Can I Eat It?: Edible vs. Non-Edible Cake Decorations

Cake decorations with their attractive colors–and often shiny appearances– help make celebrations even more fun; especially during the holidays.  However, not all decorations are safe to eat.   The Food and Drug Administration has prepared a publication entitled To Eat or Not to Eat: Decorative Products on Foods Can Be Unsafe which provides guidance to consumers to help determine if cake decorations are edible or not.  In addition, this publication provides important reminders to commercial bakers that need to be adhered to in order to help keep consumers safe. 

A good rule of thumb to remember is that if you can’t determine for sure if a decoration is safe to eat, then, please don’t.

Best wishes for safe and happy holidays for you and yours!

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Employee Health Awareness Is on the Rise in Cobb and Douglas!

About 200 food service managers and operators have taken and passed our Employee Health and Hygiene quiz since it began in September.  Please take some time to check out the growing list of foodservice establishments in Cobb and Douglas that have been designated as Employee Health Achievers on our website.  While there, you can also learn how your facility can be added to the list!

S-A-L-U-T-E to our newest achievers!

WHAT’S THAT TEMPERATURE?

by Parish Divinity, EHS

As the holiday season approaches and new menu items start appearing, emphasis is again placed on the proper cooking of foods.  Time and temperature control for safety foods that require cooking are considered “cooked” only after they have been heated to the minimum cook temperatures designated for the particular food item.  This minimum cook temperature must be reached in order to kill harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli 0157.  Color and texture alone won’t tell you whether your food is done. Instead, use a food thermometer to be verify the food’s internal temperature.   When checking the temperature of food, always check the temperature in at least two locations, and at least one of those temperatures should be measured in the thickest part of the food (if applicable).

Test your knowledge by taking this short Minimum Internal Cooking Temperatures Quiz provided by ServSafe.

SAFE COOKING TEMPERATURES

A recent increase in reports of undercooked meat and poultry received by our Environmental Health Office prompts this reminder about the importance of cooking these foods to their correct minimum food temperatures.  Food borne illnesses that can result from undercooking these foods (such as Salmonella and E. coli O157) can be very serious—even life threatening.  Not only is proper temperature monitoring important, but you must take into consideration any change in the portion size of the food that is being cooked.  Additionally, kitchen equipment that is being used to cook food and monitor temperatures should be properly maintained and calibrated to assure that they are working properly.

For instance, if the size of the hamburger patty received from the supplier has increased, the cooking time and heat settings on equipment will normally need to be adjusted in order to meet the minimum cooking temperatures required for food safety.  Food service operators and consumers can check out the FoodSafety.gov guide to Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures to review the minimum safe cook temperatures for a variety of foods that can support the growth of bacteria if mishandled.

Foodborne Illness Testimonials

by Casey Saenz, Environmental Health Specialist 3

Recently, at a monthly staff meeting, our Food Program Manager Karen Gulley played for us a video testimonial regarding a case of food poisoning that led to a fatality.  After the video, she said something that was very important for all of us to hear.  She mentioned that sometimes, we, as inspectors, forget the importance of the risk factors for foodborne illness that are assessed during inspections.  Since we check various food service facilities on a daily basis, it is important that we don’t minimize the importance of what we do to help prevent foodborne illness by allowing what we do to become too routine.  This is as important—if not more important– for operators of food service facilities to keep in mind.

Since September is Food Safety Education Month, I thought this would be a good opportunity to share a few foodborne illness testimonial videos to help remind all of us about those that count on us to keep their food safe and the importance of food safety.

Foodborne Illness Testimonial Videos Link:

https://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/ucm608193.htm 

More testimonials can be viewed here:

https://goo.gl/XVm6AX

Happy Food Safety Month!