Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Food Safety Tips for Pregnant Women; TABC and Spring Break

Eating out means eating right. In the midst of food recalls and multi-state foodborne illness outbreaks, the injunction has never been truer—especially for pregnant moms, who must be particularly careful of what they eat because of their compromised immune systems.

That is not to say of course that moms should stop going to Taco Bell or KFC (most restaurants now require a food safety certification or a food handler certification as an employment requirement) and make do with home cooking all nine months.

The operant phrase is “stay safe.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers some safety tips:

Eats clean

Appearances matter—and so do first impressions. If the place does not look clean or is not clean, the kitchen probably is not either. Seriously consider dining elsewhere. If the place passes the first-impression test, make sure you wash your hands with soap and warm water before dining. Use alcohol wipes as an alternative.

Check out the menu

Always be food vigilant, particularly if you are pregnant. Make sure you know what you are about to eat and how they were prepared. Raw food (sushi, for instance) should always ring alarm bells. Raw food isn’t necessarily exotic food though; it can be food as commonplace as bean sprouts.

Well done is well done

For pregnant moms, thoroughly cooked food is the safest food, especially if the order consists of meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. A hot meal does is not piping hot should be sent.

More tips at FDA’s website at:
While moms-to-be play safe, alcohol-imbibers-to-be this spring break get to be safe at play, thanks to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC).

The commission is set to put a damper on traditional alcohol-fueled revelry on Texas beaches this spring break, but parents and the public in general aren’t complaining. The potential showstoppers (for college students, at least) are two apps being developed for the TABC: an app that will help alcohol-imbibing users to gauge their motor skills; and an app that will allow anyone to file a complaint with the TABC against an establishment suspected either of serving alcohol to a minor or of overserving alcohol.

Of course, consumers and the public have long benefitted from TABC certification, alcohol server certification, and alcohol training, industry initiatives that have protected the community against the consequences of alcohol abuse.

“Our focus is on risk-based enforcement,” clarified TABC spokeswoman Carolyn Beck. “We’re looking for the sources, not just combing the beach for random people drinking.”

The governor’s office’s criminal justice division is providing funds for the development of the apps—a two-year grant totaling $430,000. It represents the largest spring-break-related grant that TABC has received. TABC said that as of Jan. 31, it had spent $155,800 on development, on distribution of educational materials, and on funding enforcement efforts.

“We’re always trying to balance public safety and public service,” Beck pointed out. “You can apply it specifically to spring break because the local economy depends upon that influx of consumers, and to keep that influx you have to keep it safe and fun.”
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