Just the facts. From the experts.
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Raw Egg in Egg Nog - Is It Safe?

11/25/2013

With the holidays come celebrations where food is the main event. But don't forget the drinks - especially egg nog! One Best Food Facts reader noticed a lot of egg nog recipes that call for raw eggs and wanted to know whether this is safe. We contacted Washington University's Director of University Nutrition, Connie Diekman, to find out.

True? Or Not? "Large farms are bad for the environment."

Manure from farm animals when used as fertilizer improves soil and increases crop yields. It can become a pollutant if it reaches water supplies.

Farm animal production in the United States has clearly shifted away from many small farms to an increasing number of larger farms. It takes several small farms to equal the manure production of a single large farm. On the large farm, the manure management responsibility lies with only one management system instead of several.

True? Or Not? "Food from organic and free-range farm animals is safer than animals raised in modern confinement buildings."

The popularity of organic and other niche-market products has increased in recent years primarily boosted by consumer perceptions that they are healthier and of higher quality. There is limited scientific data to support or refute the safety of such products.

Studies have found that pathogen prevalence is actually higher in niche market/ free range antibiotic-free farm animal production systems compared to conventional confinement operations.

True? Or Not? "We will experience a bacon shortage in 2013."

When the National Pig Association of the United Kingdom sent out a press release warning of a worldwide pork and bacon shortages in an effort to prepare consumers in the UK for higher pork prices, the story spread quickly on social media in the U.S. prompting dramatic media reports of an impending bacon shortage.

What’s in Chicken Nuggets?

10/30/2013

Researchers in Mississippi recently tested chicken nuggets from two national fast food chains. They took one nugget from each restaurant and examined the ingredients. The result was that about half of the nuggets were muscle with the rest a mix of fat, blood vessels and nerves. Close inspection revealed cells that line the skin or internal organs. The second was 40 percent muscle and the remainder was fat, cartilage and pieces of bone.

Is this unusual? Is it a safety concern? We took these questions and others to Dr. Casey M. Owens at the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science at the University of Arkansas.

True? Or Not? "Regular use of antibiotics in healthy cows, pigs and chickens has led to increased antibiotic resistance in humans eating meat products."

Are antibiotics in livestock to blame for increased antibiotic resistance in humans?

True? Or Not? "Meat from grass-fed cattle is safer than meat from cattle that are fed corn."

Experts conclude that there is no greater level of meat safety from cattle fed grass versus those fed corn.

True? Or Not? "The well-being of farm animals on larger operations is disregarded in the pursuit of higher profits."

The question is often asked by critics of modern animal agriculture but the size of the farm is not a reliable indicator of animal welfare. Research shows good animal husbandry has more to do with the people providing the care.

Small and large farms present different challenges, but both require skilled and conscientious management to promote good animal care. While there are fewer animals on a small operation, time spent caring for the animals must be juggled with various tasks. On larger operations...

True? Or Not? "Organic food is better for your health than non-organic food."

For the average American consumer, the term "organic" has a positive connotation and the beneficial properties of organic foods may be misinterpreted or exaggeratedSurveys indicate many proponents of organic food production look beyond the final product to consider factors such as environmental impacts, worker safety, and economic considerations which are not related to organic production standards. U.S. consumers frequently have the choice between purchasing organic and conventional foods and make food purchasing decisions that reflect their values, concerns, and lifestyles.

Are There Growth Hormones in Milk?

10/16/2013

Recently, Best Food Facts received a reader comment asking which brands of milk contain growth hormones. To answer this question, we reached out to Dr. Ann Macrina, Research/Teaching Associate at Penn State University. Dr. Macrina previously answered questions about hormones in milk.

Should I Be Concerned about Salmonella in Chicken?

10/9/2013

The U.S Department of Agriculture recently issued a public health alert, saying it has linked some raw chicken products produced in California to a salmonella outbreak. We went to Dr. Scott Hurd, DVM, Associate Professor and Director of the Food Risk Modeling and Policy Lab at Iowa State University and a former USDA Deputy Undersecretary, for insight.

What Food Safety Guidelines Should I Follow When Cooking Chicken?

10/7/2013

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) reminds consumers of the critical importance of following package cooking instructions for frozen or fresh chicken products and general food safety guidelines when handling and preparing any raw meat or poultry. All poultry products should be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165° F as determined by a food thermometer. Using a food thermometer is the only way to know that food has reached a high enough temperature to destroy foodborne bacteria.

Is Tilapia Safe to Eat?

9/24/2013

Recently, Best Food Facts received a reader question asking, "Is tilapia safe to eat? I've heard that it's often farm raised in countries where there are no guidelines, and they are essentially raised in waste and pumped full of antibiotics."

To answer this question and learn more about tilapia, we reached out to Kevin Fitzsimmons, PhD, Professor, Extension Specialist & Research Scientist at the University of Arizona

Why are Chemicals Used in Poultry Processing?

9/13/2013

We know chemicals are used in food processing, including poultry. What does it mean for the safety of our food? 

ABCs of Food: D is for Dairy

8/15/2013

If you have questions about dairy, Best Food Facts experts can help. They’ve tackled some of the most common dairy myths to help separate fact from fiction.

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