Just as we have been told by the produce producers that food safety issues from the past have been controlled, another outbreak is occurring across the country. This time the suspected culprit is romaine lettuce and E.coli 0157:H7 bacteria. This strain of E. coli 0157:H7 is particularly dangerous due to its association in some cases to a condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) which can be fatal or cause lifelong health problems. It is best to avoid romaine entirely at home and in restaurants since it is difficult to identify the source of this lettuce (presently thought to have been grown in Arizona)
Recently, California has declared coffee to be a cancer causer. If you are concerned, you need to read this appraisal. It presents some facts about the “scare” and offers some common sense advice.
Little attention is paid to food safety and its potential long-term effects on life-long health. E.coli contamination from consuming under cooked hamburger has become less common due to more awareness, but still presents a threat of long-term complications that can result in chronic kidney damage.
Based on two articles that looked at multiple studies, fish oil supplements do not appear to have any previously claimed benefit in the prevention of heart disease. However, omega-3 fats have other benefits so if you choose to take supplements, they have no known side effects. One precaution: it is not advised that you take fish oil supplements with other blood thinners like aspirin that may interfere with normal blood clotting. Check with your doctor.
Choose salmon, tuna, trout or sardines for the most omega 3 content. Once again, supplements do not offer the healthy benefits of eating whole foods. Save your money and spend it on the fish.
For a previous study CLICK HERE.
Pesticide residues may not be that important for everyone; however, women who are trying to become pregnant may want to be careful when choosing fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, some recent reports have found that pesticides may also adversely affect the brains of growing fetuses and young children.
You may want to choose organic versions of some of the most contaminated. Organic produce may still contain some pesticide residues but would certainly be better choices under these circumstances. In these cases, you may want to consult the list of the “dirty dozen” put out by the Environmental Working Group.
I wish everyone a Happy Thankful Thanksgiving to enjoy the wonderful food we all know and have loved for decades. However, the holiday can be so much better when we know the foods we are eating are as safe as possible. As a microbiology person, I can’t help but remind everyone to follow some simple rules for not only a Happy Holiday but also be aware of food safety from purchase to leftovers. Providing a Thanksgiving dinner for family or friends can be hectic and it is easy to make mistakes, for example, forgetting about cross-contamination of foods in the kitchen. And with more helpers and distractions in the kitchen, the risks can become even unintentionally more common. Nevertheless, if you practice common sense food safety rules from purchase to leftovers, you will have a very, very Happy Holiday.
Bon appétit and enjoy.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the FDA and the USDA share the responsibility for limiting exposure to pesticides in the food supply. The EPA sets tolerances while the FDA and USDA monitor pesticide residues in both domestic and imported foods. In general, the amounts of pesticides we are exposed to through foods are very small. The USDA’ s Pesticide Data Program has found no more than 1% of samples with residues above established EPA tolerances. Since the dose matters, repeated consumption of any one pesticide could be harmful; this is unlikely since most people consume a variety of foods produced using many different pesticides. Newer pesticides are less toxic and more effective in smaller doses than many of the older ones. New methods of controlling pests involve the use more natural occurring substances like microorganisms that control pests. Smoler and Grosvenor, Nutrition: Science and Applications, Third Edition.