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Food recalls

Are there more food recalls lately or does it only seem so? Take a Minute with me for some relevant facts.

Our extremely safe food supply is governed by the inspection arm of the US Department of Agriculture (meat, poultry, some egg products) and the Food and Drug Administration (pretty much everything else we eat).

Additionally, we are served by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Equally important, food manufacturers do their own routine inspections which they take seriously as reputations can be lost one recall.

Food recalls fall into one of three categories:

  • pathogenic (organism which can cause disease)
  • physical contamination (metal from machinery)
  • misbranding (errors in labeling)

While we may rightfully fear pathogens in our food, presence of an undeclared allergen can be life threatening too.

The actual number of recalls for both the USDA and FDA declined comparing 2017 to 2018 figures. But, communication systems have gotten better, or more widespread so most of us think recalls are on the rise.

While food that has been processed more has the greater potential for the introduction of contaminants, my personal opinion is that our food handling habits from grocery/market to table isn’t emphasized enough.

When hot summer weather hits, I think about foods that sit a long time in the car, kitchen counter, or picnic table. Temperatures matter! Consider a thermal bag for your car.

A USDA study found 97 percent of us failed to wash our hands properly before handling food! Basic, I know, but we’re not doing it – 20 seconds says the CDC.

Cross contamination is the other major issue. Does the cooked meat from the grill go on the same plate that held raw meat? Were the same tongs or spatulas used for cooked and raw meats?

Any time of year, but especially now, use safe food handling practices to be well.

Marcia

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