I have been spending more time in Sue’s Kitchen, literally

I am on a secret project for a client and it involves me doing some food experimentation.  I can’t say much since it is hush hush, however, it is fun to play around again with spices, seasoning and different flavor combinations.

I could use your help though.  What have been your favorite foods when grabbing dinner on the road or cooking at home?  Is spicy your new thing? Are you enjoying the new dinner entrees that include a fruit component? How about nutrition – is that on the top of your list?  I just really want to know what is important to you!


Did Sandy knock out your power?


Did you know that Sliced Tomatoes need refrigeration?

There is a lot of information out there on how to avoid foodborne illness during a power outage. Many people and businesses up and down the east coast are without power today thanks to Sandy. I have read quite a few blogs, twitter and Facebook posts that suggest things like, your food is okay for 12 hours if the door is not opened or it is okay if you cook it first.  Both not always true.

It all comes down to time and temperature.  Bacteria need time to grow and when the temperatures are more favorable they grow faster.  Bacteria that comes from humans, like Staphylococcal Gastroenteritis (30-50% of healthy humans have Staph in their nose) and Norovirus could have been transferred to the food by a family member.

Here are the rules and they are rather simple.  If you have a potentially  hazardous food, often called TCS food it should not be eaten if it has been held above 41 ° for more than 4 hours.   Most potentially hazardous or TCS foods are ones that you commonly think of as perishables.  However, a few may surprise you.  A full list of potentially hazardous foods can be found on our website here.

If you power comes on and you are not home to check the temperature of the food at its worse then assume the worse and throw it out!

Stay safe and if you have specific questions please feel free to ask here or on Facebook


Food Safety Tip: Short Finger Nails

Image courtesy of ponsulak / freedigitalphotos.net

Food Safety Tip:

Keep nails trimmed short, do not wear nail polish and NEVER wear fake nails. All employees that handle food need to have good personal hygiene and it all starts with good nail care. A food handler can not properly clean under the nails if they can not see what is there. In addition finding a physical contaminate, like a fake nail, in your food not only bad for your bottom line imagine if someone chokes on it.

Bottom Line: If you are an employee keep your nails short and trimmed. Employers – require your employee comply with the law.

Kroger to stop selling Sprouts. Dangers cited.

Kroger Co announced in a press release dated October 19th that they will stop selling raw sprouts on October 22, 2012.  I have talked about the risk of sprouts when teaching  ServSafe® Food Manager courses.  Sprouts have a long history of recalls and illness.  In a USA today  article by Elizabeth Weise the following list of recent large recalls were noted:

-April 2012. Clover sprouts linked to infection with an E. coli variant in 29 people infected in 11 states.
-June 2011. Alfalfa sprouts contaminated with salmonella enteritidis sickened 21 people in five states, three of whom required hospitalization.
-May-June 2011. Fenugreek sprouts sickened more than 4,300 people and killed 50 in Europe, the United States and Canada.
-April-July 2011. Alfalfa sprouts and spicy sprout mix were linked to salmonella enteritidis that affected 25 people in five states.
-Nov. 2010-Feb. 2011. “Tiny greens” alfalfa sprouts and “spicy sprouts” sickened 140 people with salmonella in 26 states; 24% are hospitalized.

Of course we can not forget  the largest outbreak linked to sprouts.  Go back to 1996 in Japan, when 6,000 people got sick and 17 died Image courtesy of nokhoog_buchachon / freedigitalphotos.netafter eating radish sprouts contaminated with E. coli.

Why are sprouts so dangerous? 

It comes down to how they are grown.  In a warm, moist environment.  The same environment that is perfect for the growth of bacteria.  Salmonella and E. coli are the two most common bacteria related to outbreaks.

How can the bacterial growth on sprouts be prevented?

Good question. The simple answer is nothing is working.  Chemical treatment is still ineffective and many sprout proponents do not like the idea of treating sprout seeds and beans with chlorine.  Heat is another method for reducing bacteria.  However, that would terminate the germination process.

Wal-Mart removed sprouts from shelves in 2010 and I believe that more companies will continue to follow suit.

More technical information for retailers and growers can be found on the FDA website.

Krogers Press release can be found here

Dole American Blend Salad Recall

Dole Lettuce Recall

On October 17, 2012, Dole Fresh Vegetables voluntarily recalled a limited number of cases of Dole American Blend salad in 12 oz. bags, coded A275208A or B, with Use-by date of October 17 and UPC 7143000933, due to a possible health risk from Listeria monocytogenes. Dole Fresh Vegetables is coordinating closely with regulatory officials. No illnesses have been reported in association with the recall.



Recall on Herring Fillets

Herring RecallA voluntary recall was issued on October 10, 2012 by Four Seasons Dairy Inc, 255 58th St, Brooklyn, NY 11220.  The product being recalled is Herring Fillets “Atlantic Recipe” in oil in 16.66 ounces/500g because it may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The product comes in a 16.66 oz/500g clean plastic tub with an expiration date of 12/11/12 stamped on the bottom. The recalled herring fillets were distributed nationwide and are a product of the Ukraine. No illnesses have been reported to date.

Thai pepper recall

Crushed Thai Red Pepper Su-Nun BrandOctober 12, 2012 – S & P Company, Limited of Paramount, CA is recalling 150 cases/1,800 jars of Su-nun Crush Roasted Thai Red Pepper, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

The Su-nun Brand Red Pepper was distributed in the Los Angeles Area Grocery stores (between July of 2012 to October 2012) including Bell and Long Beach, Rockford, IL, Phoenix, AZ, Omaha, NE and Brooklyn, NY.

The Su-nun Brand Red Pepper ‘Super Hot’ 10.58 oz. is in Flake form packaged in a clear plastic jar with a red plastic screw-on lid. There is a clear plastic heat shrink and red and yellow label. Bar code 659613000770.

Read more about Salmonella here.

Contaminated Pet Food is a risk for Humans as well

On October 13th a voluntary recall was announced by  Nature’s Recipe brand  recalling a limited supply of Nature’s Recipe® Oven Baked Biscuits with Real Chicken, manufactured in one of its U.S. production facilities. The risk is Salmonella.

Many people do not realize that if they touch the contaminated biscuits and do not proper wash hands they are at risk of the contracting the bacteria as well.  Always wash hands after handling pet food or treats.  Don’t forget about making sure our little helpers are washing hands as well. Children 0-4 are more likely to have medical complications from coming in contact with Salmonella Bacteria.

The specific items recalled are:

Lot Code:

UPC Code:


Product Name/Description:

Best If Used By Date:


30521 51549


Nature’s Recipe Oven Baked Biscuits with Real Chicken

10 11 13


30521 51549


Nature’s Recipe Oven Baked Biscuits with Real Chicken

10 12 13

Recall – Fresh Express Romaine Lettuce


October 11, 2012 Charlotte, North Carolina – Fresh Express Incorporated issued a voluntary recall for the following lettuce:

Fresh Express Precautionary Salad Recall- 10/11/12 (No other Fresh Express Salads are included in this recall)

Best If Used
By Date
Fresh Express Hearts of Romaine 18 oz. 071279-262017 S270A24 OCT 11 AZ, AR, CA, CO, HI, ID, KS, LA, MN, MT, NV, NM, ND, OK, OR, TX, UT, WA, WI, WY

Recalled lettuce from Fresh Express

The reason for the recall is the specific risk of Salmonella which was found on a sample taken.  All product has been removed from shelves however, consumers may have product still in refrigerators at home.

Kellogg’s recalls Frosted Mini Wheats for Potential Physical Contamination

Physical Contamination refers to something that is in the food that does not belong and in this case Kellogg’s has issued a voluntary recall due to the possible presence of fragments of flexible metal mesh from a faulty manufacturing part.

Recalled products include only Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size Original and Mini-Wheats Unfrosted Bite Size with the letters KB, AP or FK before or after the Best If Used Before date. Products impacted are:

Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size Original cereal

  • UPC 3800031829 – 18-ounce carton with Better if Used Before Dates between APR 01 2013 KB – SEP 21 2013 KB
  • UPC 3800073444 – 18-ounce carton with Better if Used Before Dates between APR 01 2013 KB – SEP 21 2013 KB
  • UPC 3800031834 – 24-ounce carton with Better if Used Before Dates between APR 01 2013 KB – SEP 21 2013 KB
  • UPC 3800046954 – 30-ounce carton with Better if Used Before Dates between APR 01 2013 KB – SEP 21 2013 KB
  • UPC 3800031921 – 70-ounce club store carton with Better if Used Before Dates APR 01 2013 KB – JUL 29 2013 KB
  • UPC 3800004961 – single-serve bowl with Better if Used Before Dates between 04013 KB – 09213 KB
  • UPC 3800021993 – single-serve carton with Better if Used Before Dates between AP 04013 – AP 09213 or FK 04013 – FK 09213

Kellogg’s Mini-Wheats Unfrosted Bite Size cereal

  • UPC 3800021983 – single serve carton with Better if Used Before Dates between FK 04013 – FK 09213
  • UPC 3800035982 -18-ounce carton with Better if Used Before Dates between APR 01 2013 KB – SEP 21 2013 KB