The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released new recommended cooking temperatures for meats. Here’s what you need to know to make sure your meat is free of harmful bacteria such as E. coli:
- Cooking Whole Cuts of Pork: USDA has lowered the recommended safe cooking temperature for whole cuts of pork from 160 ºF to 145 ºF with the addition of a three-minute rest time. Cook pork, roasts, and chops to 145 ºF as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source, with a three-minute rest time before carving or consuming. This will result in a product that is both safe and at its best quality—juicy and tender.
- Cooking Whole Cuts of Other Meats: For beef, veal, and lamb cuts, the safe temperature remains unchanged at 145 ºF, but the department has added a three-minute rest time as part of its cooking recommendations.
But E. coli isn’t limited to meat. Vegetables that are grown with infected manure or washed with infected water can make you sick. You can also get the infection by swallowing water from a swimming pool that is contaminated with human waste.
E. coli is a type of bacteria that lives in your intestines. Most strains of E. coli are harmless, but certain types can make you sick. E. coli also lives in the intestines of animals, especially cows, and can contaminate muscle meat during slaughter.
To prevent E. coli infections, cook meat well, wash fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking them, and avoid unpasteurized milk and juices. Make sure to wash your hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat in order to prevent cross-contamination.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health is celebrating women’s health this week. It brings together communities, businesses, government, health organizations, and other groups in an effort to promote women’s health. The theme for 2011 is “It’s Your Time.” National Women’s Health Week empowers women to make their health a top priority. It also encourages them to take steps to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases. Those steps include:
- Getting at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity, or a combination of both, each week
- Eating a nutritious diet
- Visiting a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings
- Avoiding risky behaviors, such as smoking and not wearing a seatbelt
- Paying attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress
Order FREE Dear Abby “Healthy Moms Advice Kit”: Get practical tips on hay fever, depression, keeping food safe, getting a good night’s sleep, HPV (human papillomavirus), and other topics. You can order the kit in printed form or view an online version of the publications.
The National Women’s Health Information Center (NWHIC): The NWHIC is a useful resource that offers free women’s health information on hundreds of topics through their call center and website (http://www.womenshealth.gov/). Women can help improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases through regular checkups, preventive screenings, and more. The NWHIC can be reached at the address listed below.
Phone: 1.800.994.WOMAN (1.800.994.9662)
National Women’s Health Information Center
8270 Willow Oaks Corporate Dr.
Fairfax, VA 22031
Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET
Applications and technology make it easier to communicate critical information about the flu and its impact. The folks over at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are looking for an innovative use of technology to raise awareness of influenza and/or educate consumers on ways to prevent and treat the flu.
The CDC is challenging the tech-savvy among you to use CDC datasets and create new ways to use technology to combat influenza, be it for:
- the web
- a personal computer
- a mobile handheld device
- any platform broadly accessible to the open Internet.
Applications that best satisfy the competition criteria will receive cash prizes up to $15,000, and the opportunity to have their apps featured on the CDC website. Applicants are encouraged to mashup CDC data with any other publicly-accessible data feeds from around the web, and to be creative in exploring approaches for realizing the goals.
For more information, visit http://fluapp.challenge.gov/