You’re out on the boat at last, and looking forward to catchin’ some rays and maybe even some fish. The last thing you need is food poisoning.
But like a lot of boaters, you could be taking chances. Too much sun on a hot day can make perishable food dangerous.
Perishable food and your “catch” must be handled with care. Mishandled food can become contaminated with bacteria and cause food poisoning.
- Perishables, like lunch meats, cooked chicken and potato or pasta salads, should be kept cold in a cooler with ice.
- Pack your cooler with several inches of ice or use frozen gel packs.
- Store food in water-tight containers to prevent contact with melting ice.
- Keep the cooler out of the sun, covered, if possible, for further insulation.
- Not all foods need refrigeration. Good non-perishables for boat trips are fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, trail mix, canned meat spreads and yes, peanut butter and jelly. Once canned meats have been opened, keep them in the cooler.
- If you don’t have a cooler try freezing sandwiches for your trip. Use coarse-textured bread that will resist getting soggy when thawed and take mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato with you to add when you’re ready to eat.
- If you bring a cooler, keep it closed as much as possible and store drinks in a second cooler.
Put perishables back on ice as soon as possible after eating. Don’t let food sit out while you fish or swim. Food sitting out of refrigeration for more than 2 hours is not safe to eat. At 90 degrees or above, food should not sit out over 1 hour. At high temperatures food spoils quickly. If you have any doubts, throw it out!
If you’re planning to fish, check with your fish and game agency or state health department to see where you can fish safely, then follow these guidelines.
- Scale, gut, and clean fish as soon as they're caught.
- Live fish can be kept on stringers or in live wells, as long as they have enough water and enough room to move and breathe.
- Wrap fish, both whole and cleaned, in water-tight plastic and store on ice.
- Keep 3 to 4 inches of ice on the bottom of the cooler. Alternate layers of fish and ice.
- Store the cooler out of the sun and cover with a blanket.
- Once home, eat fresh fish within 1 to 2 days or freeze them. For top quality, use frozen fish within 3 to 6 months.
- Crabs, lobsters, and other shellfish must be kept alive until cooked.
- Store in live wells or out of water in a bushel or laundry basket under wet burlap or seaweed.
- Live oysters should be cooked within 7 to 10 days.
- Live mussels and clams should be cooked within 4 to 5 days.
- Eating raw shellfish is extremely dangerous. People with liver disorders or weakened immune systems are especially at risk.
For more seafood safety information including a video, visit us at FoodSafety.gov.
Mother’s Day got here faster than you expected and you’re short on time, but you still want to make a special meal for mom. Have you thought about using your microwave? It’s fast, safe and easy.
Microwave ovens can play an important role at mealtime, but special care must be taken when cooking or reheating meat, poultry, fish, and eggs to make sure they are prepared safely. They can cook unevenly and leave "cold spots," where harmful bacteria can survive. For this reason, it is important to be aware of how to use a microwave oven safely to prevent food poisoning, whether you are cooking from scratch or using a frozen convenience meal.
Frozen or Convenience Foods
If you’re using a convenience product, it is important to read and follow the cooking instructions on the package so you’ll know whether you should cook the product in a microwave oven or a conventional oven. You may end up with an undercooked meal and experience food poisoning if you don’t!
Check out our useful tips to help you "Cook It Safe!" when preparing convenience foods.
Cooking From Scratch
If you’re cooking from scratch in a microwave oven, here are a few important food safety tips:
- First of all, don’t forget to check your steps to food safety!
- Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often
- Separate: Don’t cross-contaminate
- Cook : Cook to the right temperature
- Chill: Refrigerate promptly
- Only use cookware that is specially manufactured for use in the microwave oven. Glass, ceramic containers, and all plastics should be labeled for microwave oven use.
- Arrange food items evenly in a covered dish and add some liquid if needed. Cover the dish with a lid or plastic wrap; loosen or vent the lid or wrap to let steam escape.
- Stir or rotate food midway through the microwaving time to eliminate cold spots where harmful bacteria can survive, and for more even cooking.
- Use a food thermometer or the oven's temperature probe to verify the food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature. Cooking times may vary because ovens vary in power and efficiency. Always allow standing time, which completes the cooking, before checking the internal temperature with a food thermometer.
- Cook foods to the following safe minimum internal temperatures .
Cross posted from the FDA Voices Blog
Holidays and chocolate seem to go together. For birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day and many other holidays -- chocolate is everywhere. But, there is someplace chocolate should never be, and that’s in your dog. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and can kill them. And since a lot of the chocolate treats might be the kids’, make sure to pass along the message to them to never give chocolate to Rover.
Here’s why chocolate is so dangerous for dogs:
Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound in the same family as caffeine. In certain quantities, theobromine is toxic to dogs. In general, the minimum toxic theobromine dose in dogs ranges from 46 to 68 milligrams/pound (mg/lb). Half the dogs that consume 114 to 228 mg/lb or greater of theobromine will die. Lots of things can play a role in whether your dog will have a toxic reaction including the amount of chocolate your dog ate, your dog’s size, and whether your dog happens to be extra-sensitive to theobromine. One of the most important things in chocolate toxicity is the kind of chocolate your dog ate. For instance:
- Milk chocolate contains 44 mg of theobromine per oz. (704 mg theobromine/lb milk chocolate)
- Semisweet chocolate chips contain 150mg/oz. (2400 mg theobromine/lb semisweet chocolate)
- Baking chocolate contains 390mg/oz. (6240 mg theobromine/lb baking chocolate)
So, if we do the math, Rover is eyeing the ears and tail from a leftover chocolate bunny. How much would he have to eat to get a 46 mg/lb dose of theobromine? Depending on the type of chocolate, he’d have to eat:
- 1 ounce per 1 pound of his body weight of milk chocolate bunny
- 1 ounce per 3 pounds of his body weight of semisweet chocolate bunny, or
- 1 ounce per 9 pounds of his body weight of baking chocolate bunny.
And, if Rover eats enough chocolate, he might show signs of chocolate toxicity:
Theobromine toxicity can cause a variety of signs ranging from mild to severe. These signs can include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heart rate, restlessness, hyperactivity, urinating more, muscle spasms and seizures.
If you think your dog has eaten chocolate call your veterinarian immediately! Only your veterinarian can determine the proper treatment for your pet.
Please continue the discussion on our Facebook page .
Bernadette Dunham, DVM, PhD, is Director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine
Carmen Stamper, DVM, is on the Communication Staff of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine