Had a nice chat with Jessica Fargen of the Boston Herald as I was traveling to New Orleans – Here is the interview entitled “Do Your Homework”

Here are some common sense tips to keep in mind the next time you go food shopping. They come courtesy of Wendy Heiger-Bernays, chairwoman of the Lexington Board of Health and professor at the Boston University School of Public Health.

• Check expiration dates on foods, particularly meat and dairy products.
• Wash raw chicken in cold water before cooking it. (NOT A GOOD IDEA)
• Always scrub fruits and vegetables.

Bill Marler, a Seattle attorney who writes a blog about food poisoning and food-borne illness, said where food quality is concerned, you can judge a store by its looks.

“The cleaner the operation, the less likely bacteria contamination or viral contamination can occur,” he said. “The cleanliness of a store itself is a good indicator of how a grocery store feels about food safety.”

Marler also urges energetic shoppers to go to their local health department and check out their favorite store’s latest inspection report, the same way they keep tabs on their favorite restaurants.
“You need to be somewhat discerning about where you are going to eat dinner and where you buy your produce,” he said.

  • USDA does not recommend washing your chicken before cookinhg. Washing your chicken is more likely to spread pathogenic microorganisms in your kitchen. Cooking to the proper temperature will destroy the microoganisms.

  • Martin Bucknavage
  • Peter Gray

    Dear Mr. Marler:
    I greatly appreciate your blog and find it to be very informative, and an excellent source of food safety news.
    Regarding this post, I’ve read in numerous articles that it is best NOT to wash poultry before cooking, as it increases the risk of pathogens being dispersed beyond the sink through splashing (e.g., onto the drainboard where dishes may be drying in home kitchens). Rinsing is unnecessary since cooking poultry to an internal temperature of 165F will be more than adequate to kill any pathogens internally or on the surface.