Raw Fruit And Vegetables Better For Your Mental Health Than Canned Produce

DUNEDIN, New Zealand — Here’s one more way to ensure stronger mental health: get your fruits and veggies from the produce section at the grocery store, and not the canned foods aisle. Researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand found that raw fruit and vegetables have more a positive effect on mental health overall than canned, cooked, and processed produce.

Public Health campaigns in New Zealand and many developed countries push healthy quantities of fruits and vegetables, making no distinction between cooked and raw. But researchers found that the difference between how produce is prepared and consumed makes an even bigger difference for mental health outcomes.

“Our research has highlighted that the consumption of fruit and vegetables in their ‘unmodified’ state is more strongly associated with better mental health compared to cooked/canned/processed fruit and vegetables,” says lead author Kate Brookie, a psychology PhD student at the university, in a statement.

Co-author Dr. Tamlin Conner, a psychology senior lecturer, adds that the cooking and processing of raw fruits and vegetables can reduce natural nutrients.

“This likely limits the delivery of nutrients that are essential for optimal emotional functioning,” she says.

The researchers surveyed 400 young adults from New Zealand and the United States between the ages of 18 and 25. This age group was chosen because of their statistical preponderance for not consuming enough fruits and vegetables in their diets, and because this demographic is at a generally higher risk of mental health problems.

The researchers assessed study participants’ typical consumption levels of raw and cooked produce, along with positive and negative mental health and lifestyle variables for their demographic. Mental health outcomes were measured in terms of exercise, unhealthy diet choices, sleep regularity, chronic health conditions, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and gender.

“Controlling for the covariates, raw fruit and vegetable consumption predicted lower levels of mental illness symptomology, such as depression, and improved levels of psychological wellbeing including positive mood, life satisfaction and flourishing. These mental health benefits were significantly reduced for cooked, canned, and processed fruits and vegetables,” says Conner.

As for which raw fruits and vegetables were found to have the strongest link to improved mental health, the researchers put together this top 10 list: Carrots, bananas, apples, dark leafy greens such as spinach, grapefruit, lettuce, citrus fruits, fresh berries, cucumber, and kiwifruit.

The study was published April 10, 2018 in Frontiers in Psychology.


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Annabel Crabb’s glass noodle salad with prawns and pink grapefruit | Food

A Vietnamese-style salad can be everything to everyone: changeable according to preference, perfectly sufficient as a main course, but brilliant as an accompaniment too.

I think it’s what I would eat for the rest of my life if I had to narrow it down to one dish. You can use rice vermicelli here, no problems, but I love the transparent bean thread “glass” noodles for their beauty, and because they don’t break down in the dressing so much, making them a hardier leftover.

The Vietnamese-style dressing is jazzed up with a little grapefruit juice, and the whole thing is given crunch by the ubiquitous crispy fried shallots that are never far from any dish in that part of the world; available in packets or jars from Asian grocers, these will keep virtually forever in an airtight container.

Making this salad is much quicker if you have an implement that makes short work of julienning papaya or apple. For years, I wandered the globe unable to find exactly the right thing, but recently I found one at an anonymous stall in my local shopping centre. I take it on holidays, it’s so good – like a mandoline but with square raised grating parts that produce matchstick-sized julienne. If you have not had this brush with grateness (see what I did there?), use a mandoline to achieve thin slices, then a sharp knife to cut them into matchsticks. Use a plain box grater if you absolutely must, but the sliced version will be neater and bruise the fruit less.

Glass noodle salad with prawns and pink grapefruit

20 raw prawns, peeled, butterflied and deveined
200g dried glass noodles (bean thread vermicelli)
2 ruby red grapefruit
2 spring onions, cut into fine matchsticks
2 large red chillies, thinly sliced
1 green papaya (or green apple), cut into fine matchsticks
large handful of coarsely chopped mint
large handful of coarsely chopped coriander
crispy shallots, to garnish

First, cook the prawns. The simplest way is to boil them very briefly in salted water, until they’re pink and just firm. It will take about a minute – do not let them overcook, or it will be like dealing with long-abandoned beach thongs. Drain and set aside to cool.

Put the noodles into a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Give them a stir and monitor them as they soften. When they’re tender and ready to eat, drain, then rinse under cold running water. By all means be guided by the packet instructions (if there are any), but in my experience glass noodles can be awfully fickle, so keeping tabs on them as they soften in the hot water is the best way.

Take the grapefruit and – with a sharp knife – cut off the peel and pith. This will involve a small sacrifice of flesh (the grapefruit’s, not yours), as you want all the pith to be gone, leaving you with a beautiful pink globe marked only with the divots where the membranes run between the fruit’s segments. With your knife, cut along these membranes so as to extract perfect wedge-shaped segments. Do this over a bowl to catch the juice.

Dressing
3 tbsp ruby red grapefruit juice (from segmenting the fruit, above – see method)
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp tamari sauce
2 tbsp grated palm sugar
2cm ginger, finely grated

Once you’ve cut all the segments out, you will be left with a sadly deflated handful of membrane. Squeeze this over the bowl. When you’ve done this to both grapefruit, you will have the juice for your dressing.

Speaking of which: whisk all the dressing ingredients together until the palm sugar has dissolved.

Now assemble the salad. I like to do this in a big bowl, adding most of the dressing to the slippery noodles and making sure they’re all covered before adding the prawns, grapefruit, spring onions, chillies and papaya, and most of the coriander and mint. Once everything’s in, add more dressing if you think it needs it, then decant the finished salad into a large shallow serving dish. Finish with the rest of the coriander and mint, and a scattering of crispy shallots.

Special Guest by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe



Special Guest by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe. Photograph: Murdoch Books

Notes

Make it even easier: use pre-cooked prawns

Make it vegan
Toss some slices of firm tofu in cornflour seasoned with salt and white pepper. Fry until crisp, then slice into the salad, in place of the prawns. Leave out the fish sauce in the dressing and add more tamari to taste.

DIY crispy fried shallots
If you’re super-keen, you can make these yourself by thinly slicing shallots (the bulbous, brown-skinned kind) and crisping them in hot oil. Drain well, then store in an airtight container and use within a couple of days.

  • This is an edited extract from Special Guest, by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe (Murdoch Books, $39.99). Next week, Sri Lankan butternut and cashew curry

New dairy feed option excites farmers at Voi fair : Farmers Tv


A Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation researcher explains how the feed blocks boost nutrition for dairy cattle. [Renson Mnyamwezi, Standard]

Esther Egwa, a dairy keeper in Voi, Taita Taveta County, has a reason to smile.

Ms Egwa is among local dairy farmers who have benefited from a nutritious dairy feed option dubbed Molasses-Urea Mineral blocks (MUMBs). It is a cost-effective feed supplement that improves dairy productivity.

The technology showcased at the first-ever Taita Taveta ASK Trade Fair was developed by the USAid on a pilot basis as a new and improved drought survival strategy.

The project targets farmers in the county and its neighbouring ones.

The innovation was in line with the show’s theme ‘Promoting technology in agri-business and trade’.

Farmers crowded the KALRO stand where researchers were explaining the benefits and how they can get hold of it.

The feed blocks are given to livestock as a supplement lick and not as the main ration.

What are the benefits?

Before she embraced it, Ms Egwa says she incurred heavy losses during the dry spell as her animals succumbed to death due to hunger. But the feed supplements came in handy during those dry spells.

Egwa, 43, says milk production from her two dairy cows increased from three litres to 12 litres per day.

“With these nutritious blocks, I am assured that my cows will not die during seasons of scarcity. I have also seen improved milk production in my dairy cattle since the animals started feeding on these blocks,” she gave her experience at the show ground.

Egwa, a mother of six, says her income has also increased now that the milk volumes are higher.

Seed capital

Another beneficiary of the project, Haginson Mwakio, a farmer in Taita Hills also speaks highly of the project.

The 42-year-old dairy farmer says one of his cows increased milk yields from three to five litres per day during the dry spell.

“The project has served me well and all farmers should embrace it,” says the father of three.

Egwa and Mwakio are among the farmers who received the first batch of free feed blocks donated by KALRO, which is spearheading the USAid project at Bachuma, on trial basis. According to KALRO researchers, for maximum benefits, the blocks should be fed as a lick, hanged or placed in a rack so that the top surface is accessible to animals.

This prevents animals like sheep, goats and cattle from pushing the blocks around, breaking them up or consuming large chunks that could cause urea toxicity.

The feed blocks are given to the animals after they have already consumed adequate forage.

This prevents animals from consuming too much blocks at a go says the KALRO researchers.

Food security

“MUMBs should never be used as the animal’s main source of feed. They are only meant to supplement a regular diet of forages,” says KALRO Bachuma Centre manager Margaret Syomiti.

Syomiti says the aim of the project is to enhance food and nutrition security through increased production and promotion of agribusiness.

Raw materials

The beauty of it is that the raw materials are readily available.

Ms Syomiti says the central by-products of the blocks include wheat bran, maize germ, rice bran, molasses, urea, mineral premixes, common salt, limestone and natural binder.

She says the feed blocks provide supplemental nitrogen, minerals and energy to ruminant livestock during prolonged drought.

She adds that the blocks enable ruminants to take better advantage of poor quality forages. Other benefits include improving digestibility of other basal diets including poor quality feeds, increase growth rate in young animals and low worm burden.

The manager says the feed blocks also increase milk production by up to 30 per cent and also improve animal’s fertility/conception rates.

How to make it

The equipment used to prepare the feed blocks includes concrete mixer, moulds, buckets and a drum.

“The blocks can sustain the livestock until it rains. It service as a good intervention for animals in dry prone areas,” say one of the officials Joseph Nginyi.

To start off, one pours 40 litres of water in a concrete mixer and add 10 kilos of urea in the running concrete mixture. Run the mixture until all the urea is dissolved.

Farmers should ensure there are no urea lumps in the mixture to prevent poisoning and over dose in livestock.

One is required to put 10 kilos of a natural binder such as cement, limestone or bentonite in a bucket and slowly mix in 3 litres of water until a homogenous paste is obtained.

Next, one should pour this into running mixture and add three kilos of common salt.

Take the measured 30 kilos of molasses and put in the running mixture, use two litres of hot water to rinse the cement and molasses containers and add this to the mixture.

Next, add 40 kilos of wheat bran or any other bulking agent such as maize germ and put this in the concrete mixture. Let the mixer run until thick paste is homogenous. The resulting paste is ready for moulding into any preferred shapes and sizes.

The paste is able to make between 35 to 40 feed blocks of 2.5 kilos.

The feed blocks should be left in the sun for about two hours. After this, they should be removed from the sun and left indoors for 1-2 weeks depending on weather conditions.

In the final stage, the well dried feed blocks are packed in well labeled gunny bags with an inside plastic lining. This also prevents any further contamination during storage.

A feed block cost Sh200. The block can be consumed by one animal for a week.

More about the project

Other than dairy solutions, other interesting ideas showcased at the show include poultry solutions and Coastal products like coconut and macadamia value addition. With fishing being a major economic activity in the region, fishing techniques and solutions were also featured in some stands.

Local farmers also showcased their animals and their agricultural products during the event. There were indigenous vegetable and kales demonstrations farms despite the region experiencing a long spell of drought.

Farmers also showcased bulls and goats that provide seamen and meat.

There were also layers and broilers including fish ponds.

County executive for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Davis Mwangoma described the show as a first of its kind.

He said the county had not held such an exhibition for more than 20 years.

Dr Mwangoma says agricultural sector remains the backbone of the county’s economy.

CDC warns, ‘say no to raw dough

CDC warns, ‘say no to raw dough.’/ Photo: Danielle Ledbetter

For some, the holiday season comes with baking tons of cookies.

The CDC warns ‘say no to raw dough’ because the raw dough may contain harmful bacteria.

According to Environmental Health Specialist Justin Smith, there are two main sources for the bacteria.

One, the untreated flour may have E. coli and the raw eggs in the dough may have salmonella.

When the dough bakes, the potential E. coli and salmonella dies from the high temperatures, according to Smith.

If you eat contaminated raw dough, Smith explains what may happen to you.

He says, “Symptoms are primarily gastrointestinal. you can experience vomiting, diarrhea and a variety of other symptoms as well.”

If you feel sick after eating raw cookie dough, Smith suggests go to the doctor and contact your local health department.

Thai restaurant in Squirrel Hill reopens after 3-day closure prompted by raw sewage leak

Updated 3 hours ago

A Thai restaurant in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood cited for a slew of health violations in recent months has been cleared to resume prepping lunches for university students after a three-day shutdown prompted by raw sewage runoff next to a walk-in cooler, public health records show.

Sun Penang, which operates out of a facility at 5829 Forbes Avenue, had its health permitting status temporarily revoked on Friday, then reinstated on Monday after resolving most violations, Allegheny County Health Department reports show.

Multiple calls to the restaurant were not returned.

The health department ordered Sun Penang to stop all food preparation and shut down Friday because of an “imminent health hazard,” a broken drain line resulting in raw sewage flooding the facility’s basement. An inspector arrived to find the owner scrambling “to snake and clear the drain himself using rented equipment,” the Dec. 7 report said.

The drainage problem resulted in 2 to 4 inches deep of dirty water and sewage blocking access to a walk-in cooler, the report said. Dirty water could be seen inside the cooler, though all food was off the floor and stored on wire shelves, the report said. A plumber was called and fixed the issue before the inspector left.

The restaurant’s owner told inspectors that the drainage backup happened after Friday’s boxed lunches were prepared and delivered to nearby campuses.

Sun Penang has been undergoing renovations and closed for months to diners while its primary customers have been university students.

Last month, the health department issued a consumer alert for Sun Penang after officials found a rat’s nest and fresh droppings on food storage shelves during a Nov. 30 inspection. Officials cited the restaurant for violations across several categories, including cooling and holding food at proper temperatures, cross contamination, ventilation, maintenance, pest management and cleaning and sanitization.

RELATED: Sun Penang restaurant in Squirrel Hill cited for rat’s nest, fresh droppings

Food contact surfaces, equipment, shelves, the interior of a walk-in cooler and the outside of a freezer were “all encrusted with debris and grime,” with “blood, grime or condensate observed inside all coolers” and mold found in the basement cooler, the report said. The bar cooler, in an area shut down for remodeling, was shut off but never cleaned out and still contained rotten food and maggots that officials already had observed during a Nov. 15 inspection, county officials said.

In June, inspectors cited the restaurant for operating mobile units at Carnegie Mellon University without proper permits and holding food at unsafe temperatures.

A consumer alert does not require a food provider to close.

Most of Sun Penang’s health violations had been corrected as of this week. In a report dated Monday , Sun Pengang received satisfactory remarks for cleaning and sanitizing all equipment and floors as well as the walk-in cooler interior. Among changes, the owner said that going forward, the facility will hire pest control professionals more regularly and the grease trap will be cleaned every quarter rather than every six months.

The health department asked the owner to save sales records for its bulk deliveries of boxed lunches to local universities for a possible audit. The restaurant also was ordered to refrain from serving food at unsafe temperatures in unpermitted vehicles.

County officials plan to conduct a follow-up inspection on Jan. 10.

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter @NewsNatasha.

How to safely eat cookie dough

  • The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a warning against eating raw cookie dough.
  • Despite its potential dangers, people still want to eat it.
  • To safely eat cookie dough, consider making it yourself using safe recipes or buying edible cookie dough from brands like and Edoughble.

Bad news for anyone who likes to make homemade cookies mostly so they have an excuse to eat raw cookie dough right out of the bowl: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a warning against eating raw cookie dough that they don’t want people to ignore.

As holiday cookie season closes in on us, the CDC wants to remind everyone that raw cookie dough can potentially cause dangerous health issues, no matter how tasty it may be. There are two ingredients in it that could make you sick: raw eggs and raw flour.

Raw eggs can carry the bacteria salmonella, which can cause severe food poisoning that has symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, and makes about 1.2 million people in the United States sick every year. Even though raw flour may seem harmless, it can also carry germs that can make you sick, like E.coli.

Your best bet to avoid these illnesses? Avoid raw cookie dough altogether. If you can’t imagine a life without the delicious taste of the stuff, you’re in luck: There are lots of edible cookie dough options out there that taste just as good as the real stuff, if not better.

Below are a few ways to safely get your raw cookie dough fix.

As Climate Changes, Is Eating Raw Oysters Getting Riskier? : The Salt : NPR

Thomas “Uptown T” Stewart (left), has been shucking oysters at Pascal’s Manale restaurant for more than 30 years, about as long as Paula (middle) and Brent Coussou have been going there.

Travis Lux/WWNO


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Travis Lux/WWNO

Thomas “Uptown T” Stewart (left), has been shucking oysters at Pascal’s Manale restaurant for more than 30 years, about as long as Paula (middle) and Brent Coussou have been going there.

Travis Lux/WWNO

Former North Dakota lawmaker Rae Ann Kelsch died last month at age 58 after eating raw oysters at a New Orleans restaurant. The alleged culprit: a fast-moving bacterial infection — linked to consuming raw or undercooked shellfish — that caused her organs to shut down.

The place where Kelsch ate oysters has not been publicly released.

Oysters have long been a trademark of southern cuisine, but they also pose health risks for some.

“There’s always going to be a small amount of risk,” says Dr. Fred Lopez, who studies infectious disease at Louisiana State University’s Health Sciences Center.

Lopez says the biggest danger comes from a pervasive bacteria called Vibrio vulnificus, which is what reportedly killed Kelsch.

Vibrio vulnificus naturally thrives in brackish waters where the temperature is above 68 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, it’s actually more common in the Gulf of Mexico, where the waters are warmer, than on the East and West coasts.

“If you’re consuming a raw oyster that comes from the Gulf Coast waters … particularly in the summer months,” says Lopez, “You have to assume that it has Vibrio vulnificus.”

Thomas “Uptown T” Stewart is the famous oyster shucker at the New Orleans restaurant Pascal’s Manale. Stewart has worked at the restaurant for more than 30 years, and he knows his clients well. It seems like he’s always shouting “What’s happening, y’all?” to people walking through the front door.

Stewart’s side of the bar is covered by a pile of raw oysters and ice. One by one he digs them out, pries open the shells with a knife and frees the meat with effortless speed.

Brent and Paula Coussou are on the other side of the bar. They’re each nursing a beer, and there’s a row of empty oysters between them. They say they’ve been coming to the restaurant for as long as Stewart has been working there.

“This guy here’s the best. The best,” says Brent Coussou.” I mean, I’ve been to a lot of places and it’s just, his oysters are very clean. He doesn’t have any chiplies in his oysters.”

That may not be an official term, but he’s referring to those crunchy bits of shell that sometimes get slurped down with the raw oyster.

Coussou heard the news about the politician who died, but he’s not worried. He says he’s never gotten sick.

Although many oysters are exposed to Vibrio vulnificus, they aren’t dangerous to everyone. People with specific pre-existing health problems are most vulnerable.

That list includes liver disease, diabetes, kidney disease, alcoholism and cancer. Generally speaking, people with weakened immune systems are the most at risk. Lopez says those people shouldn’t eat raw oysters — period.

“They can eat shellfish,” he says. “They just need to make sure that they’re thoroughly cooked — boiled, fried, steamed, etc.”

Proper cooking kills the bacteria completely. All things considered, Vibrio vulnificus infections are still very rare.

But when people with weakened immune systems are infected by Vibrio vulnificus, anywhere from one-third to one-half of those people die.

“That’s a very high mortality rate,” says Lopez.

That’s why there are very strict regulations around oyster harvesting. The Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC) sets those regulations for the Food and Drug Administration.

“Probably, shellfish and milk are the two most regulated foods in the country,” says Ken Moore, Executive Director of the ISSC.

There’s an old adage, that you should only eat raw oysters in months with an “R.” September through April — basically the cooler months. So this isn’t a new idea.

Moore says regulations have tightened over the last 10 years or so. For example, during the warm summer months, oysters that are meant to be eaten raw must be refrigerated within an hour of harvesting. He says it’s had a positive effect.

“We’ve actually seen a reduction in [raw oyster Vibrio vulnificus] cases,” Moore says. “We think that the controls that we have in place are actually keeping those numbers low.”

Dr. Alex Billioux agrees. He’s the assistant secretary for Louisiana’s Office of Public Health.

“It is very, very rare to become ill from eating oysters,” says Billioux.

And though infections from raw oysters are down, Billioux says the amount of Vibrio vulnificus in the water is actually increasing due to warming waters.

“I definitely expect our jobs to become harder as the waters continue to warm because of climate change,” he says.

That could mean more testing, scrutiny, and risk in the future.

“I think that’s sort of the big point when we start talking about the climate change effects,” Billioux says. “It really can touch everything.”

This story comes to us from member station WWNO in New Orleans. Support for the Coastal Desk comes from the Walton Family Foundation, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Foundation for Louisiana and local listeners. You can listen to the audio here.

Orange juice, leafy greens and fruit could be good for a man’s memory

NEW US research has found that men who include vegetables and leafy greens, orange juice, and fruit in their diet may benefit from a lower risk of memory loss as they age.

Carried out by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, the new large-scale study looked at 27,842 men with an average age of 51.

Participants were asked to complete questionnaires about how many servings of fruits, vegetables and other foods they had each day at the start of the study, and then again every four years for 20 years.

They were then categorised into groups depending on their fruit and vegetable intake.

The group who ate the highest amount of vegetables ate around six servings per day, compared to around two servings for the lowest group. For fruits, the highest group ate about three servings per day, compared to half a serving for the bottom group.

A serving of fruit is defined as one cup of fruit or ½ cup of fruit juice, and a serving of vegetables is considered to be one cup of raw vegetables or two cups of leafy greens.

The researchers also tested the participants’ thinking and memory skills at least four years before the end of the study, when they the average age of the group was 73.

The findings, published in the journal Neurology, showed that people who ate larger amounts of fruits and vegetables at the start of the study were less likely to develop thinking and memory problems later in life, even if they were not eating larger amounts around six years before the memory test.

In addition, the team also found that the men who ate the most vegetables were 34% less likely to develop poor thinking skills than men who consumed the least amount of vegetables, while the men who drank orange juice every day were 47% less likely to develop poor thinking skills than men who drank less than one serving per month.

The men who ate the most fruit each day were also less likely to see a decline in their thinking skills, but the researchers found that this association was weakened after taking into account other dietary factors that could affect the results, such as consumption of vegetables, fruit juice, refined grains, legumes and dairy products.

“One of the most important factors in this study is that we were able to research and track such a large group of men over a 20-year period of time, allowing for very telling results,” said study author Changzheng Yuan, ScD. “Our studies provide further evidence dietary choices can be important to maintain your brain health.”

However, the researchers pointed out that the study does not show cause and effect, only that there is a relationship between eating fruits and vegetables and drinking orange juice and a reduction of memory loss. – AFP Relaxnews

Ho, ho, ho — don’t eat raw cookie dough: CDC

The holidays are upon us and for many that means family time in the kitchen preparing delicious baked goods and maybe even licking the spoon before the cookies go into the oven. So the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put out a warning this week to, “Say No To Raw Dough!”

Dr. Todd Ellerin — who admits he doesn’t bake — said it’s the raw flour and uncooked eggs that can make us sick.

The Director of Infectious Diseases at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, Massachusetts and an instructor at Harvard Medical School says,

“People may not be aware that flour is not treated to destroy bacteria and there have been outbreaks of a certain type of E. coli linked to the ingestion of raw dough,” said Ellerin, director of infectious diseases at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, Massachusetts and an instructor at Harvard Medical School.

In 2016, an outbreak of E. coli infections linked to raw flour made 63 people sick.

Ellerin warned that “complications of this type of E. coli can include bloody diarrhea, need for prolonged hospitalization, and kidney failure, breakdown of red blood cells that carry oxygen.”

Additionally, raw eggs that are used to make raw dough or batter can contain a germ called salmonella that can make you sick if the eggs are eaten raw or not cooked enough.

Like untreated flour, eggs are safe to eat when cooked and handled properly.

“Baked good are delicious, but only once they come out of an oven,” said Elisa Strauss, the celebrity baker and author of “The Confetti Cakes Cookbook: Spectacular Cookies, Cakes and Cupcakes from New York City’s Famed Bakery, and “Confetti Cakes for Kids.”

As part of her culinary education she had to learn about food safety.

“I’m all about the fun and taste of baked goods, but I don’t eat raw batter and I don’t allow my children to eat raw batter either,” said the mother of three.

Kim Powers is the senior writer for ABC News’ 20/20 and the published author of three books, but his true love may be baking.

“I basically got into baking so I could lick the bowl first. I did it first decades ago, when I’d lick the spoon when my mother was baking,” he said.

“Now, I have a Kitchen Aid mix-master of my own, and have graduated to licking the entire bowl,” said Powers, the reigning, two-time baker-of-the-year for the annual ABC News office cookie bake off.

“It takes me back to good memories of childhood. That’s worth the risk of a little salmonella!”

We should point out that the CDC says Salmonella symptoms typically include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. In most cases, illness lasts 4 to 7 days and people recover without antibiotics. Illness from Salmonella bacteria can be serious and is more dangerous for older adults, infants, and people with weakened immune systems.

Dr. Ellerin wants people to have a nice holiday season and doesn’t want to ruin Kim’s fun in the kitchen, but has a wish for one and all, “We are used to hearing Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas, but in the kitchen as we are preparing to make cookies, it should be Ho Ho Ho, please avoid the raw dough!”

Eric M. Strauss (@ericMstrauss) is the Managing Editor of the ABC News Medical Unit and the older brother of Elisa Strauss.

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service offering food storage tips for severe weather

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is issuing food safety recommendations for those possibly impacted by a severe winter storm moving through the southern U.S. (File Photo)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is issuing food safety recommendations for those possibly impacted by a severe winter storm moving through the southern U.S.

The National Weather Service reports that a strong storm system crossing the Southwest early Friday morning will likely take a southerly track across the southern plains to the South and then to the southeastern U.S. coast through the weekend. Snow and freezing rain is forecast in eastern New Mexico and the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles by late Friday and continuing into early Saturday.

Heavy rain is forecast across Southeast Texas. The rainfall rates are expected to be high at times, increasing the threat of flooding. Flash flood watches are in effect for this region. A slight risk of excessive rainfall exists through Saturday night for the central Gulf Coast region.

Through late Sunday, a swath of accumulating snow and ice is expected to extend from eastern Oklahoma to the southern Appalachians. Winter storm watches are now in effect from the Texas Panhandle to the Ozarks of northern Arkansas, as well as for the southern Appalachians and adjacent Piedmont region.

Winter storms present the possibility of power outages and flooding that can compromise the safety of stored food. Residents in the path of this storm should pay attention to the forecast. FSIS recommends that consumers take the following steps to reduce food waste and the risk of foodborne illness during this and other severe weather events.

Steps to follow in advance of losing power:

  • Keep appliance thermometers in both the refrigerator and the freezer to ensure temperatures remain food safe during a power outage. Safe temperatures are 40F or lower in the refrigerator, 0F or lower in the freezer.
  • Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags or small containers prior to a storm. These containers are small enough to fit around the food in the refrigerator and freezer to help keep food cold. Remember, water expands when it freezes, so don’t overfill the containers.
  • Freeze refrigerated items, such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately—this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
  • Know where you can get dry ice or block ice.
  • Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours.
  • Group foods together in the freezer—this ‘igloo’ effect helps the food stay cold longer.
  • Keep a few days’ worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling.

Steps to follow if the power goes out:

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if the door is kept closed. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
  • Place meat and poultry to one side of the freezer or on a tray to prevent cross contamination from thawing juices.
  • Use dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible during an extended power outage. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days.

Food safety after a flood:

  • Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water—this would include raw fruits and vegetables, cartons of milk or eggs.
  • Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those packaged in plastic wrap or cardboard, or those with screwcaps, snap lids, pull tops and crimped caps. Flood waters can enter into any of these containers and contaminate the food inside. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home-canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
  • Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheeltype can opener.

Food safety during snow and ice storms:

  • During a snowstorm, do not place perishable food out in the snow. Outside temperatures can vary and food can be exposed to unsanitary conditions and animals. Instead, make ice by filling buckets or cans with water and leave them outside to freeze. Use this ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator or coolers.

Steps to follow after a weather emergency:

  • Check the temperature inside of your refrigerator and freezer. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40F for two hours or more.
  • Check each item separately. Throw out any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture or feels warm to the touch.
  • Check frozen food for ice crystals. The food in your freezer that partially or completely thawed may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is 40F or below.
  • Never taste a food to decide if it’s safe.
  • When in doubt, throw it out.