Holidays Are Here Again!
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 end-of-year issue reiterates the importance of food safety during the holidays; gives quick tips for using the Nutrition Facts Label when prepping for celebrations; and covers the important topic of “claims” on skin products. Don’t miss the current list of upcoming meetings and events from FDA!
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An Unwanted Gift!
When preparing for holiday gatherings, food safety should always remain top of mind. In fact, consumers play a large role in protecting their families, friends, neighbors and colleagues throughout the season of special gatherings! Remind them to keep bacteria at bay with these simple party practices:
Clean and Separate. Be sure to wash hands before and after preparing and serving food; wash utensils and cutting boards in hot soapy water, and keep raw foods separate from ready-to-eat foods.
Keep Hot Foods Hot and Cold Foods Cold. Cook foods to the right internal temperatures – check them with a food thermometer! Ensure that hot foods stay at 140 °F or warmer – try using chafing dishes and slow cookers if serving buffet-style. Place cold foods that will be kept out for more than 2 hours on ice, and discard any perishables left at room temperature for more than 2 hours (including leftovers).
Don’t Eat Raw Ready-to-Cook Foods. Cookies are a holiday favorite, but whether packaged or made from scratch, raw cookie dough and other ready-to-cook foods can harbor foodborne bacteria and should not be eaten until cooked to the proper temperatures.
Encourage consumers to check out FDA’s Holiday Food Safety video for detailed information on safe preparation and serving during holiday season.
New Label Regulation for Gluten-Free Foods
A holiday season can be challenging for many, as the abundance of celebrations can make it hard to resist traditional rich foods and goodies. But there are some simple ways consumers can continue to make smart nutrition choices (like limiting fats and sodium) when preparing holiday meals.
Make healthful menu choices. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products, seafood, and lean cuts of meat and skinless poultry and try baking, steaming, grilling or broiling instead of frying. For snacks, pick those that contain healthier fats, such as unsalted nuts and seeds, olives and avocados.
Eat your veggies…and fruits and whole grains, too. These are naturally low in fat and sodium. To limit sodium from processed foods, opt for fresh, frozen (without sauce), or low sodium or no-salt-added canned vegetables.
Consider fats when cooking and baking. Choose monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like canola oil and olive oil (liquid or spray) instead of solid fats, like solid shortenings, butter or lard. And, switch from stick margarine to soft margarine (liquid, tub, or spray).
Add flavor without adding sodium. Use herbs and spices instead of salt to add flavor to your foods. Try rosemary, oregano, basil, curry powder, cayenne pepper, ginger, fresh garlic or garlic powder (not garlic salt), black or red pepper, vinegar or lemon juice, and no-salt seasoning blends.
Encourage consumers to learn more about ways to manage/reduce fats in general in Talking About Trans Fats. Handy tips for recognizing levels of sodium and reducing sodium intake can be found in Sodium: Look at the Label.
Claims about Skin Products
It’s that time of year when friends, neighbors and families gather together for festive celebrations – and often wish to look their best, and perhaps even “turn back the clock.” It’s not uncommon for shoppers to purchase creams and lotions that promise to reduce, or even reverse, the toll of time on their skin. But consumers need to know that when a product makes claims of this type, they are actually making “drug claims” that may not have been authorized by FDA. Consider these facts:
Cosmetics and drugs are defined differently. According to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, a cosmetic is a product designed for “cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance.” A drug, on the other hand, is a product “intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease,” or “intended to affect the structure or any function of the body.”
Drugs must be approved by FDA. Products that claim to make certain changes to the skin or treat disease must be evaluated by FDA before a company can legally market them. While the law does not require FDA approval of cosmetics before they go on the market, drugs are subject to FDA review and approval before they can reach store shelves.
Consumers should be cautious about products that claim exaggerated or unsubstantiated results. These could include such “promises” as boosting production of collagen and elastin for firmer skin, reducing wrinkles, or offering surgical-type benefits (such as immediate lifting/lasting repositioning of skin) or to extend the results of a Botox injection.
The law does not require cosmetic products, ingredients, or labeling to be approved by FDA before marketing. Similarly, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates advertising, and cosmetic ads don’t undergo FTC approval before they appear. So, it’s especially important to be an informed consumer.
One role of FDA is to ensure that cosmetic products are safe and properly labeled. People can be smart cosmetics consumers by understanding the background on cosmetic labeling and claims.
For More Information
November 7 - 9, 2013
Association for Middle
November 7 - 9, 2013
December 12 - 14, 2013