Archive for July, 2010

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Cut through the crap

July 17, 2010

Wax can trap pesticide residue and harmful bacteria. Unlike water, a produce wash like Food Production And Pesticide Use

I found this article, written a registered dietician nutritionist, called Avoiding Pesky Produce Pesticides and thought her insights into why you need a

Every day we’re bombarded with news about bacteria-tainted meat and pesticide-laden produce. In the
United States we expect our produce to be free of such contaminants, but there is a growing concern
about the safety of our food supply. Fresh fruits and veggies are an important component of a nutritious
diet because they are packed with vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber. So how can we reap
the benefits of healthful produce, but ensure they’re 100 percent safe?

Food Production And Pesticide Use

Food production and distribution methods have changed over the years, leading to new safety issues. For
example, to optimize crop yields many farmers increasingly turn to pesticides to control undesired insects,
weeds, rodents, fungi and bacteria. Antibiotics are added to animal feed to counteract the growing
number of bacteria. However, these bacteria are becoming resistant to the antibiotics. These “super”
strains of bacteria grow inside animals and can be passed on to humans through tainted meat and
eggs. Fruits and vegetables can become contaminated when they are shipped or prepared with animal
products harboring bacteria.

We know that the healthful benefits of produce are greater than the risk of pesticide exposure. However,
today concern is mounting about the ways that pesticides could affect people, especially pregnant
women and young children.

In 1997, Congress passed the Food Quality Protection Act, which requires all pesticides to be proven safe
for infants and children. If a pesticide is unsafe for children or information is lacking about its safety, the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for setting safety levels for its use. This strategy
may help to minimize pesticide use in the long run.

The EPA also approves every pesticide before its use on foods, monitors pesticide residues in foods,
and surveys which such foods children consume in greater amounts. Some pesticides are rated by the
EPA as known or possible carcinogens.

But the risk from pesticides is still uncertain, not thoroughly studied, and worrisome to consumers. It
makes sense that we should try to reduce our exposure to them, but how do we do this?

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Going Organic

What does organic produce mean? As defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), organic foods
are those grown without the use of pesticides, petroleum- or sewage-based fertilizers, antibiotics,
synthetic hormones, genetic engineering, or irradiation.

So how can we identify organic foods? As of October 2002, the USDA began labeling organic foods with
anorganic seal of approval. To be labeled “100 percent organic,” the food has to be certified by the
USDA. A food can claim to be “organic” if it contains 95 percent organic ingredients. Foods with 70
percent to 95 percent organic ingredients can claim to be “made with organic ingredients”. If a food has
less than 70 percent organic ingredients, the word organic must be relegated to the ingredient list.

Although there is no solid evidence that organic foods are healthier for consumers, emerging studies
show that organic produce is less likely to contain pesticides. Pesticide residue has been in 13 percent
to 23 percent of organic produce and 71 percent to 90 percent of conventionally grown produce.

To reduce the risk of pesticide exposure, follow some of the food-safety tips below to insure the safest
and tastiest produce:

  1. Eat organic when you can. If this option is too costly or not readily available, select organic
    produce to replace the most contaminated fruits and veggies from the table below.
  2. Choose conventionally grown produce from the least contaminated fruits and veggies from the
    table below.
  3. Buy locally grown produce when in season. You may want to inquire about pesticide use. Check
    with your state’s cooperative extension service for a list of farmers’ markets.
  4. Wash your produce with cold, running water. Peel thick-skinned produce and trim outer leaves of
    greens. Water is effective as produce washes when it comes to non-waxed fruits and veggies.
    Washing produce with water can reduce bacteria 10-fold. However, produce washes may help to
    remove the wax coating from produce such as apples, peppers, cucumbers or tomatoes. Edible
    wax is applied to trap moisture and keep produce fresh longer, but dirt and pesticide residues can
    get trapped underneath.
  5. Keep produce and animal food preparation separate. Use one cutting board for meats, fish,
    chicken and another board for produce. After every use wash boards, knives and other
    kitchen utensils thoroughly with soap and water.
  6. Finally, always wash your hands prior to any type of food prep, and wash hands when
    switching from meat to produce preparation.

Keep in mind that fruits and veggies are loaded with healthful benefits that outweigh the risks of possible
pesticides. Diets based on fruits, vegetables, and grains can help to lower your cancer risk by as much
as 20 percent. The bottom line: Eat a variety of fruits and veggies daily and treat yourself and your family
to a new one every week!

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Most And Least Contaminated Produce
Conventionally Grown Fruit And Vegetables
12 Most Contaminated 12 Least Contaminated
Peaches Sweet corn
Strawberries Avocado
Apples Pineapples
Spinach Cauliflower
Nectarines Mangoes
Celery Sweet peas
Pears Asparagus
Cherries Onions
Potatoes Broccoli
Bell peppers Bananas
Raspberries Kiwi fruit
Grapes, imported Papaya
Source: Environmental Working Group



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FOOD SAFETY ALERT: Second Fresh Express Recall in last 60 days

July 15, 2010

The second recall in less than two months for Fresh Express bagged salad products. The recall for the romaine lettuce salad products was issued on July 14 for the potential of being contaminated with E.coli. (product list below)

A positive result for E. coli O157:H7 in a random sample test of a single Hearts of Romaine salad conducted by the FDA.

The recalled Fresh Express bagged salads were sold in the following states: Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Nebraska, Montana, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

In May, a number of Fresh Express bagged salad products were recalled due to salmonella contamination.

Check your refrigerator for Fresh Express salad products. The bagged salads in the July 14 recall have the “use by” dates of July 8-12 and an “S” in the product code

Information from the FDA:

No illnesses have been reported in association with the recall. Fresh Express customer service representatives have already contacted a majority of retailers and are in the process of confirming that the recalled product is not in the stream of commerce.

E. coli O157:H7 is a bacterium that can cause serious foodborne illness in a person who eats a food item contaminated with it. Symptoms of infection may include severe and often bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain and vomiting. Consumers who may experience these symptoms should consult a doctor.

Retailers and Consumers who have any remaining expired product should not consume it, but rather discard it. Retailers and Consumers with questions may call the Fresh Express Consumer Response Center at               (800) 242-5472         (800) 242-5472, Monday – Friday, 5 a.m. – 8 p.m., Pacific Time.

Fresh Express Bagged Salad Recall

This recall continues at:  http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm219057.htm

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Independence Day – Free Yourself from Foodborne Illness in 4 Steps

July 1, 2010

 

 

Grill? Check. Great food? Check. Salmonella? Let’s keep that one off the menu.As you get fired up for the festivities this weekend, keep these 4 tips top of mind. After all, who wants to be known as the host(ess) who made everyone lose their lunch?

 

 

1. CLEAN:
Of course, we’ve got to start with clean surfaces, clean hands and clean food. Give fruit and veggies, including melon rinds and other fruit with peels a good bath with EAT CLEANER Fruit + Vegetable Wash to help prevent Salmonella and E.coli infection. EAT CLEANER Seafood + Poultry Wash will do a number on that fecal soup. Just give all chicken surfaces a good spritz, soak and rinse. Equally important are the surfaces that come in contact with raw and cooked foods – make sure they are clean before you start and are washed frequently. EAT CLEANER doesn’t contain chlorine and can be used on cutting boards and even your grill surfaces to cut through the grime.2. SEPARATE:
Raw meats and poultry should be prepared separately from produce and cooked foods. If you can, use separate cutting boards when chopping raw meats and produce, as juices from raw meats may contain harmful bacteria that can cross-contaminate ready-to-eat foods and keep your EAT CLEANER Canister Wipes within a hands reach – a great way to keep hands and surfaces clean. 3. COOK:
If you don’t have one already, get a meat thermometer to take the guess work out of the ‘doneness’ dilemma. Two numbers to remember: 145°F: Internal temperature to kill any harmful bacteria in steaks, roasts, chops and fish 160°F: Internal temperature to kill any harmful bacteria in ground beef. Take extra care with frozen hamburgers as these take longer to reach a safe internal temperature throughout the patties. It is important to measure the temperature in several areas of your cooking foods.

4. CHILL:
Get it on ice, stat. Perishable food should never sit out for more than two hours. If the temperature is above 90°F, perishable foods shouldn’t sit out more than one hour. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers promptly, and discard any food that has been out too long.



 

 

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Includes:
• Wash + Dryer Kit, featuring a BPA-free salad spinner, scrub brush and 4 oz. Fruit + Vegetable Wash Concentrate with BONUS offer Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Magazine – 1 year subscription

• Fruit + Vegetable Wash Spray – 2 bottles.  Remove wax, pesticide residue and contaminants while prolonging shelf life

• Seafood + Poultry Wash Spray – 2 bottles.  Clean your food and help prevent cross contamination by cleaning surfaces

• Fruit + Vegetable Wipes – 2 packs Individually-wrapped, 6-Ct. Pouch.  Perfect for healthy snacking on-the-go

• Fruit + Vegetable Wipes – 1 Canister, 40 Ct.  Use them to clean everything that touches your food, including utensils, countertops and cutting surfaces

 
 
 


 
 
 
THE RABBIT HOLE

 

Enjoy safe summer grilling with a few additional steps that make a cleaner plate:• Char-no. You avoid getting too much sun, right? Resist the urge to char your grilled foods, too, as high-heat cooking of animal proteins can create carcinogenic substances called HCA’s.• Get leaner. Opt for leaner cuts and trim the excess fat to avoid fat flare-ups and additional HCA’s. Don’t forget to fill your grill with veggies, too, for added flavor and nutrition. Make half your plate the colorful part.

• Herb’n Marinate. Sugar and honey marinades can crystallize and char easier. Vinegar and lemon-based marinades are best. Add fresh sprigs of rosemary on top for flavor and health benefits, as the oil from rosemary has anti-carcinogenic properties.

• Flip out. Turn food regularly to help avoid overcooking, especially burgers, about 1 minute on each side and keep grill at least 6 inches from the source of heat.

• Plank position. Try grilling foods on a cedar plank. They add great flavor without the fat and help catch juices before they create flare-ups. Pick up a few at your local lumber supply and soak for at least 30 minutes in water before grilling to avoid a full-on bonfire.

 

 

 

 


San Diego Fans…Watch Eat Cleaner Founder Mareya Ibrahim on Channel 6 News on Sunday, July 4th presenting Safer Summer Grilling.


 

 

 

 

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