a dusting of cayenne or chili powder and your seeds get an added boost of capsicum, which can help ward away colds.  Just wash and dry them on a paper towel before seasoning.

So in honor of that time of year kids of all ages love so much, take a tip from Eat Cleaner and try this satisfying Sweet n’ Spicy Pumpkin Soup.  Make sure to clean the outside of your pumpkin with Eat Cleaner before cooking.  Here’s to safe, healthy eating!

Cream of Pumpkin Soup Toppied with Curried Pecans
A delightful crunch of nuts tops this sweet and spicy soup.

Sweet and Spicy goodness.

Recipe courtesy of the Quick-Fix Vegetarian cookbook by Robin Robertson.

SERVINGS
4

INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 cups cooked fresh pumpkin (small cooking pumpkins) or 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pecan pieces
1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk

PREPARATION
1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion. Cover and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the curry powder and the pumpkin puree, then whisk in the broth until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes to allow flavors to develop, stirring occasionally.

2. While the soup is simmering, make the curried pecans. In a small bowl, combine the pecan pieces with the remaining maple syrup and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the remaining curry powder, tossing to coat. Place the pecans in a small baking dish and bake until toasted, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. Meanwhile, use an immersion blender to puree the soup right in the pot. Otherwise, transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Stir back into the pot. Return the soup to the stovetop, turning the heat to low. Whisk in the coconut milk, taste to adjust seasonings. Heat until hot, do not boil. Serve the soup garnished with the pecans.

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