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Food Preparation Safety for Vegetable Dishes

Incorporating vegetables into your diet provides health benefits, especially when you select and prepare them in a safe manner. It is extremely important to add vegetables in your diet because it provides you with nutrients that help you avoid heart disease, stroke, and cancer. To some, eating vegetables help them lose weight.

However, some raw vegetables may have dangerous microorganisms. If food safety procedures are not followed, it can cause food poisoning or worse, viral infections.

Buy fresh and washed vegetables

Contaminated food produce causes foodborne diseases to 50 percent of the citizens in the United States alone. Keep it safe by buying only fresh vegetables that are washed. These are usually salads and cooked vegetables. Fresh, but unwashed vegetables, including lettuce and salads are the usual suspects for foodborne diseases.

Consume cooked vegetables

Vegetables are versatile and can be eaten either raw or cooked. Raw vegetables can be coupled with dips or made into salads while vegetables can be cooked with basically any method. However, as I mentioned earlier consuming raw vegetables may expose you to contamination. Cooking may be a necessary part for safety purposes.

Observe proper storage of vegetables

Vegetables that are grown in either soil or water are exposed to bacteria. While risks may be low, proper steps should still be taken to avoid consuming huge amounts of bacteria that are in the vegetables.

When storing vegetables, make sure they are separated from other raw food and away from frozen meat where juices may drip. Although vegetables do not necessarily have to be stored in refrigerators, cold temperature can help preserve their nutritional value.

Wash vegetables before eating

While washing vegetables cannot guarantee protection against pesticide residues, it helps washing off soil that may have been exposed to bacteria. Washing your raw food before eating is generally good practice to help prevent consuming bacteria-covered produce.

Clean any tool used for preparing vegetables

Your chopping board and knives have to be thoroughly washed before you use them to prepare your vegetables, as they can be a source of bacteria. Even the sponge that you use for washing it should be thoroughly cleaned.

Decontaminating your sponge is especially important because it can potentially be the grossest thing you have in the kitchen. To clean it, put your sponge inside the microwave and set it at 165 degrees. Any microorganism would die at that temperature and your newly cleaned sponge can now wash your ceramic cookware and other kitchen tools.

Cook sprouts thoroughly

Sprouts thrive in an environment that is ideal for germs to multiply so you can only imagine how contaminated they are. With that being said, make sure you cook your sprouts as thoroughly as possible. This way you avoid risking yourself to various illnesses.

Some people are more prone to catching these diseases when eating sprouts due to a weakened immune system. These include pregnant women, children, and the elderlies. If you are any of the above, make sure you do not eat raw and half-cooked sprouts.

Refrigerate cut up, peeled, and cooked vegetables

You do not always get to finish your vegetables whether they are raw or cooked. For those that you have already cut up, peeled, or even cooked, you have to refrigerate them as soon as possible or at most within two hours. Remember to put them in a clean container and store it properly, as mentioned earlier.

Also, since about half of U.S. citizens suffer from foodborne illnesses regularly. The chances are high that you can be one of them, if you are not extra careful about buying, storing, and cooking your vegetables. While you have another 50 percent chance of avoiding it, you might as well be safe than sorry.

Sarah is the author of Simmer and Zest. She loves to cook and she’s not about to let anyone eat anything that does not taste good or is bad for the body.

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Old Europe Cheese, Inc. of Benton Harbor, MI is issuing a voluntary recall of its Brie and Camembert cheeses because of potential contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. All Old Europe Cheese Brie and Camembert products with best by dates through 12/14/2022 are subject to the voluntary recall. The... See More products were distributed from August 01, 2022 through September 28, 2022 and were available at supermarkets, wholesale and retail stores nationwide in the USA and Mexico.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

- RECALL DETAILS
The following products being recalled are marked with Best By Dates ranging from September 28, 2022 to December 14, 2022, Retailers may have repackaged bulk Old Europe Cheese items into smaller containers and sold this repackaged product to consumers. This repackaged product may not bear the original labeling and product information as described in link below.

Consumers who have purchased the stated Brie and Camembert products are urged not to consume it and discard the product. FDA recommends in these cases that anyone who purchased or received any recalled products to use extra vigilance in cleaning and sanitizing any surfaces and containers that may have come in contact with these products to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Listeria can survive in refrigerated temperatures and can easily spread to other foods and surfaces.

- BACKGROUND

This action was triggered after a full environmental audit of 120 samples, both of the product and of the company’s facilities. None of the products showed contamination, but one of the facilities’ samples tested positive. The strain from that positive case has been linked to 6 cases of Listeriosis dating from 2017 to 2022. These cases were not previously linked to this company’s products, but Old Europe Cheese decided to do this voluntary recall in order to avoid any risk to their customers

The Company has decided to voluntarily initiate the product recall based on these results and with a focus on their consumers’ health. The source of potential contamination has been identified and Old Europe Cheese is taking active measures to eliminate it. Production of these products has been stopped and will not restart until the Company has full confidence in the effectivity of the applied measures.

The company is working closely with state and federal authorities and with its clients to make this voluntary recall as fast and efficient as possible. The quality and safety of our products is our number one priority. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused by this situation. Old Europe Cheese’s top priority is the health of our customers.

In case you are experiencing Listeria monocytogenes symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, it is important to report it. It can help to detect & resolve outbreaks early and prevent others from being harmed, and it enables better surveillance. If symptoms persist, seek medical care.

Company name: Old Europe Cheese, Inc.
Brand name: Multiple
Product recalled: Brie and Camembert Cheeses
Reason of the recall: Listeria monocytogenes
FDA Recall date: September 30, 2022

Source: fda.gov
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