Apr 05, 2020 2:03 PM

CDC offers options for DIY face masks

Posted Apr 05, 2020 2:03 PM

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now recommend that everyone wear face masks when out in public to help slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Following is information from the CDC concerning homemade cloth face coverings.

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Apr 05, 2020 2:03 PM
K-State expert shares Easter food safety tips
Peter Biela from Pixabay" />
While you may not be able to have the whole family over for Easter dinner this year, you still need to follow safe food handling practices for whatever meal you fix. Image by Peter Biela from Pixabay

MANHATTAN – There is, perhaps, nothing that spoils a holiday meal more than an unwanted guest.

Foodborne illness is one of those that is not welcome at the dinner table. Kansas State University food safety specialist Karen Blakeslee says that keeping you and your family healthy this Easter is a matter of handling foods safely in the kitchen…starting with what is often the centerpiece of the meal.

So while you're practicing social distancing, washing your hands for 20 seconds, etc., also be sure to practice safe food handling.

“Be sure to read the label to know what type of ham you are purchasing, either fresh or ready-to-eat,” said Blakeslee, coordinator of the university’s Rapid Response Center, a resource for food safety information. “Fresh ham labels will detail cooking instructions, and the label may state ‘cook thoroughly.’”

She added that ready-to-eat ham can be served out of the package or reheated in the oven at 325 degrees F until the internal temperature reaches 140 F.

Fresh, or cook-before-eating, hams must be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 F at an oven temperature of 325 F. Blakeslee said a timetable for cooking ham is available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

For a fun twist on the holiday ham, Blakeslee suggested cooking outside on the grill, if weather permits. “Ham, lamb and other meats that are grilled can add extra flavor to your Easter meals,” she said.

Ham should be eaten or stored within two hours after heating.

Blakeslee said popular cold foods like salads and egg dishes should be kept cold, below 40 F, until ready to serve. “Mayonnaise in salads is very acidic and likely not a foodborne illness issue,” she said. “But it’s the other ingredients, such as potatoes, eggs, chicken or pasta that can allow bacteria to thrive if handled poorly or temperature abused.”

With the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the news, Blakeslee said there is no scientific evidence that the virus can be transferred on food.

“There are no reports at this time of human illness that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging,” she said. Regardless, “please use safe food handling practices; clean, cook, separate and chill to keep your food and yourself safe. And follow the guidelines in your area for recommendations on social gatherings.”