Food Safety Myths Exposed!
Do you spend more time worrying about the safety of your food than you do enjoying the deliciousness of, say, a perfectly pink piece of pork loin, a (gasp!) unwashed chicken breast, or a macaroni salad awash in a sea of mayonnaise? Relax and dig in. It’s food-myth-bustin’ time.
USA Today reports some of the most frequently worried-about food scares and food-borne illness are simply myths. Phew. So, check out this expert advice and picnic, grill, and cook your family dinner in peace. Just be sure to wash your hands with soap while you do it, please.
Mayonnaise: Despite its reputation, mayo, in reality, has “penicillin-like properties,” Don Zink, the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s senior science adviser, tells the newspaper. He adds that the salt and vinegar (or lemon juice) added to mayo’s mix of oil, water, and egg white actually form wee water droplets that are “deadly to microbes.” Don’t set it out for eons, but definitely don’t fret about it going bad during your picnic or party.
Pink pork: According to USA Today, new guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture say pork need only reach 145 degrees internally, so bring on a pinkish center. The newspaper adds that trichinosis, a parasitic disease from raw or undercooked pork or wild game, is no longer found in commercial pigs.
Judging food by its smell: “You could have loads of E. coli or salmonella or listeria in a food and it would not appear to be spoiled or have any off-odor or flavor,” Zink tells USA Today.
Washing produce: Buy your salad in a bag? The greens already have been sanitized, so no need to wash them again before they hit the bowl, the newspaper reports. And, if you think giving them an extra rinse couldn’t hurt, listen to Zink. “You are not going to rinse them off, it simply won’t happen, they cannot be washed off,” he tells the newspaper.
Washing meat: Jump back! Elisabeth Hagen, the Department of Agriculture’s undersecretary for food safety, tells USA Today it’s dangerous to rinse your store-bought meat. “Rinsing meat or poultry with water can actually increase your chance of food poisoning by splashing raw juices and any bacteria they might contain onto your sink and counters,” she tells the newspaper.
Hand-washing: Sorry, folks, but running a little water over your hands won’t get them clean. Use soap and scrub for a minimum of 20 seconds. Seriously—you can spare 20 seconds. Saying you don’t have time for that? Now, that’s what we call a myth.
Give more thought to food safety and less to grocery shopping. Check out our handy Shopping List app to make your trip to the grocery store a breeze.