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.
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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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