May is Asthma Awareness Month

Jason

Did you know that May is Asthma Awareness Month? Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways (your airways are tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs). If you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways become sore, swollen, and sensitive, they may react strongly to things that you are allergic to or find irritating. When your airways react, they get even narrower and your lungs get less air. Continue reading “May is Asthma Awareness Month”

Eat Apples… For your Health

Apples help boost Brain Power!

It’s no secret that people who are the healthiest among us enjoy a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Health experts everywhere agree that we should be eating more for our better health. Over the years research has shown us that some foods can help prevent heart disease, cancers, high blood pressure, and a wide variety of other more minor ailments. Now, health experts are finding that some of these “Superfoods” can even increase brainpower. There is a whole category of “Brain Food”. Pretty cool right! Continue reading “Eat Apples… For your Health”

National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition Month

Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley. www.cobornsblog.com
Ashley

March celebrates National Nutrition Month! Thus, I thought it would be a great time to fill you all in on the new 2015 guidelines that have just been released! Yes, I know we are in 2016, but it usually take a year before the new guidelines are officially released. The dietary guidelines are updated every 5 years based on the latest research and trends we are seeing in the American population when it comes to the average nutrient intake. The dietary guidelines for Americans are a joint effort between the Health and Human Services department and the US Department of Agriculture. They describe adaptable eating patterns that both promote health and reduce the risk of chronic disease across an individual’s lifespan. Continue reading “National Nutrition Month”

The Truth About the 5 Second Rule

The Truth About the 5 Second Rule

Coborn's Blog: The Kitchen Detective
Kim

Hi Everyone! My topic for today’s blog is the “5 Second Rule”. I think at some point in time we all have either given into the 5 second rule and/or at least contemplated it, right?  I, myself, can say that is true. Saying to myself… “Really, what could possibly be wrong with this, it was only on the floor for a second?!?!”  Well, let me tell you, there are various organisms including some fairly harmful bacteria that reside in the soil:  Listeria, Salmonella, E.coli… just to name a few. Granted, not all bacteria residing in the soil are harmful, but the reality is we do not know where these harmful ones are lurking. They don’t glow, smell or leave any type of calling card that let you know where they are residing, so it is best to presume they may just be there!

Also, just thinking about all of the places our shoes take us each day, from either walking across the grass to pick up something blowing in the wind to walking through a park or down a trail where a dog needed to do it’s business or a bird flew overhead leaving nature’s duty in it’s path. This leaves the bottoms of our shoes a nice little harborage area for germs, in turn leaving some of these bugs behind on the floor as we walk through the cafeteria or into the restaurant or across our own floor at home. Some might say, “Well, I remove my shoes when I get home.” I think we all have experienced, 5 Second Rule5 Second Rulethough, even if we are committed to taking our shoes off in our homes, that our floors still get dirty. Either from dust, old food debris that may have fallen on the floor from previous meals and even dirt (because we cheat from time to time, don’t we? “I just need to run in quick and get my cell phone that I left on the counter!”)  …your secret is safe with me.

If the potential for some harmful microorganisms lurking on the floor doesn’t raise a cause for just throwing the food out, what about the thought of any physical object sticking to the food item. A piece of hair, a small pebble or that little dust bunny. Biting into these physical objects makes eating not very pleasurable either.

So the next time someone shouts, “5 Second Rule!” Think twice… Do you want to take the risk? Or would you rather pick it up, throw it out, wash your hands (of course) and go for another bite of something that hasn’t spent even a second on the floor!

Wishing you healthy and SAFE eating!

Kim
Coborn’s, Inc, Food Safety & Nutrition Manager, Registered Dietitian

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Best If Used By, Use By, Sell By, What Do They Mean?

 

Food Safety Basket

Coborn's Blog: The Kitchen Detective
Kim

Do you ever wonder when you’re grocery shopping “What do those dates on the packages actually mean”?  It’s important to understand the phrases, “Best if Used By”, “Sell By” and “Use By”… What are these dates telling us??  Well, let me help explain.

Product dating is truly up to each manufacturer. Federal regulations actually do not require food products to be labeled with a date, with the exception of baby formula.  If a food manufacturer does choose to date a product, this is where the requirements kick in.  If using a calendar date, it must include both the month and the day.  They must also include a year if it is a shelf stable or frozen item.  In addition, this date needs to include a statement such as “Sell By”, “Use By”, etc.

Interesting Tidbit – Although Federal regulations do not require dating on product labels, dating of select food items is required in 20 or so states, Minnesota and North Dakota are among those.

Product dating can be presented in basically two ways.  Either through what is called Open Dating or Closed Dating.  Open Dating is essentially calendar dating which is easily understood by the consumer.  As I talked about earlier, this will include a month and a date and often the year.  Closed Dating, on the other hand, also known as coded dating, is just that….a code.  These codes can be presented in various forms including random numbers and letters which are not intended for the consumer to understand.  These codes allow the manufacturers to track their products and may often represent the date of production, which manufacturing plant the product was produced in, etc.

A little more about open dating and the words typically used (from USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service)

Sell By – tells the store how long to display the product for sale.  You should buy the product before the date expires.
Best if Used By – recommended for best flavor or quality.  It is not a purchase or safety date.
Use By – is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality.  The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.

As stated above these dates refer to the quality of the product not the safety which is a common misconception.  Foods impacted by spoilage bacteria may exhibit changes in flavor and appearance and may have an off odor, these products should not be used due to poor quality.  It is important to note that spoilage bacteria do not impact the safety of the food.  Pathogens (organisms that will make you sick) do not give off any odors nor do they make food taste or look badly.  It is also important to remember that mishandling of the product can cause rapid bacterial growth and if pathogens are present at even the slightest level this mishandling can cause the levels to grow and then foodborne illness can result.  So it is very important to handle foods properly, specifically those food items that are perishable (requiring refrigeration).  Some examples of mishandling include:shutterstock_143015473

  • Allowing product to sit too long in the Danger Zone..…remember “The Danger Zone”?? this is from 41°F-140°F
  • Thawing product at room temperature – this should always be done under refrigeration or if in a hurry under cool running water or in the microwave and cooked immediately afterwards.

Another factor that will affect the safety of the product is how long it is kept once opened.  The charts below outlines how long a product should be kept once opened.  If the product has a Use By date, this date should be followed even after opening.  For example, if the product is opened on the actual Use By date, it should not be kept past that date, even if the chart states 3-4 days after opening.

Refrigerator Storage of Processed Products Sealed at Plant

Processed Product

Unopened, After Purchase

After Opening

Cooked Poultry 3 to 4 days 3 to 4 days
Cooked Sausage 3 to 4 days 3 to 4 days
Sausage, Hard/Dry, shelf-stable 6 weeks/pantry 3 weeks
Corned Beef, uncooked, in pouch with pickling juices 5 to 7 days 3 to 4 days
Vacuum-packed Dinners, Commercial Brand with USDA seal 2 weeks 3 to 4 days
Bacon 2 weeks 7 days
Hot dogs 2 weeks 1 week
Luncheon meat 2 weeks 3 to 5 days
Ham, fully cooked 7 days slices, 3 days; whole, 7 days
Ham, canned, labeled “keep refrigerated” 9 months 3 to 4 days
Ham, canned, shelf stable 2 years/pantry 3 to 5 days
Canned Meat and Poultry, shelf stable 2 to 5 years/pantry 3 to 4 days

 

Refrigerator Storage of Fresh or Uncooked Products

Product

Storage Times After Purchase

Poultry 1 or 2 days
Beef, Veal, Pork and Lamb 3 to 5 days
Ground Meat and Ground Poultry 1 or 2 days
Fresh Variety Meats (Liver, Tongue, Brain, Kidneys, Heart, Chitterlings) 1 or 2 days
Cured Ham, Cook-Before-Eating 5 to 7 days
Sausage from Pork, Beef or Turkey, Uncooked 1 or 2 days
Eggs 3 to 5 weeks

I hope this has provided you with some useful information in regards to those dates we see on packages as we are shopping.  They certainly are helpful tools, but truly do not imply the safety of the product.  We should always follow our Food Safety “Recipe for Success” to ensure we are following safe food handling practices.

Until next time – Eat Safe and Be Healthy!

Kim

Coborn’s, Inc, Food Safety & Nutrition Manager, Registered Dietitian

Click Here for more articles written by Kim

www.cobornsblog.com - The Ktichen Detetive