Summer is the time of year that the grills come out and people enjoy cooking outside. Grilling is a great way to make extra delicious food in a super healthy way, but it comes with its own set of unique food safety challenges. Make sure you follow these rules to keep everything food safe!
After carrying raw food out to the grill, make sure you place the dirty plate in the sink or dishwasher to be sanitized before it is reused. A separate clean plate should be used to transport the food back inside once it has been cooked. Never reuse the same plate unless it has been properly cleaned in between. Once the food has been cooked, thoroughly wash your tongs or utensils or use different ones for serving cooked food.
Food can quickly spoil when they’re outside in the sun. Be sure your grill is hot and ready before bringing food outside to be cooked. Raw food should go directly on the grill once it’s been brought outside.
You may think you know what “done” looks like, but sometimes in the outdoor lighting it can be hard to tell. Use a food thermometer to check that foods are at the proper temperature before they come off the grill, and give them the correct amount of time to rest before cutting and serving. You can view a chart of temperatures and resting times here.
At CitroBio, we are committed to food safety. Learn more about how our food wash controls pathogens and helps maintain healthy, safe food.
There has been a recent recall on pre-cut fruit salad containing melon in the US. The melon was sold at Costco, Jay C, Kroger, Payless, Owen’s, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Walgreens, Walmart, and Whole Foods/Amazon. Produced at Caito Foods in Indiana, the melon has been distributed to Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio. The CDC reported that 60 people in five states in the Midwest have become ill. 66% of the infected were hospitalized. The FDA is investigating what happened to incite the contamination, but so far, the exact reason is unknown.
Throw away any cut melon that was purchased at the listed locations. With contamination of prepared products becoming more of an issue, many consumers are choosing to buy whole foods and prepare them in their own kitchens to control the risk of cross-contamination. When preparing melon, remember that washing the outside thoroughly before cutting into it is key, since melons are grown on the ground. Germs like E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria can be present on the rind. To safely enjoy melon:
For washing produce, give your family an extra layer of protection with CitroBio Fresh Food Wash. CitroBio helps to control bacteria and contaminants without altering the smell, taste, or appearance of food. Click to purchase on Amazon!
Caterers have a particular interest in maintaining food safety in their operations. One bout of foodborne illness can close a catering operation down permanently. Most recently, the Plain Nuts Catering & Deli in Georgia has shut down after catering an event that made at least 70 people ill, with four admitted to the hospital. Lab tests confirmed Salmonella infections were present in multiple attendees of events catered by the company in May. Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult to make sure food is safe throughout the catering process. Here are some tips to help ensure food safety for caterers:
Ensure you are receiving fresh foods by checking the food safety certifications of your food suppliers. This is especially important for foods that are common food safety offenders, like sprouts, melon, and meat. This is arguably the most important step in food safety for caterers. Inspect foods thoroughly before preparing.
Follow all of the most important food safety rules, such as wearing gloves; regular hand washing; using separate cutting surfaces, storage containers, and utensils for raw meat; and making sure everyone involved in the preparation of food understands all of the rules of avoiding cross-contamination. Training staff to follow these rules is critical in this industry with a traditionally high turnover. Check local laws to ensure you are following all rules for sneeze guards, food safety measure documentation, and food allergies.
Throughout the food prep and transportation process, foods must be kept at the proper temperatures of above 140 degrees F for hot foods, and below 40 degrees F for cold foods. Ensure there is a backup system in place for refrigeration and heating elements while in transport and while serving. All foods must be kept in food-safe containers that can be sanitized between uses. Check food regularly with a thermometer to ensure the proper temperature is maintained. Throw away any foods that are found to be in the "danger zone."
At CitroBio, we are committed to food safety. Learn more about how our food wash controls pathogens and helps maintain healthy, safe food.
Raw milk is a new food fad among organic-loving, health-conscious shoppers, but at what price? Fans of raw milk say it is milk as nature intended: nutrient-rich with natural probiotics that aid in digestion and boost the immune system. Raw milk seems like a good idea considering the popularity of farm-to-fork foods, but pasteurization, or the process of heat-treating milk to kill harmful pathogens, is a necessary step to maintain food safety.
Pasteurization kills pathogens such as E. coli, salmonella, listeria, and campylobacter that are found in the gut and poo of even healthy cows. Raw milk relies heavily on skilled farmers and cross-contamination prevention to be remotely okay for humans to consume, and most raw milk will be found with a label that reads "for animal consumption only," because raw milk is not FDA approved for humans to drink.
US food Safety officials have called raw milk "playing Russian roulette," and between 2009 and 2014, raw milk and raw milk cheese caused the vast majority of all illnesses linked to dairy products that were contaminated. Based on those figures, raw milk is 840 times more risky than pasteurized milk.
Most recently, raw milk from the Pool Forge Dairy in Pennsylvania was linked to listeriosis, an infection caused by the pathogen Listeria. Listeriosis in pregnant women can cause harm to the unborn baby, and can lead of life-threatening complications in the very young and the elderly. You can view more information about this issue here.
Eating well has never been easier with all of the options available to consumers today. Farmers markets, organic produce co-ops, and grocery delivery services make it much simpler to make healthy choices to feed your family. Unfortunately, with all of the automation in food processing today, and the volume that is being produced, there are more chances for cross-contamination and a higher likelihood that a foodborne illness outbreak will occur. The most recent romaine lettuce E.coli outbreak was a grim reminder of the dangers lurking in prepared produce products. There are several steps you can take to help keep your family safe:
The ultimate way to ensure that your produce is clean and healthy is to grow it yourself! Even if you don’t have a backyard to use, container and indoor gardening has never been more accessible with the affordable products available online today. You can even grow produce hydroponically, with no soil at all!
Locally-sourced produce has gone through less steps to get to you, which means less hands touching the produce, less time spent in transit, and reduced chances of cross-contamination. Local produce is more likely to have been produced on a smaller farm, and though it may not say organic because that distinction is expensive and costly to receive, it may have been grown organically. Ask your farmer’s market about the origins of the produce to be sure.
Store produce physically away from raw meat and other potential contaminants. Make sure produce that is required to be cold is kept cold. When in doubt, refrigerate it!
Beware of cross-contamination
Cross-contamination can occur when preparing produce. Make sure to thoroughly wash hands and clean surfaces before preparing produce. Use separate knives and containers for produce and meat or eggs. Never re-use a surface or container that held raw meat without sanitizing first.
Wash wash wash that produce!
Good old cold running water is one of the best ways to reduce the chances of becoming ill from pathogens that can be found on produce. For an extra layer of protection, try CitroBio Fresh Food Wash. It is effective against contaminants such as E.coli, Salmonella, and Listeria. Click here to purchase!
Eggs Contaminated with Salmonella
Rose Acre Farms in North Carolina voluntarily recalled 207 million eggs earlier last week after more than 20 consumers became ill from a suspected salmonella poisoning. The recall is the largest of eggs in the U.S. since 2010, when more than 550 million were recalled from two Iowa farms, according to the website Food Safety News. Eggs sold at Publix locations in Florida are now part of the massive recall.
Unhealthy conditions were found several times during inspections of the Rose Acre Farms facility in Hyde County, North Carolina, that allowed for the “proliferation and spread of filth and pathogens throughout the facility that could cause the contamination of egg processing equipment and eggs,” according to a report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A review of the farm’s pest control records flagged an ongoing rodent infestation, with rodents, dead carcasses and baby mice observed, along with workers who weren’t following proper sanitary practices.
Romaine Lettuce Recall
This is the second major recall this month, as there is also a nationwide recall of chopped romaine lettuce due to a potential E.coli contamination risk. At this time, no common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified, so the CDC is advising that people anywhere in the United States who have store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick. If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.
Before purchasing romaine lettuce at a grocery store or eating it at a restaurant, confirm with the store or restaurant that it is not chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. If you cannot confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it.
Be sure to thoroughly cook any eggs to a food safe temperature to avoid a salmonella infection, and to always wash fresh foods before preparing or consuming. To purchase CitroBio Fresh Food Wash for food safety, click here.
This weekend is Easter, and many people will be enjoying a wonderful holiday dinner with their families. The most common proteins in Easter meals are lamb, ham, and eggs. Eggs are very nutritious and are the most perfect protein, but they come with their own set of food safety rules that should be followed to avoid foodborne illness.
From FoodSafety.gov: If eggs aren’t handled properly, they can make people ill due to Salmonella, an organism that causes food poisoning, also called foodborne illness. Salmonella, which can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, and fever, can be found on both the outside and inside of eggs that look perfectly normal. In otherwise healthy people, the symptoms generally last a couple of days and taper off within a week. But some people such as pregnant women, young children, older adults and persons with weakened immune systems are at risk of severe illness from Salmonella. In these at-risk individuals, a Salmonella infection may become serious. That’s why it’s important to handle fresh eggs properly and these tips explain how to do so.
Refrigerate Eggs Promptly: Keeping eggs adequately refrigerated prevents any Salmonella in the eggs from growing to higher numbers which makes them more likely to cause illness.
Keep Clean: The outside as well as the inside of eggs can be contaminated.
Cook Eggs Thoroughly: Cooking reduces the number of bacteria present in an egg; however, a lightly cooked egg with a runny egg white or yolk still poses a greater risk than a thoroughly cooked egg. Lightly cooked egg whites and yolks have both caused outbreaks of Salmonella infections.
Separate: Never let raw eggs come into contact with any food that will be eaten raw.
Eating Out: Avoid restaurant dishes made with raw or lightly cooked, unpasteurized eggs. When in a restaurant, ask if they use pasteurized eggs before ordering anything that might result in consumption of raw or lightly cooked eggs, such as Hollandaise sauce or Caesar salad dressing.
Please contact us with any questions you may have about keeping your family safe from foodborne illness. We are happy to help! Click here to purchase CitroBio Fresh Food Wash for Food Safety.
On February 28, 2018, the CDC announced that there was an outbreak of Salmonella linked to sprouts that were served at a restaurant in the midwest, as well as a grocery store. Ten people have been infected with Salmonella as a result of the outbreak. Following the outbreak, the FDA collected samples from the growers and suppliers and have consistently received negative results, so it appears the outbreak is over.
Raw sprouts are one of the more dangerous foods to consume with regard to food safety. The biggest contaminators are E. coli and Salmonella, but Listeria can also be an issue. If you experience nausea, diarrhea, fever or stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after consuming sprouts, they are likely the culprit.
There's no reliable way to see or smell if your sprouts are harboring unpleasant bacteria. Fortunately, proper washing and cooking of sprouts will kill the harmful bacteria. Those with weakened immune systems, children, the elderly, and pregnant women should not eat raw or lightly cooked sprouts. Sprouts should be thoroughly washed and cooked to ensure bacteria is killed.
In addition to proper cooking, be sure to maintain food safety standards when handling or consuming sprouts. Only buy fresh sprouts that have been properly refrigerated. Don't buy sprouts that smell musty or appear slimy. Wash your hands thoroughly before consuming sprouts. Consider washing sprouts in a solution like CitroBio Fresh Food Wash.
CitroBio Fresh Food Wash preserves texture, color, and freshness of food, while inhibiting the growth of bacteria. It extends the shelf life of whole and fresh cut food and is made with FDA/GRAS ingredients. It is colorless, tasteless and odorless on food, and made in the U.S.A. Click here to purchase CitroBio on Amazon.
In late November and early December, people across Canada and the United States become ill following the consumption of romaine lettuce contaminated with E. coli. There were 42 cases of E. coli across Canada reported, and 25 in the United States. Several people were hospitalized, and two individuals died as a result of complications from the E. coli poisoning. Canada identified romaine lettuce as the culprit, but the United States wasn’t able to pin down a specific type of produce and cautioned consumers about all “leafy greens.”
The good news is, as of January 2018, romaine lettuce and leafy greens have been deemed safe to eat again. The last illness was reported on December 12, 2017. Why, however, do these food poisoning outbreaks keep happening? The answer is cross-contamination. E. coli bacteria live naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry and other animals. Commonly, when produce is tainted by E. coli, it is due to coming into contact with infected animal feces. Lettuce and other leafy greens can become contaminated by bacteria in the field by soil, contaminated water, animals themselves, or manure.
What can be done to protect your family from E. coli? Proper food safety techniques will reduce the risk of an E. coli infection. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after handling food. When preparing lettuce, discard the outer leaves. Wash unpackaged lettuce with cool, fresh running water. Keep rinsing lettuce until all visible dirt has been washed away. Don’t soak greens in the sink, as your sink may be contaminated with bacteria. Use warm water and soap to wash all utensils, countertops, cutting boards, and storage containers to avoid cross-contamination. Lettuce should be used within seven days of purchase. Discard lettuce when the leaves become wilted or brown.
As you can see, it is very important to thoroughly clean produce before consuming. For extra protection, we recommend washing with CitroBio Fresh Food Wash which is effective against E. coli, listeria, salmonella, and other pathogens — click here to purchase on Amazon!
Cooked ready-to-eat (RTE) meat products are widely thought to be food safe by the general public, but they are actually quite subject to contamination by microorganisms. In particular, Listeria is a serious offender when it comes to contamination of RTE deli meat, which is why pregnant women are often told not to consume deli meat unless it is properly heated in a microwave first to kill any Listeria monocytogenes that may be present. Listeria can grow even under proper refrigeration, and may not make you feel sick at all, but can pass to an unborn baby. If it does make you feel sick, you will likely experience fever, headaches, fatigue, aches, nausea, and vomiting.
The microorganisms on RTE meat contaminate foods after the cooking step and may further grow during shelf-life, potentially spoiling or causing foodborne illness. Although many RTE meat manufacturers try to combat the potential meat spoilage by adding salt, fat, and chemical preservatives like nitrates, Listeria still can manage to grow on RTE meat products. The post-packaging decontamination technologies that are most effective have been found to depend on the type of product, so there is no one-size-fits-all treatment to ensure RTE meat is safe to consume.
To help keep your family safe from food poisoning by ready-to-eat meats, be sure to consume deli meat within 3 days of purchase or, in the case of prepackaged deli meat, within 3 days of opening and within the printed expiration date. Listeria can grow even under refrigeration. If you are pregnant, be sure to heat the meat in the microwave until it is steaming, at 165 degrees Fahrenheit, although it is safest to avoid deli meat and hot dogs altogether while pregnant.
CitroBio Fresh Food Wash is effective in controlling pathogens, as well as extending the shelf life of food. There is no need to rinse after applying CitroBio. CitroBio Fresh Food Wash does not alter the taste, appearance, or smell of food. To learn more, click here.
The holidays are fast approaching! When traveling to see friends and family during cold and flu season, it is extra prudent to ensure that you are following good health and safety practices. There are a number of things you can do to help prevent yourself from falling ill during travel:
Wash your hands
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family is to wash hands. It sounds elementary, but thorough hand washing, including using warm water, soap, and scrubbing the front, back, and between the fingers for twenty seconds is the first line of defense against illnesses. Hand hygiene is essential to stop the spread of infection and can dramatically reduce your chances of diarrhea, vomiting, food poisoning, gastroenteritis, flu, norovirus, MRSA, or even hepatitis A.
Drink bottled water
Even when traveling within the United States, tap water quality can vary from place to place. Your gut may not have the right flora to protect you from various pathogens in the local water supply, so stick to drinking bottled water where possible. A bottle with a built-in filter is a good choice if you’re not sure if bottled water will be readily available.
Practice food safety wherever you go
Food contamination is one of the biggest causes of gastrointestinal problems and illness while traveling. You should always try to ensure that any food that is consumed while traveling (or anywhere!) is fresh, cooked thoroughly, and served hot. Make sure everyone who is preparing your food is wearing gloves, and that a separate person is handling the money (or that the person removes their gloves before handling money, and puts on a fresh pair before going back to serving food.) Some foods to avoid (JUST IN CASE!) are:
There are an estimated 76 million cases of food poisoning in the United States every year. The thought of getting a viral infection from foods should not, however, keep you from enjoying food on the go. CitroBio Fresh Food Wash is effective in controlling pathogens, as well as extending the shelf life of food. There is no need to rinse after applying CitroBio. CitroBio Fresh Food Wash does not alter the taste, appearance, or smell of food. CitroBio can also be used to clean utensils, and cooking surfaces, to reduce the threat of cross-contamination. To learn more, click here.
It’s soon to be the most wonderful time of the year! Thanksgiving is a holiday full of tradition, but it also can be a giant pathogen fest if you’re not practicing food safety throughout grocery shopping, storing, preparation, and cooking. The holidays are also unfortunately timed right in the middle of cold and flu season, meaning anyone preparing food for your party or potluck may have germs and/or viruses clinging to their fingers while preparing food. Be sure to wash hands thoroughly before cooking, and after handling any raw meat, and don’t feel bad reminding others to do so, as well.
Here are some other tips and tricks to remain healthy during the holidays:
From all of us at CitroBio, Happy Thanksgiving! We hope your holiday is safe and enjoyable. Click here to read more turkey cooking tips.
In the past 60 days, there have been 15 recalls for Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria is a harmful germ that can hide in many foods. Outbreaks of Listeria infections in the 1990s were primarily linked to deli meats and hot dogs. Now, Listeria outbreaks are often linked to dairy products and produce. Investigators have traced recent outbreaks to soft cheeses, celery, sprouts, cantaloupe, and ice cream.
The CDC estimates that Listeria is the third leading cause of death from foodborne illness, or food poisoning, in the United States. An estimated 1,600 people get sick from Listeria each year, and about 260 die. Listeria is most likely to sicken pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems. Other people can be infected with Listeria, but they rarely become seriously ill.
Bacteria such as listeria, salmonella and E. coli can be killed by pasteurization or cooking at a high temperature. However, for fruits and vegetables consumed raw, it is important to thoroughly cleanse produce prior to eating. To reduce contaminants and control bacteria, try CitroBio Fresh Food Wash. CitroBio Fresh Food Wash does not alter the taste, appearance, or smell of food. To buy CitroBio on Amazon, click here.
Below is a list of foods that have been recalled recently for listeria:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
8 cups sliced cored peeled apples Save $
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
It’s apple season all over the country, and there is nothing better than a fresh apple picked directly from a tree. In all the fun of apple picking and other u-pick activities, remember to be mindful of food safety. Usually when people think of foods that can cause food poisoning, they think of raw meat or eggs, or even sprouts or melon, but E. coli can get onto apples and other produce through contaminated irrigation water, via animals in the orchard, or during harvesting or processing. Be sure to thoroughly wash any fresh picked product before consuming. You don’t want to forever associate your lovely trip to the orchard with a round of food poisoning!
While it's not typical for apples to be the culprit of a foodborne illness outbreak, there have been several notable instances of food poisoning linked to apples. A few years ago, an outbreak of listeria was linked to caramel apples from Washington. The apple skins were not thoroughly cleaned before the sticks were inserted into the bottom of the apples, and the caramel coating then sealed in the pathogens, creating a perfect breeding ground for listeria. Another recent instance was a case of unpasteurized apple juice at an orchard that was contaminated with E. coli and sickened several people. Pasteurization kills contaminants, which is why it’s required for any commercial food product that is sold in stores, but orchards and farmers markets are exempt from even labeling unpasteurized foods or drinks as potentially dangerous.
With all of this in mind, it is very important to thoroughly wash apples before eating them, juicing them, or using them in a recipe. We recommend washing with CitroBio Fresh Food Wash — click here to purchase on Amazon!
Dear Customers and Constituents:
As many of you may know, Citro Industries, Inc. is located in Sarasota, Florida which was directly impacted by Hurricane Irma. We were very lucky and are very grateful to have survived the storm with minimal damage. We are back in the office with power and internet, ready to serve our customers. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you.
-The Citro Industries, Inc. Team
Food poisoning is a major cause of illness in the United States and beyond. Around 48 million Americans get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die each year from food poisoning. There are many different types of bacteria, viruses, and parasites that cause foodborne illness, but the eight major pathogens identified by the CDC for causing the majority of food poisoning cases are:
Practicing safe food handling is the most important way to prevent foodborne illness. To help remove pathogens from all types of foods, as well as to clean utensils, pots and pans and your kitchen, check out CitroBio Fresh Food Wash on Amazon.
Autumn is looming, and is one of the best times to get outdoors. With the upcoming beautiful foliage and temperate weather, it’s hard to ignore the call of nature this time of year. Whether you are hiking or camping, you'll need to eat while you’re out on the road. If you’re camping for an extended period, meal planning is crucial to maintaining food safety standards. There are many ways to get protein from shelf-stable products like beef jerky, canned tuna, peanut butter, and nuts. If you prefer hot meals, consider preparing meals at home ahead of time, freezing them in a ziploc bag, and taking them with in a cooler (with plenty of ice) to heat up in a saucepan over the fire.
When you are going to be cooking outdoors, be sure to bring a food thermometer with you. In less than ideal lighting and food prep conditions, it can be impossible to determine if food is properly cooked to its safe temperature without one. Bring a cheat sheet with you of food safety temperatures if you’re going to be out in a place with spotty cell service.
Remember that food can become unsafe if it’s held in the “Danger Zone” of 40-140 degrees F for more than two hours (one hour if the temperature outside is above 90.) Make sure your coolers are properly iced at temperatures below 40, and if possible, bring two coolers: one for perishables that will remain closed most of the time and one for snacks and drinks that can be opened and shut repeatedly without losing food safety standards.
Also, don’t forget hand washing hygiene. Running water and soap is always the best, but in a pinch, biodegradable soap or disposable antibacterial wipes can work. Have a great time being food safe and relaxing in the great outdoors! Click here to purchase CitroBio Fresh Food Wash to keep food clean and safe wherever you go.
With stories about recalls, foodborne illnesses and food contamination on the rise in the media, consumers are looking for ways to ensure their food is safe for their families. From homesteaders growing and harvesting their own food, to organic food sales being at an all-time high, to local produce co-ops becoming more popular, people are actively seeking out safer food sources for their families. Unfortunately, no matter where food comes from, it is possible that contaminants can be present.
The most common contaminants of food are E. coli, listeria, and salmonella. E. coli is commonly found in the intestines of animals and humans. It can be found randomly in fruits and vegetables even though it comes from animals. Fruits and vegetables that grow close to the ground are susceptible to E. coli contamination if, for example, improperly composted cattle manure is used as a fertilizer.
Listeria is found in soil and water. Vegetables can become contaminated from the soil or from manure used as fertilizer. Animals can carry the bacterium without appearing ill and can contaminate foods of animal origin such as meats and dairy products. The bacterium has been found in a variety of raw foods, such as uncooked meats and vegetables, as well as in processed foods that become contaminated after processing, such as soft cheeses and cold cuts at the deli counter. Unpasteurized (raw) milk or foods made from unpasteurized milk may contain the bacterium.
Most people associate a salmonella infection with chicken, but these bacteria can also contaminate other foods such as fruits and vegetables. Backyard chickens, meat, raw eggs and unpasteurised dairy products may also be sources of salmonella.
Bacteria such as listeria, salmonella and E. coli can be killed by pasteurization or cooking at a high temperature. However, for fruits and vegetables consumed raw, it is important to thoroughly wash produce before consuming. Plain water is good for removing dirt and loose debris from produce, but for reducing contaminants and controlling bacteria, use CitroBio Fresh Food Wash. CitroBio Fresh Food Wash does not alter the taste, appearance, or smell of food. To buy CitroBio on Amazon, click here.
Fish and shellfish are important sources of protein and nutrients for a well-rounded diet. However, it is very important to select the right pieces of fish and shellfish, and store and handle them properly, to maintain the safety of the seafood. Be sure to follow these safety tips to ensure your family's health.