Thank you for asking this question!
Unpasteurized (raw) milk can be harmful and Stop Foodborne Illness recommends avoiding raw milk and raw milk products completely whether it is bought from a store or a local farmer. Unpasteurized milk has significantly higher counts of bacteria than pasteurized milk. If left unrefrigerated (or outside), bacteria can freely replicate. While children, elderly, and immunocompromised individuals have a greater risk, healthy individuals can also become infected. Drinking raw milk could very likely cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, and stomach cramping that lasts days. In some cases of raw milk consumption, individuals have suffered from life-threatening illness and even death.
Mari is a woman who led an active life, was a registered nurse and sought to be as healthy as possible. Read about her personal experience battling Campylobacter after consuming raw milk.
Even for healthy individuals, I personally always advise against consuming unpasteurized milk. Raw milk can carry harmful bacteria such as Campylobacter, Listeria, and E. coli. In pasteurized milk, harmful bacteria are killed off and are not a concern. However, these pathogens all pose a threat when it comes to raw milk.
Refrigeration is a key part of keeping the food we eat safe because it prevents bacteria that may be present from increasing quickly. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises consumers not to leave food (including pasteurized and unpasteurized milk) requiring refrigeration out of the fridge for longer than 2 hrs. Additionally, food should not be left outside longer than 1 hr if the temperature is higher than 90 °F. The longer the food is left unrefrigerated, the greater the risk becomes.
If you have specific concerns, you should contact the farmer before consuming their milk. Otherwise, check out this article or contact me if you would like additional information or have any follow-up questions.
If your loved one is not showing any signs or symptoms of a foodborne illness, such as vomiting and diarrhea, then there is no need to visit an ER or urgent care facility. Without signs or symptoms, it is unlikely that doctors will be able to accurately treat your loved one. I would not recommend a stomach pump procedure. Not only is it an extremely unpleasant procedure that involves sticking multiple tubes down one’s throat, it is also mainly used for acute poisoning cases, not foodborne illnesses. Additionally, chances are, your loved one’s immune system and gut microbiome are strong enough to fight off any unsavory pathogens that were present in the unrefrigerated food.
It is important to note that it can take days or in some cases weeks after pathogen exposure for a foodborne illness to manifest. However, most foodborne illnesses set in within 4 – 24 hours on average.
For now, I would recommend you watch for symptoms. If they begin to feel ill, ensure your loved one is well-hydrated and follow a bland food diet, such as the BRAT (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) diet, for the duration of their illness. If the illness persists for longer than 1 day or if you notice severe symptoms, such as a high fever (above 103°F for adults, above 101°F for children) or bloody diarrhea, seek medical attention.
If your loved one is under the age of 5, older than 65, pregnant, or has a compromised immune system, it is especially crucial to carefully monitor their symptoms and illness severity. These groups have a higher risk of getting sick and developing a more serious illness.
Q: My family is at high risk so I have been shopping thru home delivery services. Unfortunately I keep getting products that have tears or rips in it. I just got 3 loaves of bread. 1 had a rip by the top where the twisty thing has it closed. (Target shopper was probably too rushed to be careful). I hate throwing away food. I was wondering if it could sometimes be safe to eat some of that food. Would it be safe to throw out the bread slices near the rip and eat the rest?
Thanks for the question!
Fresh spinach leaves do retain more water than frozen spinach. Part of the reason for that is because frozen spinach is often blanched before it undergoes freezing. Blanching helps kill harmful bacteria and reduces loss of flavor, color and texture. During this process though, the spinach does lose some water. With that in mind, freshly blanched spinach and frozen spinach is a better comparison. In this case, the water content is not significantly different and is about the same.
One advantage frozen spinach has over fresh spinach is that it retains more nutrients and folate. Though fresh spinach initially has more nutrients than its frozen counterpart, it begins to lose these nutrients as it is transported from the farm to the market. During this time, fresh spinach loses enough nutrients that frozen spinach ends up having more. This is because the spinach is blanched and frozen shortly after harvesting which essentially freezes it in time.
As can be seen, both fresh and frozen spinach have their benefits. When debating on which type to use, it really just depends on what you plan on cooking and what will work better for that recipe!
Thanks for the question. Knowing how to wash your dishes safely and properly is important to maintaining health and hygiene.
When handwashing dishes, many people think that hot water is necessary to kill bacteria. However, the water temperature needed to kill bacteria would be much too hot for our hands to handle. With that in mind, I recommend washing your dishes with warm water and dish soap. Warm water helps loosen residual food left on the dishes, leads to more effective cleaning since the food bacteria would use to survive is washed away, and is gentler on the hands!
One important part of the dishwashing process that people often forget about is their sponges. Sponges absorb water and can have food stuck in them. As a result, bacteria can grow extensively in them. Replace your sponge every two weeks and wash your sponge after every use. There are also ways to sanitize your sponge/scrubber that you can look into! For instance, microwaving sponges kills 99.99999 percent of bacteria present on them, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). You can learn more here.
For drying, I would recommend air-drying your dishes. Just ensure that water is draining from your rack. Lingering moisture will allow bacteria to grow. Drying your dishes with a towel would be fine as well, as long as you’re using a clean towel. However, if your towel has been used, even minimally, towel drying can cause cross-contamination and spread bacteria and other pathogens, like fungi, around your dishes. So, make sure you have different towels for drying dishes and for hands!
Please feel free to reach out to me with any other questions or concerns!