We’ve all been waiting for it, the warm summer months where we can once again gather outdoors with family and friends to celebrate the season. These celebrations will often involve traveling, picnics and barbecues. Follow some of these tips from the experts at FoodSafety.gov so your celebration doesn’t end with food borne illnesses as a result of not following a few safe food handling instructions.
Learn the basics of safe egg handling for your spring celebration. Follow these food safety tips from The Partnership for Food Safety Education on the use of eggs during your Easter, Passover and spring activities.
Like meat, poultry, seafood and produce, eggs are perishable and need to be handled properly to prevent foodborne illness. Occasionally, eggs with clean, un-cracked shells can be contaminated with bacteria, specifically Salmonella Enteritidis. Here’s what YOU can do to have a safe and egg-cellent spring!
Clean Up, Clean Up…
Clean hands are key! Always wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after food handling.
Beware of cross-contamination. Foodborne illness can occur when kitchen equipment is not thoroughly washed between uses. Always wash food contact surfaces and cooking equipment, including blenders, in hot water and soap.
Cook and Keep Cool…
Bacteria love to grow in moist, protein-rich foods. Refrigeration slows bacterial growth, so it’s important to refrigerate eggs and egg-containing foods. Your refrigerator should be at 40 °F or below. Use a thermometer to monitor.
Remember the 2-Hour Rule: Don’t leave perishables out at room temperature for more than two hours.
Whether you like your breakfast eggs scrambled or fried, always cook eggs until the yolks and whites are firm.
Tasting is tempting, but licking a spoon or tasting raw cookie dough from a mixing bowl can be risky. Bacteria could be lurking in the raw eggs.
Cook cheesecakes, lasagna, baked pasta and egg dishes to an internal temperature of 160 ºF. Use a food thermometer.
Easter Egg Hunt Know-How
Only use eggs that have been refrigerated, and discard eggs that are cracked or dirty.
When cooking, place a single layer of eggs in a saucepan. Add water to at least one inch above the eggs. Cover the pan, bring the water to a boil, and carefully remove the pan from the heat. Let the eggs stand (18 minutes for extra large eggs, 15 minutes for large, 12 minutes for medium). Immediately run cold water over the eggs. When the eggs are cool enough to handle, place them in an uncovered container in the refrigerator where they can air-dry.
When decorating, be sure to use food-grade dyes. It is safe to use commercial egg dyes, liquid food coloring, and fruit-drink powders. When handling eggs, be careful not to crack them. Otherwise, bacteria could enter the egg through the cracks in the shell.
Keep hard-cooked Easter eggs chilled on a shelf inside the refrigerator, not in the refrigerator door.
Hide the eggs in places that are protected from dirt, pets and other potential sources of bacteria.
Remember the two hour rule, and make sure the “found” eggs are back in the refrigerator or consumed within two hours.
Remember that hard-boiled eggs are only safe to eat for one week after cooking.
If you have more questions or concerns about food safety, contact:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854). TTY 1-800-256-7072.
The Partnership for Food Safety Education is a non-profit organization and creator and steward of the Fight BAC!® consumer education program. The Partnership is dedicated to providing the public with science-based, actionable recommendations for the prevention of foodborne illness.
For over 50 years, the AVMF has been dedicated to embracing and advancing the well-being and medical care of animals. The AVMF is the charitable arm of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and a three time, four-star rated charity by Charity Navigator.
Initiatives of the AVMF include: Humane Outreach-Animal Welfare, Education and Public Awareness, Research Support, Student Enhancement, and Support of American Veterinary Medical Association and its Initiatives.
The American Veterinary Medical Foundation is proud to partner with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), Zoetis, and the American Veterinary Medical Association in sponsoring “Animal Connections: Our Journey Together”, a free traveling truck exhibition that introduces visitors of all ages to the complex bond between humans and animals.
Many thoughts come to mind when reflecting on this year’s Super Bowl: a win by the Ravens, a major lighting malfunction, a stellar performance by Beyoncé, and an ad by Chrysler: “So God Made a Farmer.” If you were grabbing another beer and a plate of chili nachos when this 2-minute ad aired, take a look at it here:
The ad is compelling because, unlike a lot of jobs in America, farmers must be willing to work at nature’s beck and call. The work is strenuous—seeds must be planted, crops must be sowed, cows must be milked, eggs must be gathered, livestock must be tended to, and all goods must be safely prepared and taken to market for human consumption.
Right alongside farmers to help care for livestock and ensure that all food animal products—including meat, poultry and eggs—are safe to eat are the nation’s veterinarians. At AVMA, we could go into detail about the many hard-working veterinarians who make farm calls to help farmers care for their livestock, or who work on farms to ensure that food animals do not contract or spread diseases, or who work in production facilities to inspect food products to ensure they are safe to eat before ending up on grocery store shelves, but there would be too many stories to tell.
We would, however, along with 250 national and state farm organizations, like to applaud Chrysler for bringing attention to the many hard-working individuals—farmers and veterinarians alike—in America’s agriculture industry who make it possible for us to reap the benefits of having such a great agricultural system in place. In a letter to Chrysler Group’s Chairman and Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne last week, AVMA and the other organizations, write:
“America’s farmers and ranchers are the most professional and productive in the world. Being the best at what we do benefits us all. No other nation can compete with our ability to produce the highest quality, safest, most abundant and affordable meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, crops, fruits, tree nuts, and vegetables in the world.
We sincerely thank you for recognizing us; we thank you even more for reminding the rest of the country—and a big part of the world—how vital our daily contribution is to their quality of life.”
So, while Chrysler says that “God made a farmer,” we at AVMA would like to add that God also made a veterinarian.
When you go to the grocery store, you expect that the meat, poultry and egg products you are buying are safe to eat. But what will happen if the federal programs that verify the safety of these food products are reduced in the U.S. government’s across-the-board spending cuts, known as sequestration, which could take effect March 1?
A White House memo late last week said that the cuts to the federal government’s food safety inspection programs would be damaging for public health, and could put American families “at risk.”
“The public could suffer more foodborne illness, such as the recent salmonella in peanut butter outbreak and the E. coli illnesses linked to organic spinach, as well as cost the food and agriculture sector millions of dollars in lost production volume,” the memo read.