3 ways to thaw: Be food safe this Thanksgiving Holiday.
Preparing for Thanksgiving can become hectic. On Tuesday we tried to make your trip to the grocery store a little easier, by explaining the labels you’ll find on turkeys for sale. Now that you have your bird, you’re probably thinking about putting your game face on and getting that meal ready.
In between trying to convince your 21-year-old nephew to sit at the kid’s table (because there’s no room at the adult table) and figuring out how you’ll answer your relatives’ questions about where your current relationship is going, we want to help you prepare your meal. With such thoughts possibly running through your head, proper food safety practices are sometimes treated like pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving: always required but too often ignored and overshadowed. Read more »
-You’re certain you’ve thought of everything to make this year’s Thanksgiving meal a flawless success.
You’ve assigned your quarrelsome family members who passionately root for rival football teams to seats on opposite ends of the dinner table. You’re prepared to cook all of your guests’ favorite holiday dishes, and after years of practice, you finally feel like you’ve perfected the delicate art of carving a turkey. Yes, this year will be different. You won’t have to order a pizza and eat it with lumpy gravy like you did after last year’s cooking disaster! But while you may think you’ve thought of absolutely everything for the perfect Thanksgiving meal, you may have neglected some of the most important steps – those involving food safety. Read more »
Throughout the year, and this month in particular, USDA celebrates 150 years of existence. The legislation that established USDA was signed on May 15, 1862, by President Abraham Lincoln. At that point, food safety wasn’t a major concern for the People’s Department.
The turning point for domestic meat inspection really came in 1905 and 1906, after Upton Sinclair published The Jungle. The details of the book described unsanitary working conditions in a Chicago meatpacking house, putting meat consumers at risk for disease. Read more »
In the United States the slaughter and processing of meat sold in the marketplace must take place at a state or federally-inspected facility. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, or FSIS, is responsible for this important task. While these requirements are important for protecting the public’s health, they can create challenges for farmers, ranchers, and processors looking to do business.
For example, small livestock producers are finding it hard (and at times, cost prohibitive) to transport their livestock the long distances necessary to the closest FSIS-inspected slaughter facility. This is especially troubling to producers at a time when markets for locally grown and specialty products are becoming more and more profitable. FSIS-inspected “mobile slaughter units” provide a feasible option for small red meat and poultry producers wanting to provide safe, wholesome product to local and interstate markets. Read more »
This FSIS map shows the density of small livestock and poultry producers in relation to the locations of Federally- and State-inspected slaughter establishments. USDA uses the map to identify gaps in slaughter availability.
Meat and poultry products are important commodities within many local and regional food systems. The production of these products for local and regional markets is of course dependent on the availability of facilities that slaughter and process livestock and poultry. Media stories have recently documented the difficulties many small farmers and ranchers often face when searching for facilities to slaughter their animals for local markets; lack of a nearby slaughter facility or lengthy wait times for services are frequently cited problems. Read more »
In Washington, DC today, Farm and Foreign Agricultural Deputy Under Secretary Darci Vetter accepted an American flag that flew above the U. S. Regional Embassy Office at Al Hillah, Iraq in recognition of USDA employees’ contributions on Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Iraq. Read more »