The site is no longer being updated, including the FSnet archives, but remains a vast source of food safety information. For current information, please visit the iFSN successor, bites, at

Special Occasions

06.jul.05, Food Safety Network, Food Safety Network

The year is divided up into seasons and with these seasons come many opportunities to celebrate. Whether it is a wedding, a barbecue, a holiday get together or a picnic, all special occasions have one thing in common…food. Unfortunately it is not uncommon for these special occasions to end with someone stuck in the washroom for the next week as a result of food borne illness. Canada's multicultural society provides so many special occasions that it is hard to touch on them all, so we have picked a few times that are food safety is concerns.
Turkey Season
Eggnog Events
Wedding Buffets
Barbecuing Blowouts
Halloween Scares
Cider-House Rules

Turkey Season

Safe, minimal handling and thorough cooking will help to ensure your turkey is safe to eat.

After purchasing your turkey

· Refrigerate (at 4°C or less) or freeze it (at or below -18°C) immediately.
· Use a fresh turkey within two days of purchase.
· Remove the giblets and store the turkey in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
· Whole turkeys can be frozen for one year.

Thawing a frozen turkey

There is conflicting advice regarding turkey thawing, however the safety issue is proper cooking, not thawing. Ensuring the food is properly cooked prior to serving is an important food safety measure.

Method #1:The Refrigerator
· Thawing in the refrigerator is considered the best method because the temperature at the surface of the bird does not rise above 4°C while the center thaws.
· Leaving the plastic wrap on the turkey, place it on a large enough tray or container to catch any raw juice drippings.
· Place the turkey in the refrigerator.
· Make sure the raw juices will not cross contaminate other foods in the refrigerator, especially raw vegetables stored in the crisper under the bottom shelf.
· Allow 10 hours per kilogram (five hours per pound) to thaw completely.
· Total thawing is important prior to cooking.

Method #2: Cold Water
· Submerge the turkey in cold water.
· Leave the plastic wrap on the turkey or place it in leak proof food grade plastic.
· Make sure the turkey is immersed in the water.
· Change the water every thirty minutes so it remains cold.
· Caution: it may be difficult to tell if the plastic is leak proof. Be sure to wash hands thorough after each water change. Carefully sanitize sink, drain plug, facet and surrounding countertop using 1 teaspoon of bleach in 3 cups of water.

Method #3: Counter Top
· Thaw the turkey at room temperature.
· Leave the turkey covered in the plastic wrap or place in a leak proof food grade plastic.
· Make sure that the raw juices do not spill on the counter.
· Thaw completely and cook immediately.
· Do not refreeze thawed turkey until it is cooked
· Overwrap the plastic with a number of layers of newspaper (approximately 8); this provides an insulating blanket for more even thawing.
· Do not leave small turkeys (4.7 kg; 10 lb) thawing at room temperature for more than 12 hours or larger turkeys (11.9 kg; 26 lb) for more than 18 hours.

Method #4: Microwave
· Turkey can also be thawed in the microwave.
· Cook immediately after defrosting and do not refreeze thawed turkey until it is cooked.

After preparing the turkey for cooking, wash your hands with warm soapy water. Sanitize the counter, sinks and any containers or trays using 5mL(1 tsp) bleach per 750 mL (3cups) of water. Rinse with fresh water and dry.

The safe way to stuff and cook a turkey:


· For maximum safety cook the stuffing in a separate dish.
· If you do stuff your turkey, stuff it loosely, right before cooking and remove the stuffing as soon as the turkey comes out of the oven.
· Make sure the stuffing reaches an internal temperature of 74°C (165°F).


· Roasting temperature should be 177°C (350°F).
· Never put the turkey on overnight at a lower temperature.
· Never interrupt the cooking process.
· The cooking time varies depending on the weight of the bird, the initial temperature of the turkey, the accuracy of the oven thermostat and the number of times the oven door is opened.
· Stuffed turkey takes longer to cook than unstuffed turkey.

To verify if the turkey is adequately cooked insert a meat thermometer into the breast or the deepest part of the inner thigh, avoiding any bones. Leave the thermometer in for at least 30 seconds before reading the temperature. The internal temperature should reach 80°C (175°F). Never eat raw or undercooked turkey.

Turkey Leftovers

· Do not leave the turkey out at room temperature for more than two hours.
· Remove the turkey from the bone.
· Place the turkey in small containers in the refrigerator for rapid and uniform cooling.
· Refrigerate stuffing and sauce in separate containers.
· Use leftovers within two to three days.
· Reheat leftovers to at least 74°C (165°F).
· Leftovers can be frozen for up to three months.

In the news

Dec. 22/01
Commentary from the Food Safety Network
Bonnie LaCroix and Douglas Powell
It sounds simple. Buy a turkey, cook it, add some Martha Stewart or Emeril
flourish, and voila, a holiday meal for friends and family followed by a
week of turkey sandwiches, soups and stews.
But despite the simplicity of health advisories telling consumers to thaw
the bird in the refrigerator, use a meat thermometer and quickly cool
leftovers, there are significant differences of scientific opinion at every
It can, in fact, be quite difficult to prepare a safe holiday meal. And even
if prepared safely, there is a real risk of overcooking, perhaps the source
of the observation in the WonderBread world of White that, "You can't
overcook a turkey. That's what the gravy is for."
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, like many other government and industry
bodies, is adamant that a frozen turkey should never be thawed on the
kitchen counter. The preferred method is in the fridge. But barring an extra
appliance, do many Canadians have room in the refrigerator to house a frozen
turkey for up to a week while it thaws? Some scientists, and even the
Australian New Zealand Food Authority, recommend thawing on the countertop,
followed by thorough cooking. The issue is that a frozen bird may never
completely thaw in the fridge, and may therefore never reach a sufficient
internal temperature to kill dangerous bacteria when cooking. And even if
one uses a refrigerator, CFIA suggests that it takes about 10 hours per
kilogram to thaw turkey. Other sources say it may take 26 to 33 hours per
kilogram to thaw meat or poultry.
Once the bird is in the oven and kitchen surfaces have been cleaned of stray
juices and drippings, what is the best cooking temperature? CFIA says the
oven temperature should be no lower than 177ºC or 350ºF. Canadian and U.S.
turkey producers both recommend 160ºC or 325ºF (the lower temperature is
said to help prevent an over-browned turkey while the rest of the turkey
cooks). Yet for the cooking set, high temperature, shorter time -- up to
450F -- is all the rage.
Regardless of the cooking temperature, it is the final temperature, one high
enough to kill of any dangerous bacteria like salmonella and campylobacter,
which is truly important. But even on this point -- and assuming all kitchen
cooks use a proper meat thermometer -- advice ranges from 74ºC to 88ºC (or
165ºF to 190ºF) depending on any of several locations such as in the
stuffing, the breast or the leg. For an unstuffed turkey, the Canadian
Turkey Marketing Agency shows the thermometer is inserted in the inside of
the thigh (the part closest to the body of the bird) and cooking is
completed when a temperature of 77ºC or 170ºC is reached, while the U.S.
National Turkey Federation shows that the thermometer is inserted on the
outside of the thigh on the outside (both say it should not touch the bone)
and recommends an end point temperature of 82ºC or 180ºF.
When the turkey is stuffed, the general consensus is to make sure the tip of
the thermometer is in the centre of the body cavity when taking a reading.
It should be 74ºC or 165ºF say the experts.
But as noted in the Wahington Post, "Maybe it's practically impossible to
get the turkey thigh to 180 degrees, the white meat to 170 and the stuffing
to 165 all at exactly the same time. In poultry, the white meat cooks more
quickly than the dark meat. So maybe that now-dry turkey breast on your
dining room table passed those
temperatures long ago. Maybe those government guidelines ensure safety but
risk overcooking."
Did we say stuffing? Some recommend cooking the stuffing separate, in a
casserole or frying pan (can it still then be called stuffing?). Use a
thermometer? Food safety experts are continually debating the merits of the
various thermometers commercially available.
So what¹s the objective here? To get each and every morsel of the turkey
(and stuffing if present in the bird) above 71ºC or 160ºF, the minimum
temperature considered by many to kill off any pathogens that may be
present, thus making it safe to eat. Because of the shape of the turkey,
this can be difficult to accomplish without overcooking other parts such as
the breast or the drumsticks; others suggest that reaching more than 82ºF
180ºF will Œsoften¹ the drumstick so it literally falls off the bone. And
if the turkey is stuffed it takes about a quarter to half an hour longer to
reach a safe temperature.
And cool those leftovers quickly.
Suffering from foodborne illness is a lousy way to spend the holidays. Be
clean, be careful, and most important, enjoy your food.
But don't let anyone tell you it is easy.

Further information can be found at:

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA),

The Canadian Turkey Marketing Agency¹s (CTMA) consumer site

The National Turkey Federation

The Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management (HITM) with Dr. O
Peter Snyder, Jr.

See Turkey Handling Factsheet attached below.

Wedding Time- Preparing Buffet Feasts

Buffets feature a large selection of food that is constantly replenished or may sit for a long period of time. Safe food preparation and serving practices are crucial for decreasing the risk of foodborne illness.

· Prepare foods by cooking them thoroughly .
· Serve food immediately.
· Keep hot foods hotter than 60°C (140°F).
· Keep cold foods colder than 4°C (40°F).
· Do not let perishable foods sit for longer than two hours at a temperature between 4°C (40°F) and 60°C (140°F) as bacteria can multiply quickly in this temperature range.
· Serve small quantities of food and replenish them often.
· Keep replacement dishes at the appropriate temperature of the food (in the refrigerator or oven).
· Do not add new food to a serving dish that has been sitting at room temperature for more that two hours. replace the dish.
· Remove all food from the buffet after two hours.

In the news

September 11, 2002
KW Record
Johanna Weidner
KITCHENER -- His tiny legs are wobbly from more than two weeks confined to a
hospital bed, but Kitchener, Ontario tot Hunter Parker is, according to this
story, doing well back at home after battling E. coli-induced kidney
failure. The 18-month-old was among three guests sickened by E. coli:O157
at his parents' wedding on Aug. 17 in Kitchener. He was released from
Hamilton hospital Monday afternoon after eight days on a dialysis machine.
"He is doing amazingly well," his mother Melissa Parker said yesterday.
"He's not 100 per cent yet, but he's getting there slowly."
Two others were diagnosed with E. coli infections, but Hunter was the
sickest. One adult was hospitalized for about a week, and a second was
treated outside hospital with antibiotics.
Public health officials in Waterloo Region suspected the bacteria came from
food eaten at the wedding reception, which was held at the Moose Lodge in
Kitchener. Family and friends brought the food to the reception.
None of the food samples collected from the gathering contained E. coli,
said Cathy Egan, the region's manager of food safety and infection control.
The health department is still working on its investigation into the E. coli
outbreak. A report is expected to be released on Monday.
Egan said there have been no additional cases of E. coli infection in the
group of about 100 that attended the wedding, and there's no threat to the
general public.

Further information can be found at:

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA):

Barbecue Season

When the weather is nice there is nothing better than getting together with a few friends in the back yard for a barbecue. When barbecue season rolls around so does the chance for foodborne illness. Taking some food safety precautions can help ensure that your backyard cookout does not leave someone with a foodborne illness.

Before Cooking

· When grocery shopping buy cold meats last.
· Keep meats separate from foods that may be eaten raw such as vegetables.
· Head straight home from the grocery store.
· Refrigerate meats and other perishable foods immediately
· If you know that you will not be using meats in the next 2-3 days freeze them immediately
· Wash hands before and after handling any types of food, especially raw meat and poultry.
· Clean all utensils and work surfaces with a warm water and soap before and after use.
· Use a mild bleach solution of 5mL(1 tsp) bleach per 750 mL(3cups water) for cleaning work areas.
· Marinate meat in the refrigerator.
· Do not use marinade that has touched raw meat as a basting sauce, make up a separate batch to baste the meat during cooking.
· Keep uncooked foods separate from cooked foods.
· Do not use the same plate or tray to carry cooked and uncooked meats.
· Refrigerate perishable foods.
· Preheat the barbecue prior to cooking.
· If making baked potatoes on the barbecue thoroughly wash potatoes before wrapping them in foil


· Cook foods thoroughly
· Do not rely on colour as an indicator of when the meat is cooked
· Use a meat thermometer to ensure that all meat and poultry is cook thoroughly.
· Cook poultry to an internal temperature of 85°C (185°F), beef 74°C (165°F), pork 71°C(160°F) and ground meats to 70°C (158°F).
· To prevent burning raise the height of the grill or reduce the barbecue temperature. This will allow the correct internal temperatures to be reached without sacrificing the quality of the food.
· Keep food hot until serving.


· Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator.
· Eat leftovers within 2 days.
· Never leave baked potatoes wrapped in the foil after cooking. To store baked potatoes remove the foil wrapping and refrigerate. Cooked potatoes stored in foil create an ideal growing environment for Clostridium botulinum, which can cause botulism.

Barbecuers Beware

Recent outbreaks of listeriosis have been traced back to hot dogs. Hot dogs that are not properly cooked can present a health risk to pregnant, elderly and immuno-compromised individuals. If you plan on barbecuing hot dogs this barbecue season be sure to:
· Wash your hands thoroughly before and after touching uncooked hot dogs.
· On the grill, do not let the hot dogs come into contact with other foods.
· Allow hot dogs to cook to an internal temperature of 71°C (160°F)
· Only use clean utensils to remove them from the grill.
· Never eat raw hot dogs.

In the news

August 2, 2002
From a press release
OTTAWA - Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) are advising restaurant and food service operators and consumers that potatoes baked in aluminum foil and kept warm or stored at room temperature may cause life-threatening botulism for those who consume them.
Potatoes may be contaminated with spores of Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum), a spore-forming bacterium that is widely distributed in the environment, including soils. C. botulinum may be present on fruits and vegetables, particularly those that are in contact with the soil, such as potatoes. If the spores are ingested in this manner, they remain harmless. However, baking the potatoes in aluminum foil and holding them wrapped at room temperature, or keeping them warm (at temperatures between 22 and 65
degrees C), may create ideal conditions for spores, if present, to germinate, grow and produce toxin.
Symptoms of foodborne botulism include ptosis (drooping of the eyelid), dizziness, blurred or double vision, vomiting and diarrhea, dry mouth and sore throat, difficulty in swallowing, breathing and speaking, and progressive paralysis. The onset of symptoms takes approximately 12-36
hours. Botulism can be fatal.
In order to prevent the risk from botulism, any left over potatoes must beunwrapped and refrigerated as soon as possible or within 1-2 hr at 4 degrees C. The proper preparation of baked potatoes should include washing potatoes thoroughly (do not use soap) before wrapping them in foil. Immediately
serve and eat baked potatoes. Other methods of preparing potatoes are not associated with a similar health risk for consumers, as the conditions for the C. botulinum spores germination and toxin production are not present. As a good practice any left over potatoes must be refrigerated regardless of
how they were cooked.

May 22/02
Commentary from the Food Safety Network
Douglas Powell
Another long weekend -- beer, barbeques, and, unfortunately, food poisoning.
Two years ago Canada was just beginning to have some myths about Canadian
clean and green water being shattered as reports trickled out about an
outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in Walkerton, Ont. In the end, 2,300 were
sickened and seven killed, all in a town of 5,000.
So far, 2002 looks like another banner year for epidemiologists and others
investigating outbreaks of foodborne illness. In the past week, cantaloupes
grown in Mexico have been recalled across North America because of
salmonella; an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 at a banquet in Ottawa; and now
an outbreak of shigella with some 200 people though to be sickened by Greek
style pasta salad.
But it's not only dangerous pathogens which are proliferating; so are a
variety of food safety myths and, even worse, confounding advice from those
who should know better, both which could actually increase the risk to
Canadian consumers.
Is the food getting worse? No. While direct comparisons are impossible
because of statistical limitations, it is clear that the ability to detect
the sources of foodborne illness have increased substantially through the
use of DNA fingerprinting and other technology. And foodborne illness is
certainly reported and discussed more widely than in the past. Incidents
which in the past would have been written off as the ubiquitous 24-hour flu
-- which doesn't really exist -- are increasingly linked to food and water
containing pathogens which make us sick.
The shigella outbreak is a reminder of the importance of cleanliness: your
grandparents had it right -- wash your hands. The U.S. Centres for Disease
Control estimates that foodborne illness could be reduced by 20 per cent if
people practiced proper handwashing.
But that's only 20 per cent. And that's why food safety is discussed in a
farm-to-fork system, because there are many opportunities for different bugs
to get into different foods at different points of the food chain.
The shigella outbreak may not have been due to poor sanitation by
foodhandlers, but rather on the farm. There have been numerous outbreaks of
shigella linked to scallions, parsley and celery. Were any of these
ingredients in the pasta salad?
The father of the three-year-old Newmarket, Ontario, girl who was released
from hospital last week after a bout of E. coli O157:H7 was quoted as saying
that the source was "still a mystery and we'll likely never know," but he
has a hunch that Justine picked up the bug from a hamburger at a fast food
restaurant. "We won't eat hamburger meat anymore, especially if it's cooked
anywhere but at home."
Except that those fast-food burgers were probably quite safe. The foods
Canadians and others think cause foodborne illness -- chicken, hamburger,
the last meal I ate -- are actually low on the list. More likely is the
salad and other food consumed fresh.
Cooking a burger at home can be tricky.
Previously, consumers were advised to use the colour of hamburger patties as
an indicator of thorough cooking. Pink meat meant cook the burger longer and
brown meat indicated the burger was ready to serve. Today¹s research shows
that colour does not guarantee the death of all bacteria. One study proves
that some burgers turn brown prematurely at lower temperatures, temperatures
too low to kill the bacteria within the hamburgers. Other methods such as
juice colour and textural appearance are also poor indicators of doneness in
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency recognizes that the only way to ensure
safe burgers is by actually measuring their internal temperature. But
temperature determination can be a tricky process because hamburgers cook at
different rates in different areas, depending on thickness and fat content.
It was found that when the outer temperature of hamburgers reaches a
temperature of 71.1ºC (160ºF), the inside is only at a temperature of 56.7ºC
(134ºF), which is not hot enough to kill E. coli. The recommended final
temperature for the inside of hamburgers is a minimum of 71.1ºC (160ºF).
This temperature is hot enough to kill harmful bacteria and makes burgers
safe. However, the outside of your burger may resemble something more along
the lines of the Leaf¹s playoff puck.
And while there are efforts to convince consumers to use a thermometer to
check the doneness of their burgers -- grab the burger with tongs, insert
sideways and wait 30 seconds -- the practicality of such a procedure is open
to debate (personally, I make my own burgers, make them thick, and stick a
thermometer in them)
When I asked how many of my 40 graduate students in a food safety class use
a thermometer to check doneness, not one answered in the affirmative. For
social gatherings where alcohol and hunger come into play, precooked burgers
may be the way to go.
But don't forget the salad.
And that means ensuring that farmers and others in the farm-to-fork food
safety system are doing what they can to reduce the risk of microbial food
safety problems.
Perceptions about the causes of foodborne illness are powerful but often
misleading. Even Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant blamed his recent bout
with foodborne illness on the last meal he ate.
Except that it rarely happens that way.
Often the culprit bugs have incubation periods of two days to two weeks.
The suppliers of food -- farmers, retailers, food service -- are
increasingly taking steps to verify that they are supplying safe food. After
all, making one's customers sick is a bad business strategy. But for
consumers, they need to ask the hard questions.
Douglas Powell is an assistant professor and scientific director of the Food
Safety Network at the University of Guelph.

May 22, 2002
Ancaster News
Louise Cote
Three main factors in food contamination on the farm are soil contamination
from animal waste, contaminated water, and human handling, according to
Rene Cardinal, chief of fresh produce inspection at the Canadian Food
Inspection Agency.
Fresh fruits and vegetables can also be contaminated by harmful bacteria
from contact with unprocessed food items such as meats and their juices.
This can happen at the supermarket, in your fridge or on your counter top at
Dirt and bacteria on the surface of the vegetable may contaminate your
cutting knife or cutting surface and may, in turn, contaminate the flesh of
the vegetable. Wash vegetables, utensils and cutting surfaces well to
prevent cross-contamination.
Cool heads-- All lettuce stays fresher if you wash it before refrigerating.
All other vegetables should only be washed just before eating. Always wash
the lettuce with clean, cold running tap water (discard wilted or brownish
Carefully dry it and store it in a salad spinner or wrap it loosely in paper
towels and store it in a sealed plastic bag or container. Use within one
You can store young carrots covered for two weeks and mature carrots covered
for three to four weeks. Always store without the green leafy tops (they
tend to wither and rot quickly) in the refrigerator.
Just before eating, wash and scrub carrots with a vegetable scrubber in
clean, cold running water. Note that carrots absorb odours from apples and
Refrigerate new potatoes for up to one week (they may also absorb the odour
of pears). Mature potatoes should never be stored in the fridge but in a
paper bag under cool, dry, dark, ventilated conditions.
Refrigerated mature potatoes can develop dark spots and an unpleasant
flavour when cooked. If kept too warm, they sprout and shrivel up.
Exposure to light can cause potatoes to turn green with a bitter taste when
cooked. Trim off the green area before cooking. Peel potatoes on a clean
surface with a clean knife.
Rinse the peeled potato. If you plan to eat the skin rich in fibre and
nutrients be sure to scrub well.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has a wealth of information on
food safety. See the CFIA website at (Consumer

Dec. 30/98
CHICAGO -- Attorney Kenneth Moll was cited as saying that a
class-action lawsuit has been filed against Sara Lee Corp. over an
outbreak of Listeria bacteria traced to hot dogs and other processed meat
products in which 40 have been sickened and four died, adding, "A primary
goal of the Sara Lee Class Action is to inform the public that consumers
of Sara Lee hot dogs and
other meat products may have been contaminated with Listeriosis and to
establish a medical monitoring fund so that every consumer may be
informed of and tested for the adverse effects of Listeriosis."
The hot dogs and cold cuts were sold in 13 states under the names
Ball Park, Bil Mar, Bryan Bunsize, Bryan 3-lb. Club Pack hot dogs,
Grillmaster, Hygrade, Mr. Turkey, Sara Lee Deli Meat and Sara Lee Home
Roast brands. The products are from lots with establishment numbers P261
for poultry or 6911 for non-poultry.
The products have an expiration date up to Feb. 25, 1999.
The story notes that Bil Mar Foodservice, a division of Sara Lee,
recalled 15,000 pounds of turkey franks in September after a worker
discovered high moisture levels in packaged products.
Bil Mar was cited as saying the problem was "isolated" and that it had
taken steps to ensure all turkey franks are thoroughly cooked.

Further Information can be found at:
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA):

Eggnog Events

Festive eggnog can either be store bought or home-made. Store bought commercially prepared eggnog is made using pasteurized eggs and does not pose as much of a health risk as the home-made version as the eggs used are pasteurized. home-made eggnog is often made using raw eggs, which can pose a heath risk to pregnant, elderly and immuno-compromised individuals. home-made eggnog can be safe if made properly. However, if you are at a special occasion where eggnog is served don't be afraid to ask how it was made.

· For home-made eggnog use pasteurized egg products, available in most grocery stores.
· When using raw eggs, heat the egg milk mixture to 71°C (160°F). Refrigerate immediately after heating
· All eggnog, including commercially made products, must be refrigerated.

In the news

May 11, 2002
Philip Brasher
WASHINGTON -- According to this story, fewer people got sick from bacteria found in eggs after states set safety standards for poultry farms, a development that is bringing new calls to make the rules mandatory nationwide.
The story says that the state standards, which are voluntary, require farms to comply with a variety of sanitation and testing standards. Some states allow the farms to put a special seal on cartons promoting the safety of their eggs.
The story adds that the Bush administration is considering mandatory national standards that were developed in cooperation with industry officials and consumer advocates.
Ten states that started egg-safety programs saw cases of Salmonellaenteritidis fall by 22 percent in the first few years after the standards were implemented, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In some states, infection rates dropped by half or
more within seven years.
Richard Wood, executive director of Food Animal Concerns Trust, a consumer advocacy group, was quoted as saying, "It points out the fact that we need a national quality assurance program that's required for all egg producers."
Robert Tauxe, chief of the CDC's foodborne disease branch, was cited as saying the study showed that sanitation and testing standards for farms could cut down on food poisonings, not only in eggs but in other products as well.
The story notes that CDC presented the findings at a recent conference on emerging infectious diseases and plans to publish the data later.
The 10 states with egg-safety programs account for 35 percent of thenation's egg production. Those states include California, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
In the Northeast, an estimated one in every 10,000 eggs may be infected with salmonella, which can cause diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea and vomiting. Elsewhere, the contamination rate is lower. Children, the elderly and people with impaired immune systems are most at risk for the illness.
The CDC was cited as saying that in Pennsylvania, which has the most stringent standards for egg farms, Salmonella enteritidis cases dropped by about half during the 1990s to a rate of 2.9 cases per 100,000 population in 1999. By comparison, Indiana, which relies on industry-run programs, saw its
cases actually rise slightly in the first seven years they were running, theCDC said. Industry standards have less stringent testing requirements.

Further information can be found at:

Centers for Disease Control background on Salmonella:

Egg Nutrition Center:

Food Animal Concerns Trust:

Cider-House Rules

Cider is a popular holiday beverage that may contain harmful bacteria. Most of the cider sold in grocery stores in pasteurized and is safe to drink. Unpasteurized apple cider or mulled cider may contain harmful bacteria and precautions must be taken when consuming these products.
· The safest option is to only drink pasteurized cider.
· Unpasteurized cider can be brought to a boil before serving.

In The News

October 19, 2002
The Kingston Whig-Standard
Sue Yanagisawa
Dr. Ian Gemmill, the medical officer of health for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington, is, according to this story, urging shoppers to forego the unpasteurized sweet cider because it can make you sick.
The story says that for years, many people believed that cider didn't need to be pasteurized because it was too acidic an environment for most bacteria. Then, in the 1980s and 1990s, Canada and the U.S. both investigated cases where cider was implicated after people became infected with E. coli O157:H7 - "the infamous Walkerton organism," Gemmill said.
The E. coli organism is common in cows. It can get into cider if the apples, collecting baskets or cider making equipment come in contact with manure.
And that can readily happen if livestock have gotten into the orchard even months before or if windfalls are collected for the press - both discouraged practices.
Gemmill said the E. coli O157:H7 bacterium has never been found in any local, unpasteurized cider. But it has happened elsewhere and it's fall, he said, so it's time for "an annual reminder."

September 17, 2002
Cobourg Daily Star
Area residents seeking a taste of the fall harvest should, according to this story, be aware of the risks of drinking unpasteurized fruit juices or cider.
The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is warning people of the potential health hazards of drinking unpasteurized fruit juices or ciders. This caution is especially important during this time of the year when these drinks are readily available at farm gates or fairs in the area.
Anne Alexander, director of environmental health with the health unit, was quoted as saying, "Unpasteurized fruit juices can become contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E.coli during the manufacturing process. For that reason, we urge people to avoid the risk."
In 1998, 14 people became ill with the E.coli bacteria in Canada by drinking unpasteurized apple cider. E.coli is normally found in human and animal waste products. Freezing will not destroy E.coli; only pasteurization can eliminate the harmful bacteria.
The health unit's warning does not extend to properly pasteurized fruit juices or apple ciders.
Nor should the unpasteurized juice alert deter people from savouring other flavours of fall offered at local farms, Ms. Alexander says.
"Harvest time is an excellent time to enjoy the variety of other nutritious fruits and vegetables available at farms," she notes.

Further information can be found at:

Unpasteurized Fruit Juices and Cider: Know what you are drinking. Health Canada Pamphlet

Unpasteurized Fruit Juice / Cider. CFIA Fact Sheet

A Timeline of Fresh Juice Outbreaks. A. Luedtke and D. Powell Food Safety Network.

Halloween Scares

Food safety and Halloween don't often appear in the same sentence, but food safety is important to our costumed ghosts and ghouls. Children under the age of ten do not have fully developed immune systems and are therefore more susceptible to foodborne illness than adults. Here are some steps to ensure that your ghost remains a happy one.

· When children bring their treats home, discard any homemade candy or baked goods unless you know and trust the source.
· Wash all fresh fruit thoroughly, inspect it for holes, including small punctures. Cut open produce before allowing children to eat it.
· If juice or cider is served to children at Halloween parties, make sure it is pasteurized or bring it to a boil before serving to destroy harmful bacteria.
· Some Halloween treats may trigger allergic reactions in susceptible individuals.

In the news

October 7, 2002
From a press release
FAIRFAX, Va. -- For many this time of year, goblins, ghosts, and ghouls are the spooky stuff of Halloween, but for the parents of children with food allergies, the treats can be just as frightening.
Food allergy affects an estimated 6 to 7 million Americans, mostly children.
Annually, allergic reactions account for 30,000 emergency room visits and between 150 to 200 deaths. Eight foods account for 90 percent of allergic reactions: peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans, etc.), fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, soy, and wheat.
Parents of children with food allergies need to implement additional strategies for keeping their trick-or-treaters safe once they've brought home their goodies. Some create "trade banks" so allergen-containing candies can be traded for other treats, such as stickers or toys. Candies without
ingredient labels are discarded or exchanged for "safe" treats. Parents of children without food allergies can help by handing out only candies that have individualized labels -- so allergic kids can determine whether the treat is safe to eat. Keep in mind that ingredients can vary between different sizes of the same product -- such as full-size candy bars and their miniature versions, which are not always labeled individually.
Many families managing food allergies take the focus off of trick-or-treating during the holiday by hosting a costume party, where having fun is emphasized over eating candy. A magic show, Harry Potter trivia, Pokemon card trading, and games are possible activities to consider. Halloween-theme
stickers, pencils, plastic spider rings or stamps make great additions to a goody bag.
Enjoy the following safe and spooktacular treat, courtesy of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network. The recipe below is milk-free, egg-free, wheat- free, peanut-free, soy-free, and nut-free.
Halloween Party Popcorn Balls
3 cups miniature marshmallows*
6 T. milk-free, soy-free margarine
3 T. gelatin
red food coloring
yellow food coloring
12 cups popped popcorn, plain
In medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt marshmallows and margarine,
stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in gelatin, 4 drops red food
coloring, and 4 drops yellow food coloring. In large bowl, combine
marshmallow mixture and popcorn. Stir to coat popcorn evenly. Using oiled
hands, shape into balls.
Suggestion: Wrap popcorn balls in plastic wrap or wax paper and tie with a
Halloween-theme bow.
*Be sure to read the label.
For more free recipes, or to purchase cookbooks and other resources, contact
FAAN at 800-929-4040 or online at
The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network is a national nonprofit organization
dedicated to increasing public awareness of, providing education about, and
advancing scientific research on food allergies and anaphylaxis. Established
in 1991, FAAN has over 25,000 members, and provides educational information
through its toll-free telephone line, 800-929-4040, and its website, FAAN recommends consulting a board- certified
allergist to diagnose and manage food allergies.

May 15, 2001
The Globe and Mail/Toronto Star/CP/National Post
Nestlé Canada Inc. was cited as saying Monday it will continue to
manufacture five of its most popular chocolates in a peanut-free
environment, after thousands of Canadian consumers asked the confectioner to
reverse its earlier decision to abandon the practice.
The decision means chocolate lovers who also suffer from nut allergies will
still be able to eat Nestlé brands like Smarties, Aero, Kit Kat, Coffee
Crisp and Mirage.
The stories say that just three weeks earlier, the Toronto-based
manufacturer had said it was giving up on making the candies in nut-free
facilities because of consumer demand for nutty products.
Graham Lute, senior vice-president of Nestlé Canada, was quoted as saying in
a statement that, "We have been truly overwhelmed by the emotional chord
that our original decision struck with consumers. Since our announcement
three weeks ago, we have received several thousand letters, phone calls and
e-mail messages from Canadians, with and without peanut and nut allergies
asking us to reconsider our position."
Nestlé manufactures its chocolates in a nut-free Toronto factory, but had
said last month that it would introduce snack lines containing nuts
beginning Jan. 1, 2002.
With these new products in the same facility, the company worried that trace
amounts of nuts might inadvertently end up in chocolate snacks that are now
guaranteed to be free of them. As a result, the company had planned to put
warning labels on its chocolate stating that the product may contain nuts ‹
a move that would have put the candy off limits for those with allergies.
The decision caused an uprising among those with nut allergies ‹ an
estimated 1.5 per cent of the Canadian population ‹ who argued the move was
just one in a number that resulted in an increasingly smaller number of
foods available to them.
Dr. Susan Wasserman, an allergist and clinical immunologist with McMaster
University and St. Joseph's Hospital in Hamilton, was quoted as saying in a
statement Monday that, "People with this type of condition face limited
choices. So do teachers, parents and friends living or working with allergic
individuals. They have to be careful too. I commend Nestlé's efforts to
provide allergic adults and children with viable options."
Dr. Jane Salter, president of the Anaphylaxis Network of Canada and mother
of an allergic was quoted as saying, "It's huge for Nestlé to do that. I
can't even imagine the financial involvement."
She cautions parents that this is the one and only time that an allergy
alert label on a product can be safely ignored. She suggests parents hide
that wrapper from
their children: While none of the normally safe candy bars present a risk,
it's essential that allergic youngsters learn to read and trust label
information that could save their lives.
Salter had met with the company in the past trying to dissuade it from its
original decision, pointing out that for more than a decade children had
relied on it as their only source of treats that made them feel the same as
other kids. Now she gives full marks to a corporation that cares.

Further information can be found at:

CFIA's website at the following address:

The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN)

Related Files

Filename File Type File Size Date
turkey_handling_factsheet.pdfPDF File145.61 KB29.Sep.11