Food Safety

The Best Way to Sanitize Your Kitchen Sponge Is Not What You Think — Food News

Kitchen sponges are notorious for being bacteria-ridden. By some estimates, they are dirtier than toilet seats. Strains of germs range from campylobacter, salmonella, and staphylococcus to E. coli and listeria.

Yuck.

"That thing is very dirty," Philip Tierno, a microbiologist and pathologist at the New York University School of Medicine, tells Tech Insider. "Mainly because you're cleaning up vegetables, carcasses of meat, and all sorts of food stuff that can potentially contain pathogenic [disease-causing] bacteria that will grow in numbers over time."

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5 Things to Know About Freezer Burn — Freezer Intelligence

Have you ever opened up your freezer to find that your once red beef is looking a little brown? Or taken a pint of ice cream out only to discover the top is covered in ice crystals? Freezer burn happens to the best of us. Here's what you should know.

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7 Signs Something Has Gone Bad in the Freezer — Freezer Intelligence

The freezer can be a lifesaver — the perfect place for leftovers you can't finish any time soon, in-a-pinch meals for the family, and sweet treats for hot summer days. And according to the USDA, food kept consistently at 0°F will always be safe — it's just the quality of the food that will suffer (read: It will be OK to eat, but it might not necessarily have the taste or texture you like).

That being said, not everyone's freezer is 100 percent consistent, and the temperature can fluctuate if you're opening the door a lot, or if you live in an area that frequently loses power. Here are some signs that something might have gone bad. (Note: None of them involve tasting something to find out!)

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Salmonella Outbreak in Papayas Has Left 47 (and Counting) Sick — Food Recall

Before you purchase your next papaya, take a quick peek at its label to ensure you aren't at risk of contracting a salmonella infection. A specific variety of the fruit — Maradol papayas, of the Caribeña brand — has been linked to a salmonella outbreak in 12 states. Nationwide, the outbreak has left 47 ill: 12 cases were so severe the patients were hospitalized, and one case in New York City was fatal.

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Can You Eat Something That Has Freezer Burn? Here’s What the USDA Says. — Freezer Intelligence

Picture this: You're doing your weekly grocery shop and there's a great deal on a family pack of chicken thighs. And now that you're looking in the meat section, you were thinking maybe you'd have a cookout this weekend and the ground beef is on sale. And you might as well stock up on buns because, well, it's summer and you always need buns.

Somehow you walk out of the store with more than enough to feed you, your family, and then some. You're still feeling pretty good though — until you get home and you are hit with that sinking feeling that comes from knowing that you can't possibly eat everything before it goes bad. No worries, though, right? That's what the freezer is for.

But what if those thighs come out covered in ice and freezer burn? Are they still safe to eat? We investigated.

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Here’s How Long Everything Will Last in Your Freezer: A Quick Guide — Freezer Intelligence

As long as your freezer is working at its optimal level, keeping food consistently at 0°F, the food inside will be safe to eat indefinitely. There's no safety concern with anything that's been properly frozen. The real issue is just how much you'll actually enjoy it, as some foods might not have the taste or texture you prefer when eating something a year later.

Not willing to risk eating leathery meat? We don't blame you. Luckily, there are plenty of official guidelines that can help you figure out if something's been in the freezer for too long. Just make sure you label your groceries before you stash 'em away, so you can count up the months.

Related: The Most Important Tool for an Organized Freezer

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