Killer Turtles

If you’ve already taken a peek at my About Me page, you might have noticed I’m an animal lover. There’s a picture of one of my many fur-kids hanging out there, looking adorable. I also have feathered and finny friends keeping her company. I do lots of animal rescue and even foster some cuties until they find permanent homes; it’s kinda one of my hobbies.

  Boss – foster guinea pig

So I understand when some extremely charming little face worms its way into your heart and you just CAN’T say no. However….fun-killer that I am….did you know that precious little baby could make you sick? Just because of how teeny tiny it is? Or just because it naturally carries bacteria that causes illness in humans. It’s true, my friends. Read on. Continue reading

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Rockin’ Safe Students!

Can you believe it’s back to school already? Where did summer go?! If you read my previous posts, you know that summer is my FAVORITE time of year. It’s still technically summer, but my kids are now wearing their backpacks, hauling instruments off to school each day, packing lunches and I barely see them most days!

Being my kids, of course, those insulated lunch bags are full of ice packs and hand wipes.
But for college kids – I have one of those too – back to school is an important time to teach your kids some lessons they probably won’t learn in the classroom. Believe it or not, foodborne illness is fairly common on college campuses. But it doesn’t have to be!

In 2016, over 200 college students were sickened after eating at a cafeteria and snack bar on a college campus in Pennsylvania. Their symptoms included vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, and many of them went to the hospital. The culprit was confirmed as being Norovirus, a common disease which can be passed through food, or through person to person contact.  http://foodsleuthonline.com/disease-facts/norovirus/      The school ended up closing for two days in order to halt the progression of the illness. Continue reading

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Hip Hooray for Summer!

YAY it’s Summer!!!

My favorite time of the year has arrived! I endure the harsh winter months, pining through the blustery, rainy days of spring, hardly able to believe it when the hot summer sun finally breaks up those wispy clouds and announces, break out the sunscreen! I think I was meant to live in the tropics.

As much as we love the long, languid bliss of hot days in the sun, it’s smart to remember that bacteria love the heat just as much as we do. Unfortunately, they do NOT take vacations. In fact, bacteria reproduce quickly in warmer temperatures, and in the summer we often have get-togethers in situations where refrigeration is not available. It’s important to take precautions with our food so we don’t spend our precious vacation days regretting a careless mistake with food safety!

In fact, there are so many different scenarios where folks spend time out of doors, and there are so many different topics I can cover on this subject, that I’m going to be breaking this down into different categories so you can go right to the topic that most interests you. Camping? Check. Backyard barbeque? Check. Picnics and family reunions? Check. You get the idea. Read on for great tips and important food safety know-how!

For important info on how to avoid picnic peril, click here: http://foodsleuthonline.com/summer-safety/food-safety-is-a-picnic/

If you want to minimize the chances of BBQ blues, beat a path to: http://foodsleuthonline.com/summer-safety/bbq-blues/

To be the most careful camping cook in the park, check this out: http://foodsleuthonline.com/summer-safety/happy-campers/

And finally – a word about safety at fairs: http://foodsleuthonline.com/summer-safety/fair-game-for-food-safety/

Beach babies, unite! And don’t forget your bug spray either – mosquitos not invited

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A Miniature World

We know that some bacteria can make us sick. Some of them are also good guys – our bodies are populated by millions and millions of them in fact. They help our systems to function and protect us from diseases. We can’t live without beneficial bacteria – what’s called our microbiome.

But sometimes, we come into contact with the bad guys, the ones who cause illness or disease. How can you protect yourself and your loved ones from a bad experience with harmful bacteria? To do so it’s important to understand how bacteria live, grow and reproduce. Yeah, a little science lesson! Continue reading

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Food Safety Myths – Debunked!

And now I’m going to shock you with my Food Safety Myths – revealed! All the things your mom (or grandma) told you never to do with your food – disproved! You will be amazed to learn that all these years, you’ve been doing it wrong. What’s truly amazing is that you lived this long to read about it! But for real now – read up, and go do right with your food.

FOOD SAFETY MYTHS

#1 The 5 Second Rule: It’s Not Real

The 5 second rule holds that if you drop a piece of food, as long as you pick it up before 5 seconds have elapsed, the food hasn’t had time to become contaminated. In fact, a scientific study was done (of course it was!) to determine if this was a real thing.

The study found that yes, bacteria and icky things do stick themselves to the food as soon as it touches the floor. The stickier or wetter the food is, the more germs will attach to the food. If the food is really dry, not as much. If you are a pretty healthy person, your system can probably handle a few of these bacteria. Otherwise, it might be better to just toss the food.

#2  Once You’ve Thawed Food, You Should Never Refreeze It!

It kinda depends on the circumstances. If you have thawed your food only in the refrigerator, and the food has stayed at or below 40 degrees for no more than a couple of hours, then it’s ok to go ahead and refreeze it if you decide you’re not going to use it. If you look at the food and it’s still icy, it should be fine to put back in the freezer. Keep in mind, the food quality is going to suffer – that means it will not taste as good. Once it’s been refrozen, it might be mushy, or have a freezer flavor. But it should be safe to eat if you stick by these rules. Continue reading

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Begin at the Beginning

So, let’s begin at the beginning: cleanliness. It’s next to safeliness. Or something like that. What I mean is, you can be as careful as you want with your food – keep it refrigerated, keep it covered, but if you’re working in a dirty cooking environment, you’re gonna have problems.

Germs are everywhere. They exist in the air, in the soil, in people and animals, and they hang out on surfaces. A few will not hurt us, and some are even beneficial (see http://foodsleuthonline.com/blogwe-all-eat/help-im-a-germaphobe/)   But we want our cooking area to be as clean as possible. Continue reading

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