Grocery Shopping Strategies for Safe Shopping

Woman grocery shoppingProtecting yourself and those that share your  household  from food-borne illness begins with careful grocery shopping.  The U.S. government urges consumers to take these precautions:

• Shop only in stores that look and smell clean.

• Shop for items that are not refrigerated or frozen first.  Put perishables and frozen foods into your cart last. 

Spring Celebrations: What’s on Your Menu?

matzoUSDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline gets extra busy this time of year with brisket, baked ham, and egg questions. Here are some Spring food safety tips based on questions our Hotline Food Safety Specialists have received from callers.

 

How long can I keep a ham in the refrigerator before cooking it? 

 

To answer your question, we need to know what type of ham you’re buying and how it’s packaged. What does the label advise? The label is the best guide for determining storage time. It gives the product name, whether it’s smoked or cured, and whether you must refrigerate it. While USDA doesn’t require manufacturers to list the freshness date on products, many do. Look for the instructions on the label that tell you how long you can keep the product. For example: “Best if used by April 15.”

Are Eggs Dyed for Easter Safe to Eat?

Dyed Easter EggsYes, if the answers to all the following questions are “Yes.”

 

Is the dye safe to ingest?  Check the package.  Most dyes in children’s kits are vegetable dyes and are safe.  However, some kits are meant to be used on blown-out eggs, and the decorative materials (such as sprinkles) aren’t intended for consumption. If you use food coloring, of course, that’s also edible. If the dye is edible, it’s okay to eat the eggs even if, when peeled, you note that  some color has leaked unto the egg white.

Alcoholic Beverages: What You Should Know

Be honest now.  When alcoholic beverages are involved, what type of drinker are you--a teetotaler, a moderate drinker, a heavy drinker, or (I hope not) an excessive drinker? Let's see what research can tell us about the various categories.

Enjoy St. Patrick’s Day Without Cabbage Stink

CabbageWhat’s the best way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? With corned beef, cabbage, and beer, of course.  BUT, you reply, the smell of cooked cabbage can ruin the holiday for all.  Cheer up.  That tell-tale scent can be avoided.  Here’s a little-known fact that may help you a lot:  cabbage develops an unpleasant smell only when it’s overcooked.  Why?  Cabbage contains substances that, when broken down, turn into smelly sulfur compounds.  The longer the cabbage is cooked, the worse the odor.

Chocolate Is Even More Healthful Than You Thought

chocolate Thinking of giving--or sharing with--your sweetheart something sweet for Valentine' Day, for example a box of chocolates?  Well, why not?  Chocolate is not only delicious but, for an ever-increasing number of reasons, is actually healthful (in modest amounts).

There are many good reasons for eating chocolate regularly—from boosting your mood to contributing to your good health.  Moreover, Shelf Life Advice told you about a study proclaiming that chocolate may even help you stay thin!  To see that article, click here http://shelflifeadvice.com/content/latest-good-news-about-chocolate. To learn about many other benefits of eating chocolate, just keep reading.

Why I Shouldn't Cook Dinner

[Editor's note: Brutal winter weather has caused many of us to postpone supermarket trips and try to creatively make do with what's already in the kitchen. Hence, you may empathize with my daughter's culinary challenges. I think you'll also find her determination to produce dinner both admirable and humorous.]

Food Trends For 2019

If you enjoy trying food you've never had before, you'll love 2019. Are you ready for lab-made meat, cooking oils containing hemp, desserts made with hummus,or beverages made with oat milk?  There's a lot more that's novel to Americans (cheese tea, anyone, or taffy-like ice cream?) including items and food trends that have been around for awhile but are  expected to attract even more fans this year.

I Left It Out Too Long! Can I Still Eat It?

cantaloupeFunny thing, but almost every question we get from our site members is a variation of the same question.  Optimists phrase it positively: “Can I still eat it?”  Pessimists ask, “Do I have to throw it out?”  In either case, it’s a query about food that has been kept too long in the “danger zone” (40°F-140°F), in other words, a perishable food that hasn’t been kept hot enough or cold enough to prevent bacterial growth. No one wants to discard food that cost a lot and/or took a long time to prepare.  So we did some research and asked two food scientists on the Shelf Life Advice Advisory Board to provide specific and general answers to “Is it really spoiled?” questions.

Winter Food Storage—Can I leave It in the Car or in the Garage?

Food in CarSummer heat is riskier than winter chill in terms of food contamination, but  winter presents its own challenges for food spoilage or pathogen growth.  Let’s consider some typical winter situations involving food storage.

 
 

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