Diabetes and Chronic Illness - Fresh Tips on Food Safety

Ellie Wilson

MS, RDN Manager, Lifestyles and Wellness

Living well with a chronic health issue like diabetes is challenging. Prevention is key – enjoying foods that support good blood sugar control and following medication directions enhance long-term health and quality of life. To maximize the benefits of better food choices, be sure good food safety practices are on the menu.

The immune system protects health best when your body is well-nourished. Following food safety and nutrition care guidance should support good diabetes management and healthy immune systems. Diabetes may impact immune function by weakening immune system response, and slowing down digestion, allowing bacteria on food to multiply. Once infection has begun, it can be very difficult to treat. Adults 65 and older with diabetes can be especially vulnerable. Check out the tips and tools you can use to ensure you and your family can navigate successfully prevent food safety concerns.

Know Foodborne Illness Symptoms and Get Medical Care Quickly

Foodborne Illness Symptoms can worsen diabetes/all chronic illness symptoms, including elevating blood sugar and risk of dehydration. If you suspect foodborne illness, call your healthcare provider, or seek emergency care immediately.

Smart Shopping

  • Many shoppers use recycled bags for packing groceries. Be sure to wipe these out or wash them each time you unpack them, with antibacterial wipes or spray and clean paper towels.
  • Meat, seafood and fresh produce should be bagged before placing in a cart or shopping bag, so they don’t become cross-contaminated. If your grocery store limits plastic bags, bring your own clean bags to place foods in – clear bags allow for scanning prices and safe handling.
  • Purchase pasteurized eggs and dairy products and use best-by and sell-by dates to ensure food purchases are fresh.
  • Read labels to be sure foods will meet your needs for enjoyment and diabetes management.

Smart Storage and Prep

  • Go directly home – if travel time is extended, use insulated bags and/or coolers to maintain food temperatures.

As soon as possible after shopping or grocery delivery, get chilled and frozen foods put away safely.

Cool tools available in the grocery store to keep food safe:

  • Clean shopping bags, reusable ice packs, insulated shopping bags, and coolers.
  • Appliance thermometer for the refrigerator – store food at 40 degrees F or lower.
  • Cooking thermometer – find temperature charts to ensure foods are cooked to safe serving temps.
  • Easy-clean plastic cutting boards (some are color-coded for meat, seafood, produce). Use clean knives and utensils while preparing foods, and do not reuse utensils, bowls or plates that have had raw food contact.
  • Hot, soapy water, bleach and antibacterial wipes assist with cleaning cutting boards, utensils, and shopping bags.
  • Moisturizing hand soap – keeping hands clean and skin in good condition are both important to diabetes management. BONUS – Good handwashing reduces risk of of flu, pneumonia, COVID-19, and other high-risk infections for those with chronic health conditions.
  • Store raw and cooked foods safely in regularly cleaned designated refrigerator sections. If any items are damaged or have any indication of spoilage, don’t hesitate to discard. Follow the food safety mantra of “When in doubt, throw it out!”

Stay up to date on food safety issues by checking the webpage, and downloading the food safety app. Find more resources there and at the Partnership for Food Safety website.

References

 https://extension.umd.edu/resource/food-safety-persons-diabetes

https://www.fda.gov/food/people-risk-foodborne-illness/food-safety-older-adults-and-people-cancer-diabetes-hivaids-organ-transplants-and-autoimmune

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Maureen Murphy, Manager Consumer Trends, Nutrition and Lifestyles

Cast iron pan on black background I fondly remember my grandmother’s well-seasoned cast iron pan, and the wonderful foods prepared in it. For many years I wanted one, but up until several years ago I was under the mistaken impression that cast iron still required a lot of care. An incredibly useful tool in the kitchen, cast iron is ideal for searing meats, retaining heat, and can go from stovetop to oven so you can even bake in it! Once upon a time, cast iron skillets had to be seasoned before using for the first time, whereas today they are pre-seasoned in the factory making them ready for use after a quick rinse and thorough dry. Thanks to these tips from Lodge, maker of cast iron cookware, it’s easy to keep cast iron looking and performing well. Over time cast iron may begin to look dull, grey or get rusty, and when that happens re-seasoning the pan will bring it back to life. Just follow these easy steps: A cast iron skillet and griddle are now two of my most prized kitchen tools. Add cast iron to your cookware arsenal, and discover the love of cast iron cooking! https://www.pricechopper.com/recipes#/11783 https://www.pricechopper.com/recipes#/14403

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Keep Your Food and Family Safe This Summer!

food safety blog.jpg After a long winter and cool spring, temperatures are finally warming up making everyone eager for outdoor picnics and barbecues. While these temperatures are ideal for that, they also provide a perfect environment for bacteria and other pathogens in food to multiply rapidly and cause foodborne illness. You can help prevent harmful bacteria from making your family sick by avoiding the “Danger Zone” and following the “Core Four”. The Danger Zone:  temperature range between 40°F and 140°F Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often Separate: Don’t cross-contaminate   Chill: Refrigerate promptly Never taste foods you think might be unsafe.  Most food poisoning bacteria are tasteless, colorless, and odorless.  When in doubt, throw it out!