National Preparedness Month is a good opportunity to reflect on progress towards ensuring the security of our Nation’s food supply. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers defense of the food and agriculture sector critical– all the way from farm to fork. Some animal or plant diseases could have drastic consequences on our economy – yet another reason it’s important that we continue our efforts to improve food and agricultural emergency preparedness and response.
You probably are familiar with many of the USDA agencies whose animal, plant and or food inspection programs have touched your life at some point whether traveling or simply buying meat or poultry sold in grocery stores.
For example, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) enhance agricultural security through numerous programs. These programs range from inspecting native and foreign agricultural products, to evaluating food system vulnerabilities, to maintaining laboratory networks that can rapidly identify diseases and pests. To illustrate, some of our efforts over the last year include: Read more »
Leanne Skelton, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Food Safety, FDA; Peter Furey, Executive Director, New Jersey Farm Bureau; Mike Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods, Office of Foods, FDA; Dora Hughes, Counselor for Public Health and Science Policy, Department of HHS; Sharon Natanblut, Director of Strategic Communications, Office of Foods, FDA; Ann Wright, Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, USDA; and Ronald Pace, District Director, New York District Office, FDA listen intently to farmer Bob Nolan from Deer Run Farm in Brookhaven, New York.
Recently I visited the Deer Run Farm in Brookhaven, New York on a tour of farms across the nation to talk face-to-face with producers and growers about produce safety. Farmer Bob Nolan from Deer Run Farm invited us to walk through his fields so he could share with us his thoughts and concerns about how the government will shape a new produce safety rule. Read more »
Here in Washington, D.C., and probably where you live too, it is hot! This week’s Check Your Steps blog focuses on a timely food safety step—Chill. You may feel like this guy, but in reality we don’t recommend keeping your food cold with fans, no matter how many you can find.
Bacteria grow rapidly between 40 °F and 140 °F, and when it’s above 90 °F outside, cold food heats to those temperatures much faster. Portable coolers can be your best friend during outdoor summer activities or grocery shopping, but pack them correctly to keep food at 40 °F or below so it doesn’t spoil or make you sick. Read more »
For the past two Tuesdays as part of the Food Safe Families campaign, I’ve blogged about two basic food safety steps that are important but easy to implement in your food prep routine—cook and clean. Today, I’m going to focus on preventing a sneaky food safety hazard that can happen at many points between purchasing and eating food: cross-contamination.
Cross-contamination occurs when juices from uncooked foods come in contact with safely cooked foods, or with other raw foods that don’t need to be cooked, like fruits and vegetables. The juices from some raw foods, like meats and seafood, can contain harmful bacteria that could make you and your family sick. Read more »
Bacteria exist everywhere in our environment, and some of them can make us really sick. Illness-causing bacteria exist in or on food, on countertops, kitchen utensils, hands, pets, and in the dirt where food grows. As part of the Food Safe Families campaign, this week’s Check Your Steps blog focuses on cleaning before, during, and after preparing and eating food to keep your family safer from food poisoning. Read more »
I just came back from Orlando, Florida where I attended a meeting of the Produce Safety Alliance, a joint project by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Cornell University to provide farmers who grow and market fruits and vegetables with training and education about on-farm food safety practices.
At that meeting I talked about how America’s farmers and ranchers are one of our nation’s greatest assets. We rely on them for our food, to preserve our environment and to help strengthen our nation’s economy. I talked about the importance of the USDA and FDA working together to address on- farm food safety practices in a way that grows and strengthens America’s farms and rural communities. Read more »