America’s food supply is among the safest in the world, yet the recent salmonella outbreak in eggs has some people wondering about what is safe to eat and what to do to avoid food-borne illness. Today’s blog takes a look at foods with the lowest risk and includes tips on how to handle and prepare food to keep contamination at an all time low.
Although, the FDA estimates that there are more than 76 million cases of food-borne illness annually, making wise food choices and taking simple precautions can lower risk dramatically. The best way to avoid food-borne illness is to prevent it. Foods most likely to cause food poisoning include raw or undercooked meat, poultry and fish, and unpasteurized milk.
Practice safe food handling at home by doing the following:
• WASH hands and surfaces often, especially after handling raw meat.
• COOK foods to proper internal temperatures. Beef or lamb should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 F (for medium rare) and to 160 F (for well done). Turkey and chicken 180 F and pork 160 – 170 F. Eggs at 160 F.
• SEPARATE Avoid cross-contamination by keeping utensils that have been used for cutting raw foods separate from utensils used for cooked foods, this includes knives and hard surfaces like cutting boards.
• CHILL Refrigerate or freeze foods promptly after grocery shopping. Check refrigerator temperatures using a food thermometer. Refrigerator temperatures should be between 36 – 40 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer should be at 0 degrees or below. Most pathogenic organisms grow at temperatures between 40 – 140 degrees.
Why Hokto Mushrooms Are a Safer Choice
While food borne illness from vegetables and fruits is rare, it’s nice to know that growers like Hokto take extra precautions to ensure a safer product. Conventionally grown mushrooms (e.g. button) often use a compost of dirt and manure to provide nutrients for growth. Dirt and manure naturally contain bacteria and often insects.
However, the culture used to grow the Hokto mushrooms is not the typical manure-containing compost, but a substrate mixture consisting of non-genetically modified corncob meal, soy, and rice bran meal. These ingredients are steam heated in plastic bottles to help destroy harmful bacteria.
The use of plastic bottles to “grow” the mushrooms and robotic harvesting of the mature Maitake, King Trumpet, White and Brown Beech mushrooms from the bottle directly into the packaging minimizes contamination even further. So if you’re concerned about food safety for your family, follow the food safety tips above and enjoy Hokto mushrooms.
Bottom line: It’s wise to practice food safety. Hokto mushrooms are part of a safe approach and they taste great!