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Good article to get your students talking about the food safety areas of
Meats Evaluation.

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From: U.S. Pork Center of Excellence <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Subject: Food Safety Fanaticism Came From Seeing Aftermath of Food Borne
Illness
To: [log in to unmask]


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   *Food **Safety **Fanaticism Came From Seeing Aftermath of Foodborne
Illness*

*Cathy Cutter *
*Assoc Professor and Food Safety Extension Specialist - *
*Muscle Foods; **Chair of Food Safety Impact Group*
*Penn State University *

I admit it…I am a food safety fanatic.  Some of my family members and
friends give me a hard time about my fanaticism.  They tease me about my
use of thermometers when cooking or grilling meat (especially at
tailgates), cooling hot foods quickly in ice baths, frequent handwashing,
or that I constantly wipe down surfaces with antimicrobial wipes or sprays
to
prevent cross contamination.

Why am I passionate about food safety? Because, I have seen how devastating
a foodborne illness can be--not only for the individual who is affected by
the illness, but also for the family, especially when a loved one passes
away. This aspect is even more compelling when one considers that that
foodborne illness is preventable, yet requires a farm-to-fork approach to
be effective. So, how does one implement food safety in pork from
farm-to-fork?

First, understanding how microorganisms make their way into
the live animal and development of control measures on the farm is critical
to reducing the pathogen load in pork products. That’s why pre-harvest food
safety measures are so important. Working with veterinarians to improve
swine health, as well as implementing a pork quality assurance program and
other on-farm measures, are known to reduce pathogen prevalence in live
pigs.

At slaughter, post-harvest food safety measures require processors to:
follow regulatory requirements, institute proper dressing procedures, apply
antimicrobial interventions, instill good manufacturing practices
throughout the plant, and develop and implement comprehensive HACCP and
sanitation plans.  In ready-to-eat (RTE) pork operations, it’s important to
cook pork thoroughly, cool cooked products quickly, and prevent
contamination of cooked products with *Listeria monocytogenes* before
packaging.

At the food service, retail, and institutional level, food handlers must be
vigilant and practice the basic tenants of food safety: keep cold foods
cold and hot foods hot, prevent cross contamination, maintain cleanliness
in work areas, wash hands frequently, and cook pork products to the proper
internal temperatures using a calibrated meat thermometer.

While farmers, processors, and food handlers are instrumental in preventing
foodborne illnesses in pork products, consumers also have a role to play.
Following the above-mentioned tenants is essential to ensuring the safety,
quality, and maximizing the shelf life of fresh, further processed, and RTE
pork products.

The Pork Safety domain seeks to provide processors, food handlers, and
consumers with easy-to-use food safety factsheets and videos.  The ultimate
goal is to provide
information to ensure a safe and wholesome pork product that everyone can
enjoy. Remember, food safety is in everyone’s hands!

*View the Factsheets in Cathy Cutter's *
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