Lettuce gets a bad rap, but cooks need to clean up their actBy Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vegetables-and-food-safety/MY02371
- With Mayo Clinic nutritionists
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.read biographyclose window
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.Katherine Zeratsky and Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer K. Nelson, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.N.S.D.
Jennifer Nelson is your link to a better diet. As specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, she plays a vital role in bringing you healthy recipes and meal planning.
"Nutrition is one way people have direct control over the quality of their lives," she says. "I hope to translate the science of nutrition into ways that people can select and prepare great-tasting foods that help maintain health and treat disease."
A St. Paul, Minn., native, she has been with Mayo Clinic since 1978, and is director of clinical dietetics and an associate professor of nutrition at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
She leads clinical nutrition efforts for a staff of more than 60 clinical dietitians and nine dietetic technicians and oversees nutrition services, staffing, strategic and financial planning, and quality improvement. Nelson was co-editor of the "Mayo Clinic Diet" and the James Beard Foundation Award-winning "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook." She has been a contributing author to and reviewer of many other Mayo Clinic books, including "Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody," "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and "The Mayo Clinic/Williams Sonoma Cookbook." She contributes to the strategic direction of the Food & Nutrition Center, which includes creating recipes and menus, reviewing nutrition content of various articles, and providing expert answers to nutrition questions.
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, she is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She's active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
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Feb. 13, 2013
Lettuce gets a bad rap, but cooks need to clean up their act
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
Eat your greens! Just be sure to wash them first.
Food safety is often overlooked. Most of us shop at grocery stores with beautiful presentations of bounties of food. We forget that the food was grown or raised elsewhere, was handled by many hands and traveled through varying temperatures to arrive in our kitchens. Conditions are right for bacteria already present on food to multiple, as well as for new bacteria to join the crew.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a report on illnesses and deaths from foodborne illnesses. The statistics are startling and a sobering reminder of the importance of food safety.
Over 9 million people are sickened by foodborne illnesses each year, according to the report. Over 50 percent of the illnesses were from plant foods, with leafy greens being a primary host. A close second is poultry.
Sadly for thousands of people each year, this is more than stomachache or flu-like symptoms. Foodborne bacteria and toxins are serious and can lead to hospitalizations and death for the very young and the very old, as well as people with weakened immune systems.
What can you do to protect yourself? Don't forgo leafy vegetables or lean poultry! Instead, remember these words: Clean. Separate. Cook. Chill.
- Clean. Before and after handling food, wash your hands, your kitchen surfaces, including your sink, refrigerator, and preparation areas. All produce should be rinsed produce running water (no need for detergents or special washes).
- Separate. Don't let meat juices leak onto other foods. Keep produce and meat and fish separate in the cart and in the refrigerator. Use separate cutting boards and/or clean prep area and knives for produce and meat.
- Cook. Use a food thermometer. Heat and reheat food to proper internal temperatures.
- Chill. Don't leave food at room temperature for longer than 1-2 hours. Use shallow containers to quickly allow foods to reach 40 degrees or less in the refrigerator or freezer.
What are your thoughts about food safety? Will you change your food shopping, preparation or storage habits to keep yourself and your family safe from foodborne illnesses?
To your health,
- Attribution of Foodborne Illnesses, Hospitalizations, and Deaths to Food Commodities by using Outbreak Data, United States, 1998-2008. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/3/11-1866_article.htm. Accessed Feb. 11, 2013.
- Check your steps. FoodSafety.gov. http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/basics/index.html. Accessed Feb. 11, 2013.
- Tips for fresh produce safety. FoodSafety.gov. http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/types/fruits/tipsfreshprodsafety.html. Accessed Feb. 11, 2013.