Happy New Year ... Is it 2014 Already?
Welcome to CFSAN's News for Educators — the at-a-glance bi-monthly e-news from FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition! This first issue of the new year highlights proper food storage during those long winter nights; offers updated information regarding trans fat in processed foods; and provides important safety news about hair dyes and relaxers. Don't miss the current list of upcoming meetings and events from FDA!
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Mid-Winter Comfort Food:
Store Leftovers Properly!
Chilly nights often call for giant pots of soup, or pasta sauce that simmered on the stove or in the crockpot for hours. These winter warm-ups can be hearty and satisfying — and they often yield big batches! So remind consumers that when dinner hour is over, it's important to store leftovers properly and promptly to ensure that these foods stay safe. Share these easy yet critical tips:
Refrigerate Promptly. Leftovers need to be refrigerated or frozen within two hours. Despite what some people believe, putting hot food in the refrigerator does not harm the appliance — but to help hot food cool faster, divide leftovers into smaller containers before refrigerating. And remember: Any leftovers that were left unrefrigerated/at room temperature for more than two hours should be discarded.
Keep Containers Covered. Store refrigerated foods in covered containers or sealed storage bags, and check leftovers daily for spoilage. Use a refrigerator thermometer to ensure that food stays at 40 °F or below.
Clean the Fridge Out Frequently. In addition, wipe up spills right away to help prevent cross-contamination and reduce the growth of the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria (which can grow at refrigerator temperatures).
Encourage consumers to learn more about storing refrigerated foods safely and the importance of a refrigerator thermometer for the prevention of foodborne illness.
Update on Trans Fat
Since the 1940s, partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) — the major dietary source of industrially-produced trans fats in processed foods — have been widely used to increase the shelf life and flavor stability in foods. In 2006, FDA required that trans fat be listed on the Nutrition Facts Label due to certain health concerns; thereafter, many food manufacturers and retailers began to voluntarily decrease trans fat levels in foods and products they sell. Now, new changes may be affecting the use of trans fats in foods. Brief consumers on these important facts:
Trans Fat Increases Risk. Consumption of trans fat raises low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol in the blood, which can increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States — and in fact, CDC estimates that removal of PHOs from the food supply could prevent an additional 7,000 deaths and up to 20,000 heart attacks each year.
FDA is Responsible for the Safety of the Food Supply. As a result, FDA has issued a Federal Register notice with its tentative determination that PHOs are no longer "generally recognized as safe" based upon new scientific evidence and expert scientific panels. If this preliminary determination is finalized, foods containing PHOs could no longer be sold legally in the U.S. without a food additive regulation from FDA authorizing their use in food.
In the meantime: Read the Label! PHOs can be found in some processed foods, such as certain desserts, microwave popcorn, frozen pizzas, margarines, refrigerated dough products, ready-to-use frostings, and coffee creamers.
When comparing foods, look for trans fat on the Nutrition Facts Label. For the most healthful choice, keep trans fat consumption as low as possible!
Check the Ingredient List on a food package for partially hydrogenated oils. Under current regulations, the Nutrition Facts Label can state "0 grams trans fat" if the food product contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. If partially hydrogenated oils are listed, the food product might contain small amounts of trans fat. Selecting foods with even small amounts of trans fat can add up to a significant intake.
Encourage consumers to learn more about trans fat in the diet and to learn about the history of trans fat labeling and the role of ingredients that are “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by FDA.
A New 'Do for the New Year?
FDA Urges Caution
For many Americans, the New Year can mean new resolutions, a new to-do list... and sometimes, a new look! Some consumers may be considering coloring or straightening their hair to welcome 2014 "in style" — but FDA urges consumers to get the facts before using hair dyes and hair relaxers. Share these important tips with your constituents:
Know the Product. Hair dye is used to color your hair. Hair relaxers are used to make your hair straight. Both hair dye and hair relaxers can hurt your skin, hair, and eyes, especially if you are not careful. Some of these problems can be prevented.
Read the Label. No matter what kind of hair product you use, follow directions carefully. Pay attention to all "Caution" or "Warning" statements.
Report Any Problems. Tell FDA if you experience rash, hair loss, or other problems after using hair dyes and hair relaxers. Report problems to MedWatch, FDA's problem-reporting program, online or at 1-800-332-1088, or the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.
Encourage consumers to learn more about hair dye and relaxers, including the different types, possible risks, and important safety precautions.
For More Information
Society for Public
March 19 - 21, 2014
March 27 - 30, 2014
(NSTA) Annual Conference
April 3 - 6, 2014
April 8 - 10, 2014
CFA Food Policy
April 22 - 23, 2014
of Obstetricians and
April 26 - 30, 2014