Category: Food Safety

Keeping It Safe At Home This Holiday Season: Allergies

As the song goes, “if the fates allow” we’ll perhaps be able to see more friends and loved ones in person this holiday season. If you are hosting any holiday guests, it can often feel like you have enough on your plate to begin with (a small holiday pun there…), before even thinking about guest dietary restrictions.  However, a bit of planning can go a long way to make all of your guests feel welcome and cared for, no matter what dietary restrictions they may face due to factors like their religious affiliation, personal preference, health issues, allergies/sensitivities, etc.   

More specifically here, in terms of contending with food allergies you can use these seven festive tips to better accommodate your guests with these dietary restrictions.     

  1. Know your major allergens. 90%(!) of known allergic reactions come from 8 key foods: milk, eggs, fish, crustaceans, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans.  
  2. Read your labels. Food producers are required to label any foods that contain one of the “big 8” allergens. Check the label for assistance in knowing what to safely purchase.   
  3. Avoid cross-contamination. Use clearly marked, separate utensils, cutting boards, etc. when handling foods, if there are allergens. Consider color-coding for an easy-to-identify system in your kitchen.
  4. Clean and sanitize your work areas and utensils after handling food allergens. 
  5. Be sure to advise guests with food allergies on what foods to avoid. You can always label foods to assist as well. 
  6. Keep an eye out for the signs of an allergic reaction. Symptoms can vary, but recognizing symptoms like wheezing, hives, face/tongue/lip swelling can save lives.  
  7. The easiest thing to do is ask. Check in with guests before hosting your event if they have any allergies or food restrictions. Doing so means a great deal to guests with food allergies/restrictions, as it helps anticipate their needs and makes them feel welcome and included in the festivities.

You can learn more about many of the points above from this handy sheet from the FDA.  The happiest and healthiest of holidays to you and yours from Nelson-Jameson!

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The Many Applications of UV-C Disinfecting

UV-C Disinfecting in The Food Industry

UV-C light disinfectant Ensuring proper disinfection of your food processing equipment is paramount in eliminating pathogens from wreaking havoc on your bottom line. Traditional chemicals have been a part of the cleaning process for generations in the food and beverage industry. In recent years, another form of disinfecting has made its way into the fold that works hand in hand with your traditional cleaning program, Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) light. UV-C light utilizes short wavelengths of light to deactivate and eliminate microorganisms such as bacteria, mold and viruses in a matter of seconds.

UV-C light is able to enhance the effects of traditional cleaning solutions.

After a thorough cleaning using your standard CIP and COP procedures, you are able to illuminate your surfaces with the powerful UV-C light that has been shown to break down the microorganisms that traditional chemicals leave behind by reaching into all of those hard to reach places. Utilizing the perfect one-two-punch of chemicals and UV-C light creates superior sanitation that virtually eliminates all threats of contamination on your food processing equipment.

Even though UV-C is not a substitute for thoroughly cleaning your food processing equipment, using it in conjunction with traditional chemicals in the sanitation process provides you with a vital tool in your toolbox of cleaning supplies. 

Ensure you are using the very best in UV-C technology with the Aurora UV Disinfecting Device from SMS Technologies that you can order right here.  Thanks to UV-C, the crucial last step in cleaning and sanitizing your food processing equipment has never been easier or more efficient.


UV-C Disinfecting in The Laboratory

Introducing: nUVaCleanTM UV Pipette Carousel
The first and only pipette rack that not only organizes and protects six pipettes, but also destroys greater than 99% of unwanted contamination. Using a germicidal UV-C lamp, a high-efficiency reflector/concentrator completely bathes pipette shafts in 254 nm UV light. This exposure destroys unwanted microbiological contaminants and prevents cross-contamination in PCR and other sensitive procedures.

Just place single-channel pipettes of any range or brand in the carousel and press the “start” button to begin the auto-decon cycle. After 28 minutes this device will power down automatically, delivering up to 6 pipettes that are safe, clean, and ready for use.


Preparing for Food Safety in Game Hunting

For many people throughout the United States, hunting wild game is a beloved pastime–whether for the enjoyment of the outdoors, thrill of the hunt, or an economical way to obtain food. Along with this hobby comes many safety precautions. Just as a hunter should be trained in firearm safety and first aid procedures, food safety is also important. Educating one’s self on the dangers of foodborne illness is one step closer to harvesting a game animal for safe consumption.

Know The Risks
Harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E.coli can live in raw or undercooked game meats. It is important to note the stages in which contamination may occur, and what steps can be taken to ensure you have processed your animal in the safest means possible.

Contamination can occur through the initial wound sustained by a bullet or an arrow. It is best to avoid hitting or puncturing the area around the stomach and intestines, as this would result in spoiling much of the surrounding meat due to the bacteria that lives within these organs.

Another area of concern in game food contamination is the possibility of cross-contamination. Be sure to pack clean utensils and tools for field dressing or butchering your game animal. Even the smallest of pathogens can wreak havoc on the quality of your game meat. Pack alcohol wipes for regular cleaning of the hands and tools before, during, and after use. Also plan to pack supplies such as paper towels, a clean plastic drop cloth or tarp, and disposable plastic gloves. Keeping your area, tools, and hands clean during the removal of entrails is a big part of ensuring your kill will be safely preserved until you can reach a controlled environment for processing.

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Recommended Equipment for Field Dressing Deer & Other Large Game
For proper field dressing, bring the following items with you when you hunt:

  • Sharp knife
  • Small hatchet
  • Whetstone or steel for sharpening
  • Several feet of rope or nylon cord
  • Rubber bands
  • Clean cloths or paper towels
  • Resealable plastic storage bags
  • A large cooler full of ice/snow
  • Ground pepper and cheesecloth
  • Disposable plastic gloves
  • Clean drinking water

Recommended Equipment for Field Dressing Game Birds
For proper field dressing of game birds, bring the following items with you when you hunt:

  • Sharp knife
  • Resealable plastic storage bags
  • Whetstone or steel for sharpening
  • Cooler full of ice/snow
  • Rope or nylon cord
  • Disposable plastic gloves
  • Clean cloths or paper towels
  • Clean drinking water

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Preserving Your Game Meat for Processing
Temperature control is a factor that is mostly out of the control of the hunter. Depending on the region you live, hunting season climate can range from warm and humid to below freezing temperatures. In areas like Wisconsin, we often don’t have to worry about this aspect, as our harvested game cools down quickly and for the most part remains on snow-covered ground until it can be loaded for transport. If this is not the case, consider taking coolers filled with ice or packaged dry ice. If the outside temperature is above 41° F, the hide should be removed from large game as quickly as possible. The longer the carcass remains in temperatures above 41°F, the greater the risk of foodborne pathogen growth. When transporting your large game animal, do not wrap the carcass. Trapping heat around the carcass encourages the growth of bacteria and other foodborne pathogens. In contrast, with small game animals like rabbits and squirrels, it is recommended to skin the animal while field dressing, wrap the carcass in clean plastic wrap or butcher paper, and place in a cooler for transport. The smaller the game, the quicker the internal temperature will cool down – improving the overall safety of the meat.

Game meat should then be processed and packaged as quickly as possible, either by utilizing a commercial processing facility or implementing the same practices as during field dressing by processing on a clean surface with clean tools and protective coverings for your hands and other surfaces.

Be Informed Of Other Factors
One last thing to consider when preparing for your hunt is being educated on the signs of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). This prion disease affects deer populations across North America, including elk, reindeer, sika deer, and moose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that hunters try to minimize their risk for exposure by consulting with their area DNR or wildlife agencies as to areas of known cases and where testing sites are located in your hunting vicinity. Always avoid eating meat from an animal that seems sick or tests positive for CWD.

Click here for more information on how to field dress an animal and food safety tips.

Sourced from Food Safety News.

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Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy: Bringing Together People with Resources and Education

Nelson-Jameson strives to not only be a resource of products, programs, services, and industry expertise, but to also be of service to the food industry and focus on the mutually shared goal of food safety and quality. This allows us to work with a whole host of professional organizations, academic programs, regulatory agencies, etc. Over the past several months, we have enjoyed engaging and becoming active with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy Food Safety Team. You may or may not be familiar with this volunteer organization, and even if you are, you may be surprised by the remarkable scope of resources available…   

The Innovation Center for US Dairy is a consortium of dairy industry producers, educators, and organizations that gather to align “pre-competitive priorities, drive progress and speak with one voice.” In terms of what Nelson-Jameson does on a daily basis, the Center’s food safety programs/materials have been especially beneficial as a welcome food safety resource. Their approach to their Food Safety Committee is based on four core strategies:

  1. Industrywide sharing of best practices to drive continuous improvement.
  2. Disseminate best practices via training, tools, and guidance documents.
  3. Support artisan, farmstead, and small dairy manufacturers.
  4. Identify new solutions through research.

This involves numerous industry stakeholders aligned into several key areas: the Innovation Center Committee, the Artisan Cheese Advisory Team, the Artisan Ice Cream Advisory Team, and a targeted Listeria Research Consortium. Along with pushing best practices and research forward, the Innovation Center heavily focuses on sharing information and resources for use by all industry stakeholders focused on each of these areas.      

If you browse through the  Innovation Center website, you will find an array of workshops, webinars, Spanish-language tools, etc. in areas as diverse as sustainability, animal care, nutrition, food safety, and community relations. Whatever portion of the dairy industry you fall into (and even for those outside of the industry interested in topics like food safety), exploring the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy will provide you a tremendous resource to assist with the process of making safe, quality food.   


Grilling & Food Contamination

Summer is here! What a perfect opportunity to get outside and enjoy the warm summer air we’ve all been craving! For some individuals, spending time outdoors could involve hiking, boating, or reading in the shade, but one thing we can all agree on, summer is the perfect time to enjoy some of our favorite foods on the grill. Whether with family, friends, or even coworkers, cooking food on the grill appears to be a popular summer activity. With summer holidays approaching, like the Fourth of July, it is important to keep your celebrations healthy and safe by following food safety tips to prevent contamination while grilling.

According to the FDA and the USDA Food Safety organizations, there are grilling food safety tips to be followed for all food types:

  • Be Clean: First, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly, especially after touching any form of raw meat. Before consumption, make sure to rinse off fruits and vegetables as there may be bacteria on the surfaces. Never rinse off raw meat as this can increase your risk of cross-contamination.
  • Separate: Keep raw meats away from other foods such as salads, dips, or fruit. Be conscientious of not using the same utensils for putting raw meat on the grill, and for taking cooked meat off the grill. Using the same utensils that touched raw meat could be covered in harmful bacteria, which can contaminate the cooked meat.
  • Temperature: Use a food thermometer to check if food is fully cooked. Sometimes grilling can give you a false impression where food looks fully cooked on the outside, but is under cooked on the inside. The recommended internal temperature for beef, pork, lamb, and veal is 145°F, ground meat is 160°F, whole poultry is 165°F, and fish is 145°F.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: Lastly, make sure to be aware of how long fruits and vegetables should be cooking on the grill. Thicker cut fruits and vegetables will have to cook longer than thinner pieces. Although, fruits and vegetables do not have to reach a minimum internal temperature like meat, it is still important to cook them thoroughly.

Although grilling out in the summer can be a fun thing to do, it is important to take action and be careful in preventing the harmful spread of bacteria to our food. To learn more about additional tips and guidelines to follow when cooking various foods this summer, check out the FDA and USDA Food Safety organization websites to learn more.

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