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.
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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
We all deserve healthy, safe foods, yet many countries lack basic resources to identify, track, and stop the spread of foodborne illnesses.
Once food becomes contaminated, germs and infection can spread rapidly through families or between continents. Acting globally means sharing solutions and resources throughout the world to make food safer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) collaboration with the World Health Organization, called the Global Foodborne Infections Network (GFN) and CDC’s PulseNet International are worldwide organizations that help countries to strengthen their ability to detect and control diseases.
Training + country perspectives = better collaborations to prevent foodborne disease
In 2000, after a WHO survey showed that many countries lacked basic laboratory and public health resources to detect foodborne diseases, WHO, CDC and partners developed the Global Foodborne Infections Network.
This network integrates food, public health, and veterinary expertise to provide training in how to detect infections caused by contaminated food. Today, 1,600 members from national laboratories and other institutes in 180 countries make up this network.
CDC laboratory experts and the Global Disease Detection Center in China are tailoring proven approaches to help the Chinese Ministry of Health, PulseNet China (member of PulseNet International), and other partners find the cause of foodborne disease outbreaks.
This collaboration has helped equip Chinese microbiologists and epidemiologists with laboratory tools and methods for foodborne disease detection. The impact has been clear: more data and better detection of cases and clusters are possible through improved laboratory detection. This essential step makes food safer—whether consumed in China, exported to the United States, or shipped worldwide.
What about consumers?
Foodborne diseases can happen anywhere foods are improperly prepared or mishandled—including homes, restaurants, or street vendors. According to WHO, there is a lack of awareness in developing countries that food can make an individual sick if it is not properly handled, prepared and stored.
Today, there are more food choices than ever before. Consumers face many complex options. What foods do I choose? How do I cook and store foods? They may also lack knowledge about which foods, ingredients, and practices pose the greatest risk for foodborne disease. Consumers need basic knowledge to minimize their risks of foodborne illness and make the best choices.4
Keys to Safer Food
Consumers play a key role in protecting themselves. WHO recommends that consumers should always follow safe food-handling guidelines:
- Keep food clean;
- Separate raw and cooked foods;
- Cook food thoroughly;
- Keep food at safe temperatures; and
- Use safe water and raw materials.5
Learn more about how the World Health Organization is working on behalf of consumers around the world. If you have other food safety questions, please feel free to contact the Food Safety Hotline (1-888-674-6854 toll-free) or online at AskKaren.gov (English or Spanish).
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Ahh, Spring! This week, a new season is getting a nice kick-off with Passover and Easter holidays. These celebrations are filled with traditional meals that have unique food safety considerations that may or may not be included in the family recipe book. The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline has some food safety tips and steps here that, if added to your favorite recipes, can reduce the risk of food poisoning. As with any food preparation, always remember to Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.
Before preparing any meal, wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, and clean surfaces and utensils with hot soapy water before and after handling raw food. Perishable food should not be left out for more than two hours at room temperature, so check the time at your gathering and make sure either to get food back in the refrigerator or to discard it. Refrigerated leftovers for all foods in this blog should be used within four days.
Beef Brisket: One reason that it’s an excellent choice for entertaining is that it can be prepared in advance. In fact, you must prepare it in advance and cook it slowly to make it tender. Also, because it can be cooked ahead of time and it reheats well, brisket is a great cut of meat to serve to large groups. Follow these food safety tips for cooking and serving brisket:
- Be sure to allow plenty of time to thaw a frozen brisket. Thawing in the refrigerator can take about 24 hours for a trimmed, first-cut brisket. A whole brisket weighing about 10 pounds can take several days.
- Keep raw meat refrigerated at 40 ˚F or below until ready to cook. Place the meat on a plate or container to hold the juices that can drip on other foods to prevent cross-contamination.
- Bake the brisket, fat side up in a baking dish, in an oven set no lower than 325 ˚F. The brisket is safe to eat when it reaches an internal temperature of 145 °F and is allowed to rest at that temperature for three minutes. Use a food thermometer to be sure. For personal preferences, consumers may choose to cook the brisket longer for tenderness.
- If reheating brisket before serving, remember to reheat to 165 °F.To serve brisket cold, keep it at 40 °F or below by nesting dishes in beds of ice, or use small servings platters and replace them often.
Ham: There are many kinds of hams on the market, but your family likely is purchasing a fully cooked ham. Here are tips for storing and serving a fully cooked ham:
- When buying a ham, look for the USDA or State Mark of Inspection.
- Refrigerate the ham at 40 ˚F or below immediately after arriving home.
- These hams are best served cold. However, if you want to reheat them, set the oven at 325 ˚F and heat to an internal temperature of 140 °F as measured with a food thermometer. If the ham was repackaged at your butcher shop or grocer, reheat it to 165 °F. Individual slices may also be warmed in a skillet or microwave.
Deviled Eggs: Follow these food safety tips below for making an egg dish such as deviled eggs. Remember, eggs are perishable just like raw meat, poultry, and fish, and could contain pathogens.
- Our virtual food safety expert, Ask Karen, has helpful instructions on how to boil eggs.
- After cooking the eggs, it is a good idea to keep the whites refrigerated while preparing the filling.
- Keep deviled eggs chilled until you are ready to serve. Eggs should not stay at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Use a cooler with ice when transporting to another location.
For additional questions visit Ask Karen, our virtual food safety expert available 24/7, at AskKaren.gov or m.AskKaren.gov via smartphone. The Meat and Poultry Hotline can also be reached at 1-888-MPHotline from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.