How Safe Is Your Food?

How Safe Is Your Food?

Nothing is safe today. You will never know what happens in between the farm and your dining tables. What can we do about this?

HOW SAFE IS YOUR FOOD? – Orlando Sentinel

From peanut butter to baby food, a recent rash of food recalls is leading more and more shoppers to question what’s safe to buy and pushing watchdog groups to demand protections up and down the nation’s food chain.

Both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration insist the food-supply system is among the safest in the world and steps are being taken to make it even safer.

Since a massive spinach recall last fall, the FDA has been working with produce growers to prevent contamination of leafy greens. And just last week the USDA said it would step up inspections at some meat and poultry plants.

Still, the news of hundreds being sickened by staples such as peanut butter is enough to make consumers such as Paul Steele of Orlando pay special heed to what they decide to put in their grocery baskets.

“I’m careful about where I shop, and I’m careful about food preparations,” said Steele, who was loading several bags of groceries into his trunk last week outside a Publix supermarket on South Orange Avenue in Orlando.

For instance, Steele, 49, said he has become hesitant about buying bagged spinach after three people died and nearly 200 were sickened after eating spinach tainted with a virulent strain of E. coli.

“I’m starting to rethink that you can take it on face value that the product is clean,” Steele said. “I certainly think about it more since there was a spate of these stories.”

In the past few weeks, consumers have learned that some batches of Great Value and Peter Pan peanut butter may be contaminated with salmonella; certain jars of Earth’s Best organic baby food may be tainted with bacteria that can cause botulism; some cantaloupes from Dole Fresh Fruit Co. may have salmonella; and packages of Oscar Mayer ready-to-eat chicken-breast strips may be contaminated with listeria.

As a matter of precaution, grocery stores routinely clear their shelves of items that have been recalled.

Read More: HOW SAFE IS YOUR FOOD? – Orlando Sentinel

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Washing hands on food preparation will count a lot?

How safe is your food: ADHS 2015 Food Safety report released

Nothing says “wash-your-hands” like foodborne illness.

Food Safety and Environmental Services within the Arizona Department of Health Services has released the 2015 Food Safety Annual Report has been released.

“We saw an increase of about 40 percent in the number of people calling in to file foodborne illness complaints,” said Jessica Rigler, bureau chief for the Bureau of Epidemiology and Disease Control at the Arizona Department of Health Services. “Those are complaints of members of the public calling in to their county health department to let them know about a foodborne illness concern that they have in their community.”

In all, 1,095 foodborne illnesses complaints were received by county health departments.

“It’s hard to say what’s causing that increase,” Rigler said. “It could be that more are aware that they can call their local health department to report a concern or a problem. Or it might be more awareness about foodborne disease in general.”

The report covers the period from July 1, 2014 to June 31, 2015 and includes county investigations of 21 foodborne outbreaks.

There are many things that people can do to protect themselves from getting sick, Rigler said.

“The very most important thing is to wash your hands,” she said. “Wash your hands before you prepare a meal, wash before you eat. That ensures you’re not eating any of those nasty bacteria to make you sick.”

Read More: How safe is your food: ADHS 2015 Food Safety report released  

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Lessons could be learnt from the Clark family.

How safe is your food? –

The Clark family reunion was scheduled for the third weekend of July. Uncles and cousins and in-laws, from as far away as Utah and Florida, had marked the date on their calendars months before. Plane tickets were booked, motel rooms were reserved, and the venue was set: Madoc, Ont., (population 2,044).

Frances Clark was at the centre of the plans. The matriarch of the clan baked some of her famous raspberry pies, froze a few pans of homemade lasagna, and spent weeks making sure the house—built by her late husband’s grandfather in 1915—looked just right for the big party. “At breakfast one morning she said: ‘You know, I’m going to go into the other room and work on that window,’ ” recalls her daughter Karen. “There was some caulking on the frame, and she wanted to dig it out so the window would go up and down for the reunion. You wouldn’t believe that woman with a hammer. Mike Holmes had nothing on her.” Frances Clark was 89 years old.

Later that morning, as she walked to her bedroom for a brief nap, Frances tripped and dislocated her left shoulder. When Karen came home from work, she found her mom lying on the floor, flat on her back. “I said: ‘Mother, what are you doing down there?’ She said: ‘Well, I thought I’d lie here and count the ceiling tiles.’ She was hilarious. Count the ceiling tiles? How many women, at 89, would say that?”

Frances spent the next four weeks at Belleville General Hospital. Although she missed the reunion, her out-of-town relatives made sure to stop by for a visit. After they left, Frances made a difficult decision: maybe it’s time I move into a nursing home. “She was transferred to Stirling Manor on Aug. 7,” her daughter says. “She was making new friends, talking everyone’s ear off. This was not some old lady who had lost her marbles and was tied up somewhere, drooling. Far from it.”

Two weeks later, Clark was back in a hospital bed, barely conscious and gasping for air. Her temperature skyrocketed, her eyes glazed over, and the antibiotics proved no match for the bacteria coursing through her body. “A couple of times she tried to say a word or two, but it was incomprehensible,” says her son Tim. On Aug. 25, at 5:15 in the morning, Frances passed away. The official cause of death was listeriosis, a flu-like infection that attacks the central nervous system.

Read More: How safe is your food? –

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