Don't Make Food Poisoning A New Holiday Tradition; Keep Raw Beef And Eggs Off The Menu
MADISON - If you cling to the nostalgic appeal of raw beef dishes like "tiger meat," steak tartare, and cannibal sandwiches, and you love old-fashioned eggnog with raw eggs, your holiday guests might include some party crashers - like Salmonella and E. coli.
Those bacterial nasties lurk in these traditional specialties. Risky foods served during the holidays could mean larger and more serious outbreaks of food-borne illness than at other times of the year, because they're most often served at the kind of gatherings that bring together big groups of people. And chances are the guests include lots of small children and elderly family members - both particularly vulnerable groups. For pregnant women, transplant recipients, or HIV patients, the risk is even greater.
"Most people know that raw meat can make them sick, or even kill them, but tradition dies hard - and it almost seems as if they think they get a free pass because it's a holiday. Nothing could be further from the truth, but still some people hang on to that tradition. It seems to have come down from Wisconsin's European settlers," says Jim Larson, director of meat safety and inspection in the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
An outbreak of Salmonella poisoning in Wisconsin in 1994 was traced to the ground beef served raw in traditional holiday dishes. It sickened nearly 160 people ranging in age from 2 to 90 years old. While diarrhea is the predominant symptom of Salmonella infection, E. coli 0157:H7 infection can be quite severe, resulting in kidney failure and related lifelong health problems, or even death.
"There is no safe way to consume raw meat, no matter what precautions you take with sanitation and refrigeration," Larson says. "But no matter how often we say it, we know that some people are determined to celebrate the holidays like Grandma did. So if you insist on serving these dishes, here are some things that might reduce the risk - but remember, you cannot safely serve them by any public health standard."
Wash hands thoroughly before and after handling raw meats.
Use only freshly ground cuts of meat - whole pieces ground in a sanitized meat grinder.
Mix ingredients with clean utensils, never with hands.
Never add raw eggs to the recipe.
Keep meat at 40 degrees F. or lower until serving.
Set serving dishes on ice.
Bring out small portions and refill with refrigerated product as needed.
Likewise, says Tom Leitzke, director of food safety and inspection for the department, "Some people swear that eggnog's just not the same without raw eggs." But unlike raw beef, eggnog can be prepared safely using pasteurized eggs. Pasteurized eggs are available in both liquid form and as shell eggs, although finding them in the shell may be somewhat difficult.
You can also use a recipe that calls for cooking the eggs. Many are available online by visiting recipe, magazine or food TV sites, or simply by searching "eggnog recipe" on a search engine. Note that these sites also carry recipes for eggnog that call for raw eggs; if you choose one of these, be sure to substitute pasteurized eggs.
Eggnog purchased from the dairy case at the grocery store is pasteurized and safe to drink.
Source: Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection
Integrity Automotive, ZAP to build $84 million plant to manufacture electric vehicles
FRANKFORT, Ky. - Governor Steve Beshear and Economic Development Cabinet Secretary John Hindman today announced that Integrity Automotive, LLC has chosen Simpson County as the location to construct a new $84 million facility that will be used to manufacture low-speed electric vehicles.
BC Energy Plan The BC Energy Plan puts British Columbia at the forefront of environmental and economic leadership. This plan looks to all forms of clean, alternative energy in meeting British Columbians' needs in the provincial economy.