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Kansas Environmental Health Association

Affiliate of the National Environmental Health Association


Retail Food Inspection Videos

Posted by Beth Rowlands on March 19, 2013 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Excerpt from the NEHA E-News March 2013

Environmental Health Video Resources

Environmental health professionals are often asked, “What do you do?” A thoughtful NEHA member has taken the time to search the Web for videos to answer this question and has shared some of those video links with us. We thought these videos would be a valuable tool that you can share with policy makers, community members, colleagues, and even your family and friends. They are also great resources to help orient new employees to what work in this field entails.

• Environmental health professionals inspecting retail food facilities:



• Environmental health professionals inspecting swimming pool facilities:



Lettuce: Buy Bagged or Not?

Posted by Ed Kalas on September 12, 2012 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Lettuce: Buy Bagged or Not?

Experts say recent recalls of pre-cut produce don't make it less safe than purchasing in bulk

FRIDAY, Sept. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Six separate recalls of bagged lettuce since April haven't done much to bolster the public's confidence in pre-cut and pre-washed greens.

So what is one to do when faced with multiple choices in the produce aisle? Should it be bagged lettuce or au naturel?

The short answer is to go with your personal preference, but be sure to wash whatever you choose, whether it's bagged or not.

"I wouldn't make much of a distinction between them in terms of food safety," said Dr. Ken Spaeth, director of the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Center at North Shore University Hospital, in Manhasset, N.Y. "They should both be approached by consumers as generally safe items that require thorough washing before use."

Dr. Philip Tierno, director of clinical microbiology and immunology at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, prefers the bagged lettuce because it generally is pre-washed -- and he washes it again at home.

Most of the recent recalls have been due to contamination with listeria, a type of bacteria ubiquitous in the environment. Listeria not only survives but also thrives in the colder temperatures of a refrigerator.

"It reproduces and increases in colony count," said Tierno, who also is the author of The Secret Life of Germs.

These two factors make it easy for listeria to linger long enough to end up on the products people eat, often transferred onto produce and other foods by humans who, say, aren't in the habit of washing their hands.

Humans carry listeria naturally in their intestines, but not in numbers sufficient to cause problems. If, however, listeria has been prospering in your refrigerator, your head or bag of lettuce may provide enough pathogens to cross a nasty threshold, experts say.

Bagged lettuce -- once it hits the supermarket -- likely has fewer bacteria than loose lettuce, as it usually is triple washed (one cycle with chlorine) and customers, sans gloves, haven't been touching and feeling it.

The triple-washing process usually kills about 90 percent of potential organisms, but that can still leave a lot, said Tierno.

Here are some food safety tips when it comes to raw produce:

•The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends washing your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds both before and after preparing fresh produce.

•Also clean any surfaces you will be using, such as countertops and cutting boards, advised Tierno.

•Then, of course, wash the produce, even adding a bit of lemon or chlorine to more thoroughly sanitize it, he said.

•Never put produce in the kitchen sink. "The sink and drain contain millions of bacteria per square inch," said Tierno.

"Washing is not a guarantee that you'll avoid contamination, but it would certainly reduce the risk," said Spaeth. "On the whole, produce is quite safe. While we want to be responsible in regards to cleaning produce, once we have it in the house there's no basis to be panicky."

SOURCES: Ken Spaeth, M.D., director, occupational and environmental medicine center, department of population health, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y.; Philip Tierno, M.D., Ph.D., director, clinical microbiology and immunology, NYU Langone Medical Center, and professor, microbiology and pathology, NYU School of Medicine, New York City


Copyright (c) 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Antibiotics in Meat May Thwart Efforts to Make Sausage Safe

Posted by Ed Kalas on September 12, 2012 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (0)


Antibiotics in Meat May Thwart Efforts to Make Sausage Safe


Process used to treat livestock appears to make pepperoni, salami susceptible to harmful bacteria

By Robert Preidt

Friday, September 7, 2012

FRIDAY, Sept. 7 (HealthDay News) -- In uncured pepperoni or salami, antibiotic residues in the meat are strong enough to weaken the helpful bacteria that sausage makers add to the product in order to make it safe to eat, a new study finds.

It is common for antibiotics to be used to promote growth or prevent disease in livestock, the researchers explained in a news release from the American Society for Microbiology. These antibiotics can eventually end up in meat.

At the same time, sausage manufacturers commonly place lactic acid-producing bacteria in sausage meat so that the final product is acidic enough to kill harmful bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella that might have been present in the raw meat.

But the antibiotic residues from the livestock can kill these helpful lactic acid-producing bacteria, which then allows the potentially dangerous bacteria to multiply, the investigators found.

The new study, published online Aug. 28 in the journal mBio, found that antibiotic concentrations at levels that meet requirements set by American and European Union regulators can affect the process used to help destroy foodborne pathogens.

"At low concentrations and at regulatory levels set by authorities, we could see that the lactic acid bacteria are more susceptible to the antibiotics than the pathogens [germs] are," Hanne Ingmer, of the University of Copenhagen, said in the news release. "So basically, we can have a situation where residual antibiotics in the meat can prevent or reduce fermentation by the lactic acid bacteria, but these concentrations do not affect survival or even multiplication of pathogens."

This study involved small-scale laboratory experiments, and similar tests need to be conducted in manufacturing facilities, the study authors pointed out.

"The majority of sausages are manufactured at a commercial scale. It has to be addressed whether this is a problem in a real-life facility," Ingmer explained in the news release.

SOURCE: American Society for Microbiology, news release, Aug. 28, 2012




Copyright (c) 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved