Store Thanksgiving leftovers safely and quickly

Liz Szabo writes in tomorrow’s USA Today that a Thanksgiving cook’s work doesn’t end when mealtime begins.

Douglas Powell, associate professor of food safety at Kansas State University says people need to slice and refrigerate leftover meat within no more than two hours of taking the turkey out of the oven, adding,

"As soon as dinner is done, you better go deal with that turkey.”

Lynne Ausman, a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science at Tufts University in Boston, agrees.

"The worst thing you can do is let everyone sit at the table with the turkey there," Ausman says.

To get leftovers cold quickly, cooks should slice meat off the carcass, wrap it in individual plastic bags and refrigerate as soon as possible, Powell says. And be careful not to stack bags on top of each other, because that can trap heat.

"You need to expose more of the surface area so it cools faster," Powell says. "Otherwise, the cool fridge air won’t get to the warm areas of the turkey."

Powell also recommends refrigerating rice — another bacterial hot spot — as soon as possible.

Certain bacteria can proliferate in food at room temperature, producing a toxin that can’t be killed by reheating in the oven or microwave, Ausman says.

For example, a church turkey dinner Nov. 6 in Arkansas City, Kan., sickened at least 159 of the 1,800 people who attended, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Victims suffered diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping and vomiting. One was hospitalized.

Websites on stickers so consumers know where their food is from: still a cool idea 10 years later

Eat Me Daily looks like a decent enough food blog that found a chicken producer doing what I told the Ontario greenhouse vegetable growers they should be doing 10 years ago: if not marketing food safety directly, at least provide information for those who care, in the form of a url that the inquisitive type could follow up on at home.

So we were at the grocery store this weekend, and came across a Murray’s Chicken with a sticker on it with a Farm Verification code, offering to let us "find out where this chicken came from and learn more about the family that raised it." … It even hooks into the Google Maps API to show you exactly where the farm is on a map. … Our code, 0289, revealed that our chicken was raised at 1020 Alvira Rd in Allenwood, PA 17810 by David Bowers. Hats off to you Mr. Bowers, that was one tasty chicken.

I agree with Eat Me Daily. Awesome. And one day, I will be cool.

Websites on stickers so consumers know where their food is from: a cool idea 10 years later

About every 10 years I, briefly, become cool, at least in my own mind.

In high school in the late 1970s, I played air bass in an air band called Tone Deaf for one memorable performance. I should have stuck with it; 30 years later, kids are shelling out millions to play air whatever in Guitar Hero.

In 1991, Nirvana came out with grunge, Canadian Neil Young was the godfather and my closet of plaid shirts otherwise known as Kenora dinner jackets was all the rage.

Today, Canadian Press predicted that in 2009, products from apples to chicken will carry codes purchasers can enter into a website for sourcing details. When I started working on the on-farm food safety program with the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers back in 1998, I said, hey, you growers are doing this great food safety stuff, you should at least put a url on those stickers so those shoppers who want to know can find out all about your great food safety program.

Guess it wasn’t cool enough.

Trying to make food safety cool — International Food Safety Network year in review

We’re on a mission to make food safety a pop-culture phenomenon.

We is the International Food Safety Network — my lab (iFSN)  — and we provide research, commentary, policy evaluation and public information on food safety issues.
I edit three of the four daily listservs that are distributed to over 13,000 direct subscribers in some 70 countries (Ben Chapman has been editing AnimalNet since early in 2007). That information is redirected to millions around the world. The International Food Safety Network website was moved to ,in Jan. 2007 (a significant undertaking). A new website,, was created this year, as well as, with 550 posts since May 1, 2007, an average of almost 2 posts per day, and attracting over 100,000 visitors since May, 1.

In Feb. 2007, my previous institution, the University of Guelph, in Canada, decided — unilaterally — not to continue a partnership with Kansas State, and eliminated access to my staff and funds that I had established in Guelph (about $750,000). They even tried to shut down the web site, but I’d already moved it. Over the course of 2007, I have replaced five full-time research assistants and several part-timers paid out of Guelph with 12 part-time undergraduates at K-State and elsewhere, and one graduate student. You’ve heard from some of them in the past week; you’ll hear from the rest in future weeks. The quality and diversity of the students I have been able to attract has been invigorating to the entire iFSN operation. Let the hacks and posers fight over what is left; I’m moving forward.

iFSN had more media exposure than ever in 2007, with some 450 media hits, including the N.Y. Times, L.A. Times, Washington Post, USA Today, CBS Evening News, and repeatedly quoted in every major U.S., Canadian and Australian media outlet, as well as a few others. We were quoted on The Late Show with David Letterman and advised people to use their front porch as a cooler when the power goes out.

We gave talks all over the world, for various groups, including the National Restaurant Association, Walt Disney World, and dozens of public health groups and scientific societies.

Based on the primary activities listed in the chart below, I spend each and every day (including Sat., Sun. and holidays) editing 36 news items, posting 4 listservs, composing two blog posts, doing one or two media interviews, distributing a commentary once or twice a week, and giving a talk and editing an infosheet almost once a week. In my extra time I teach, apply for research grants, supervise research and graduate students, recruit undergraduate students, and write scientific papers.

We need your support to continue doing what we do. Give often, give a lot, at

Or contact me directly,

Have a great year

Doug Powell