Thursday, May 21, 2009

Food Safety Lesson/Tip of the Day

Since work was pretty slow and uneventful today, I have decided I might as well stimulate my brain a bit and give y'all a little lesson on food safety. This topic was brought up this semester and the lack of public knowledge astounded me. So this is for anybody that plans to become pregnant, is pregnant or has somebody close to them that is pregnant. 

Did you know that a pregnant woman is not suppose to eat deli meats or other ready-to-eat foods? I don't know if the doctor tells a woman when she's pregnant about the foods to avoid or not (as I have no experience with pregnancy and whanot), but the main reason is because of Listeria monocytogenes. Pregnant women are more likely to get listeriosis, which can cause stillbirths, abortions, septicemia, meningitis, encephalitis or lifelong health issues for the baby. Listeriosis has a high fatality rate and generally affects people with immunocompromised immune systems (i.e. pregnant women and fetus, neonates, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals)

Prevention:   Properly heat up a food prior to eating or avoid unpasteurized products or ready to eat products altogether (deli meats, ready-to-eat products, soft cheeses). This mainly affects the ready-to-eat foods because these types of food do not require further cooking prior to consumption. L. monocytogenes is able to grow in the refrigerator so proper cooking and holding temperatures are important. 

If you are interested in more information regarding things you should avoid when pregnant, you can go here to learn more! You will find that most food borne illnesses are generally caused by improper handling of food and lack of common sense. 

So my tip of the day is a simple one, make sure your food is kept below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and when heated, make sure it is above 140 degrees Fahrenheit. You want to avoid the "danger zone" of 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit...this is temperature range where bacteria can multiply rapidly and cause problems. 

If there is anything in particular you want me to talk about regarding food or anything remotely related to it, let me know and I'll be more than happy to do a post on it!! 

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