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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Food Safety: During and After a Power Outage

Food Safety: During and After a Power Outage - www.cobornsblog.com

www.cobornsblog.com - Coborn's Food Safety Coordinator, Kim
Kim

Hi again! It appears the warm weather may finally be starting to show itself. Yay! Soon the flowers will be blooming and… unfortunately, the skies booming. Inevitably with warm weather comes the chance for severe thunderstorms and potential power outages. With that said, what can be done to ensure our food is safe during a loss of power?

Invest in a Refrigerator Thermometer

One good investment to start with is a refrigerator thermometer. These typically cost under $5 and are valuable to have in your refrigerator at all times.Invest in a Refrigerator Thermometer - www.cobornsblog.com A rule of thumb is to set your refrigerator temperature 3°F colder than what you want your food temperature to be. Remember “The Danger Zone” of 41°F – 140°F? For cold foods, that means we want our items to be at 41°F or lower. So, set the temp of your refrigerator to a max of 38°F to ensure your food temperatures are at 41°F or below. It is also a good idea to have a large cooler(s) with frozen gel packs on hand and/or know where block ice and dry ice is sold (this may be needed for longer power outages).

What to do when the lights go out

Now, along comes that nasty storm….lights are flickering and soon the power is out. Calling the power company and getting an estimate of when the power will be restored is an important first step. If the power will be out for less than 4 hours, typically your food items will be fine. It is important, though, to keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. This helps to maintain the cold environment within these units. Opening and closing the doors only lets this valuable cold air escape. If you know severe weather is in the forecast, items currently in your refrigerator like fresh meat, poultry, leftovers, etc. could be placed in the freezer. This way they could potentially be fully frozen prior to an outage. A full freezer will maintain its temperature for 48 hours – 24 hours if it is half full. …..This is much better than the 4 hours in the refrigerator.

Power out for an extended period of time

If power will be out for an extended period of time, purchasing dry ice may prove helpful. Per USDA, 50 pounds of dry ice will keep an 18-cubic foot freezer cold for two days. Ensure you take the proper safety precautions when handling dry ice – do not handle with bare hands, do not put in direct contact with the food, etc. Visit dryicenetwork.com for other safety-related information regarding handling dry ice. Not only do we want you to keep your food safe, but you safe as well! Now remember, dry ice is really only needed when the power will be out for long period of time (more than 1-2 days) and you have a freezer full of food that you don’t want to lose. My freezer is rarely full. I don’t know if that is good or bad. The good part is, I typically end up shopping for dinner on my way home from work and visit with the fine folks at my local Coborn’s.

Power’s on, what is safe to eat?

Once the power is back on, you might wonder what to do now. Checking the freezer is the easy part, so let’s start there. Food in the freezer that is still hard to the touch is fine. Food that has thawed slightly, but still has ice crystals and product that has stayed below 41°F is also safe. Refreezing of this product is fine; however, the quality of the food may be impacted. On to the refrigerator… remember, if it has been less than 4 hours, the food will be safe to re-chill down. If power has been out for longer than 4 hours, use the following guidance from USDA to determine what needs to be thrown and what is safe to keep www.fsis.usda.gov

Power Outage Food Safety Guide - www.cobornsblog.com

I hope you will find this guidance helpful. Better yet – I hope you never need to use it! A nice thunderstorm is fine, but much better without the power outages!

Kim
Coborn’s, Inc. R.D. Food Safety Coordinator

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Homemade Bathroom Cleaner Spray

Homemade Bathroom Cleaner Spray #DIY - www.cobornsblog.com

Homespun with Lori - www.cobornsblog.com
Lori

How to make DIY Homemade Bathroom Cleaner Spray with Essential Oils - www.cobornsblog.comWhen I started making my own natural products for around my home, one of the hardest things for me to give up was my bleach-filled bathroom cleaner.  I knew how many germs gathered in the bathroom and I wanted to make sure that every time I cleaned it, they were GONE.   With this homemade cleaner, I feel just as confident that the germs are gone and it is great for sinks, toilets and showers and, the best part, no harmful chemicals! No more need to wear thick gloves or leave the bathroom window open and only clean when the kids are clear of the area due to toxic fumes.  In fact, now the kids can HELP with cleaning the bathroom!

Get it at Coborn’s

For this blog I used Veriditas Essential Oils from Coborn’s. Veriditas are Certified Organic and Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils, conveniently sold at your local grocery store. In fact, I purchased all of the items for this blog at Coborn’s. From the Veriditas Essential Oils to the Empty Spray Bottle. You will typically find all of these items in the Natural Foods Department, however some Coborn’s stores have their natural and organic items integrated throughout the grocery store, so just ask an employee if you need some help. The distilled water is by the bottled water and I found the spray bottle by the brooms and other cleaners.

Helpful Hints

Remember to Pin this blog on Pinterest so you can save the recipe for next time.

You can also Click Here and print a label for your bottle. Simply open the file and print on Avery 42395 labels and stick to your bottle, or if you want to be crafty, you can cut around the shape to make it really cute.

In the recipe below it calls for 15 drops orange and 15 drops lemon. I actually use 8 drops of each. It is really your own preference, do what smells best to you.

Also note that depending on the size of your spray bottle, you may be able to double this recipe for twice as much cleaner!

Homemade Bathroom Cleaner Spray
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups Distilled Water
  • 1 T. Super Washing Soda
  • 3 T. Liquid Castile Soap
  • 15 Drops Veriditas Good Samaritan Essential Oil
  • 15 Drops Orange and/or Lemon Essential Oil
  • Empty Spray Bottle
Instructions
  1. Pour distilled water into a large bowl
  2. Add Super Washing Soda.
  3. Quickly stir together to dissolve Super Washing Soda.
  4. Mix in the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Pour mixture into an empty spray bottle.
  6. Shake before each use.

Happy Cleaning!

Lori
Coborn’s, Inc. Senior Administrative Assistant

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Homespun with Lori - www.cobornsblog.com

Packing a Food Safe Lunch for School

Tips for packing a food safe lunch for back to school. www.cobornsblog.com

www.cobornsblog.com - Coborn's Food Safety Coordinator, Kim
Kim

Well, it’s hard to say it’s time to start thinking about “Back to School”.  AND when you ask most children what their favorite thing about school is . . . what do they say??  Recess and LUNCH, right?!

I’m here to share with you some tips on packing a safe lunch.  If you keep in mind The Food Safety “Recipe for Success” you will always be successful in preparing a safe lunch.   So let’s get started!

Clean your lunch box

But, wait  . . . first, we need to find that lunch box! For some kids, it may still be squished in their backpack from the last day of school!  When you find it or if starting with a brand new one – wash it up good with hot soapy water.  Also, make sure you have an insulated lunch box as they are much better at keeping items cold.

Clean all surfaces before meal preparation

As with all meal preparation, start with clean surfaces and clean hands. This is truly a critical step, even more so now because these meals will not be eaten immediately after preparation.  The Temperature Danger Zone, which is 41°F to 140°F, is the temperature range where bacteria like to grow.  Granted, we have our insulated lunch box; however, keeping in mind the time kids leave for school until lunchtime, could be 5-6 hours.  That’s a long time until lunch!  Even an insulated lunch box with freezer packs may not keep the food below 41°F for that entire time, so it is always best to start with clean hands and surfaces to minimize any bacteria that might get onto the food during preparation.

Wash ALL fruits and vegetables

Another “CLEAN” tip that cannot be overlooked is ensuring all fruits and veggies are thoroughly rinsed under running tap water prior to packing for lunch.  This also includes those with rinds and peels that are not eaten.    Bacteria on the surface can contaminate the edible portion when peeling or cutting.

Preparing the night before

I know for me the morning can be quite hectic, so preparing lunch(es) the night before makes for a somewhat less stressful morning.  If preparing the night before, keep lunch items in the refrigerator overnight and pack the next morning.  You can keep the entire lunch box in the refrigerator, but wait to add the frozen gel packs until right before the kids leave for school.  This will help keep the lunch as cold as possible during the long wait until lunch!  I always use a couple of frozen gel packs for good measure.  Frozen juice boxes also work great!  I also like the insulated lunch boxes that have a divider in them.  This allows me to place all of the items together that need to be kept cold with the frozen gel packs and separate from items like crackers, eating utensils or napkins.  No need for the frozen gel packs to keep those items cold!  Remember, the frozen gel packs (and frozen juice boxes) are not meant for all day storage.  Keeping food cold until lunch is the best they can do.

Perishable items must be tossed if not eaten

That being said, all perishable items (items meant to keep cold) that are not eaten at lunch should be thrown away.  Encourage kids to eat those items first.  Items like leftover crackers or a sealed (manufacturer sealed) shelf stable fruit cups can be kept for the next lunch.  Fruit cups purchased cold or prepared at home should be discarded if not eaten at lunch time.

Keep it cold

It is also good to remind your kids to keep their lunch boxes away from any heat sources once they arrive at school.  Do not store by heaters or in direct sunlight.

Using insulated containers

One final tip . . . when using insulated containers for food storage, either cold or hot food, it is best to acclimate the container to the temperature of the food it will be storing.  Depending on the food item, fill the container with either very cold or boiling water and let it sit for a few minutes.  Discard the water then fill with the food item.  This will help in maintaining the temperature of the food item.  Also, sorry, to point out the obvious, but if packing hot food, this will need to take place in the morning.  The insulated container will not keep the food hot overnight.

Enjoy what’s left of the summer!

Kim
Coborn’s, Inc RD and Food Safety Coordinator

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Picnic snacks without the cold packs

Picnic snacks without the cold packs! Great snacks for summer that you don't have to worry about keeping cool. www.cobornsblog.com

www.cobornsblog.com - Coborn's Food Safety Coordinator, Kim
Kim

Ahhh , summertime, a great time to be outdoors…..biking, hiking, going to the park. I know for me, these activities don’t happen without some type of accompaniment and I don’t just mean the music. There always has to be a snack or two! Below I have listed some snack ideas that you can bring with wherever you go to enjoy the summer weather without worrying about bringing a cooler to keep them cold. Also, don’t forget the antibacterial wipes to clean your hands before you snack.

 

 

 

  • Trail Mix – be adventuresome and put together your own trail mix by combining items like:
    • Raisins and other dried fruit
    • Popcorn and dry cereal
    • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole fruits: apples, oranges, bananas, peaches, etc (keep them whole and of course, wash them first!) Two things to keep in mind about fruits, and vegetables for that matter, even if you don’t eat the peel, they must be washed first because bacteria can reside on the surface AND once you cut them up, they now require refrigeration. So keep them whole until you are ready to eat them.
  • Tuna snack packs with crackers. Keep the package of tuna sealed until ready to eat.
  • Jerky
  • And, the ole standby of peanut butter and jelly always works, too!

 

Kim
Coborn’s RD Food Safety Coordinator

Click Here for more articles written by Kim
www.cobornsblog.com - The Ktichen Detetive