The Critical FDA Food Code item #6 associated with an increased risk of food borne illness is eating, tasting, drinking or using tobacco in a non-designated area.
After obtaining several million health department inspections, reviewing tens of thousands of health department reports, sifting through hundreds of health department websites, and analyzing dozens of scoring schema, we offer some conclusions.
For restaurant health department inspections to really be useful, we need consistency.
Food Code definitions become the first problem to address in universality.
In the 1990s the FDA created a Food Code.
“The Food Code consists of model requirements for safeguarding public health and ensuring food is unadulterated and honestly presented when offered to the consumer. This model is offered for adoption by local, state, and federal governmental jurisdictions…”
Raw Ground Meats
When we first moved to Wisconsin we were offered “Steak Tartare” at a holiday gathering. “Steak Tartare”, “Cannibal” or “Tiger Meat Sandwiches” are usually raw ground beef topped with condiments and onions over bread or crackers. What we didn’t know was that this can be a risky food. It is so risky that the Wisconsin Health Department recently strongly advised against the practice.
It’s Valentine’s Day and Americans are obsessed with giving sweets to their sweeties.
In fact, the United States is the world’s largest consumer of sweets. We need starch, which is complex sugar, and simple sugars to live. Sugar (glucose) is brain food but, unfortunately, sweets are in far too many foods. A single can of sugar-sweetened soda has about 10 teaspoons of free sugars. 1 tablespoon of ketchup is about one third free sugars and now sweets and/or sugars account for upwards of 30% of our dietary calorie intake.
Nutritionists and health enthusiasts alike admonish us to drink lots of fluids especially water. While I agree, water is the “life blood” of our bodies, too much, and contamination risks require us to take a cautious look.
You can drink too much water and then it becomes a poison.
Water intoxication or water poisoning, is potentially fatal when the balance of body electrolytes fall outside safe limits by too much fluid.
Moms and nutritionists agree, “eat your fruits and vegetables”. While I share that admonition, I offer a caution – wash them first!
The second deadliest bacterial food borne outbreak in the last 40 years killed thirty people and sickened 146. In 2011, the contaminated cantaloupe outbreak reached across 28 states. FDA officials ultimately found Listeria on dirty equipment previously used in potato farming. Contaminated water was found on the floor of the packing plant while the employees moving around the plant spread it. It is suspected that a “dump truck used to take culled melons to a cattle farm could have brought bacteria to the facility”. Furthermore, bacteria growth may have been caused by the lack of a cooling step before refrigeration.
I love my morning orange juice. It is tasty. It is refreshing. I believe it is healthy.
American society is embracing juices by “juicing” nearly everything as evidenced by the rainbow colors of juices we see in grocery stores, food stands and specialty cafe’s. But there is a trend for consumers to drink commercial non-pasteurized juices and that carries an increasing risk of food borne illness.