Food and Nutrition- GAVS

Food Allergies and Cooking Safety

Topics this month

This month we will be discussing Food Safety and Food Allergies. Both of these are a hot topic considering all of the problems that many Americans face today. 48 million people were affected by food poisioning every year. Many of these illnesses could be prevented by proper food handleing and washing hands. Also affecting many Americans and causing several doctors visits is the occurance of food allergies. Milk ranks at the top of the chart as the most common food allergy. Many times this occurs in children and often times they will outgrow it in adulthood.
As you can see, Americans health is greatly affected by diet. That is why this course is a useful tool in educating students on the importance of a healthy and safe diet.

Cooking Safely

Since the beginning of this year, there have been 11 food recalls in the United States. Many of them are due to Salmonella, Foreign Matter, Misbranding, and under cooked material. According to the Centers for Disease control, approximately one in six Americans (48 million people) is sickened by food borne illnesses every year. Those are high statistics.

Often times, these illness are due to the improper handling of food. Many foods have to be cooked to a certain temperature to kill bacteria and decrease risk of contamination. Below are the latest recommendations:

  • Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.
  • Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
  • Cook all poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.

Often times, it can be very confusing when you read directions on how to clean properly. Information can change and sometimes we receive confusing messages from the media and other sources. Here are some common Myths below from the FoodSafety.org website.

Myth #1: Food poisoning isn’t that big of a deal. I just have to tough it out for a day or two and then it’s over.

Fact: Many people don’t know it, but some food borne illnesses can actually lead to long-term health conditions, and 3,000 Americans a year die from food borne illness. Get the facts on long-term effects of food poisoning.

Myth #2: It’s OK to thaw meat on the counter. Since it starts out frozen, bacteria isn’t really a problem.

Fact: Actually, bacteria grow surprisingly rapidly at room temperatures, so the counter is never a place you should thaw foods. Instead, thaw foods the right way.

Myth #3: When cleaning my kitchen, the more bleach I use, the better. More bleach kills more bacteria, so it’s safer for my family.

Fact: There is actually no advantage to using more bleach than needed. To clean kitchen surfaces effectively, use just one teaspoon of liquid, unscented bleach to one quart of water.

Myth #4: I don’t need to wash fruits or vegetables if I’m going to peel them.

Fact: Because it’s easy to transfer bacteria from the peel or rind you’re cutting to the inside of your fruits and veggies, it’s important to wash all produce, even if you plan to peel it.

Myth #5: To get rid of any bacteria on my meat, poultry, or seafood, I should rinse off the juices with water first.

Fact: Actually, rinsing meat, poultry, or seafood with water can increase your chance of food poisoning by splashing juices (and any bacteria they might contain) onto your sink and counters. The best way to cook meat, poultry, or seafood safely is to make sure you cook it to the right temperature.

Myth #6: The only reason to let food sit after it’s been microwaved is to make sure you don’t burn yourself on food that’s too hot.

Fact: In fact, letting microwaved food sit for a few minutes (“standing time”) helps your food cook more completely by allowing colder areas of food time to absorb heat from hotter areas of food.

Myth #7: Leftovers are safe to eat until they smell bad.

Fact: The kinds of bacteria that cause food poisoning do not affect the look, smell, or taste of food. To be safe, use our Safe Storage Times chart to make sure you know the right time to throw food out.

Myth #8: Once food has been cooked, all the bacteria have been killed, so I don’t need to worry once it’s “done.”

Fact: Actually, the possibility of bacterial growth actually increases after cooking, because the drop in temperature allows bacteria to thrive. This is why keeping cooked food warmed to the right temperature is critical for food safety.

Myth #9: Marinades are acidic, which kills bacteria—so it’s OK to marinate foods on the counter.

Fact: Even in the presence of acidic marinade, bacteria can grow very rapidly at room temperatures. To marinate foods safely, it’s important to marinate them in the refrigerator.

Myth #10: If I really want my produce to be safe, I should wash fruits and veggies with soap or detergent before I use them.

Fact: In fact, it’s best not to use soaps or detergents on produce, since these products can linger on foods and are not safe for consumption. Using clean running water is actually the best way to remove bacteria and wash produce safely.


If you found the information in the article helpful. Please consider using some of the tips and cooking foods to the proper temperature to avoid contamination. For information on this topic, see the information below.

Click HERE for more up to date information on food recalls.

Click HERE for recent changes in the law regarding food safety

Food Allergies

According to the Food and Drug Administration, almost 30,000 Americans go to the emergency room each year because of a food allergy related emergency. Luckily, manufactors are required to label there products if a product contains one of the following ingredients. These allergens below are proven to be serious and can cause great danger to someone who is allergic.

The eight foods identified by the law are:
  1. Milk
  2. Eggs
  3. Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod)
  4. Crustacean shellfish (e.g. crab, lobster, shrimp)
  5. Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
  6. Peanuts
  7. Wheat
  8. Soybeans


Often times, people do not know they are allergic to a product until they consume it and the reaction starts. Symptoms of a food allergy usually develop within about an hour after eating the offending food. The most common signs and symptoms of a food allergy include:

  • Hives, itching, or skin rash
  • Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat, or other parts of the body
  • Wheezing, nasal congestion, or trouble breathing
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nau­sea, or vomiting
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting

In a severe allergic reaction to food—called anaphylaxis—you may have more extreme versions of the above reactions. Or you may experi­ence life-threatening signs and symp­toms such as:

  • Swelling of the throat and air pas­sages that makes it difficult to breathe
  • Shock, with a severe drop in blood pressure
  • Rapid, irregular pulse
  • Loss of consciousness

There is no cure for food allergies. The best way for a person to avoid a reaction is to avoid the allergen all together.

Parent Auditor Account- Do you have one?

Parent Auditor account allows you to view your child's progress in each GAVS class. Look at these benefits-
- The amount of work your child has completed
- Items overdue or missing
- Your child's average
- Announcements in the class

Here are some helpful links to get started! I recommend every parent create an account and check it a couple of times a week.

How do I create a Parent Auditor Account?
How do I link my Parent Auditor Account to my student?
How do I use my Parent Auditor Account to monitor grades and student progress?

Please contact me if you have any questions!

Meet your Teacher- Mrs. Bagwell

Hello! Welcome to class! This is my 4th year teaching with GAVS. I have been teaching for 13 years and of that 4 years have been online. I earned by undergraduate in Health Education from the University of Georgia and my Masters of Health Science from University of Alabama.
So, the question- Who do I support? Go DAWGS!!!!

I am married with 2 young children. I enjoy being active. I love all types of sports and regularly participate in races and tri athelons. I love gardening and playing in the dirt. Mostly, I love cooking and entertaining with friends and family. I hope to travel more in the future and look forward to learning more about other cultures.