Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu 'ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam.
On the occasion of the Eid-ul-Fitr, IFANCA wishes all of you Eid Mubarak.
May the coming year bring guidance, peace, happiness and prosperity to everyone on Earth.
There are a number of different dates that may appear on a product. “Open Dating” refers to the use of a calendar date (rather than a code) on a product. “Closed Dating” refers to the use of a code or packing number (rather than a calendar date) on a product. If Open Dating is used, the date must include the day and month. The year must also be included in the case of shelf stable or frozen products. When dates are used, there must also be an explanation of the date, such as Sell-By or Use-Buy, etc.
Federal regulations do not require product dating, except for infant formula and FDA inspected baby food. (Not all baby food is FDA inspected.) Dating is not an indication of the safe use of the product.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a universal system for dating in the United States. While food dating is required in 20 states, other parts of the country do not have such requirements. Where used, open dating is normally used on perishable foods such as meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products. Closed dating may be used on shelf-stable products, including canned and boxed foods.
For Open Dating, there are a number of formats that may be used, including:
Sell-By - tells the store how long the product can be displayed.
Best if Used By (Best if Used Before) - for best quality or flavor, the product should be used before this date.
Use-By - the last date for use of the product at peak quality.
All dates are determined by the manufacturer. Closed Dating or Coded Dating is the use of a packing number on the product. This is used by the manufacturer and is not normally decipherable by the consumer.
Foods can remain safe and of good quality after the date expires, if they have been handled and stored properly. They may also be unsafe or of poor quality before the date expires, if they have not been handled or stored properly. Perishable foods should normally be stored at 40°F or below. Mishandling of foods may involve leaving refrigerated foods outside for hours, defrosting at room temperature for long hours or not using sanitary handling practices.
For infant formula and FDA inspected baby food, a Use-By date is required. The product is required to contain the stated quantity of nutrients listed on the label by that date. The manufacturer determines the Use-By date based on analysis throughout the shelf life of the product or other methods. Consumers should not use baby food or formula after the Use-By date.
For canned goods, a packing code is required. This is used to track products during commerce or if there is a recall and to allow producers to rotate their stock. The packing code is not intended for consumer use. When purchasing canned products, make sure the cans are in good condition.
Egg cartons may have an expiration date (i.e., EXP Jan 1). That is the last day the eggs should be sold. Consumers should not purchase eggs after the expiration date has passed. For Federally graded eggs, the date cannot be longer than 30 days from the packing date. The eggs should remain usable for 3-5 weeks if purchased before the expiration date.
The US Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection service offers the following tips on storage and usage times for food products:
Always purchase before the expiry date.
Refrigerate perishable foods promptly. Freeze within the time guidelines presented below.
Follow the handling recommendations on the product.
If not used immediately, the following products should be refrigerated at 40°F or below. If the product has a Use-By date, it should be used by that date. If it has a Sell-By date or no date, it should be cooked or frozen within the following time:
Storage time after purchase
Beef, veal or lamb
Ground meat or ground poultry
Uncooked beef or turkey sausage
For processed products that were sealed at the plant, the following times apply:
Unopened after purchase
Uncooked corned beef (in pouch with pickling juices)
Vacuum packed dinners (commercial brand with USDA seal)
Canned meat and poultry, shelf stable
2-5 years in pantry
Again, if the product has an off odor, flavor or appearance, don’t eat it.
The US Health and Human Services Department announced that by 2006, all food manufacturers will have to list the amount of trans fatty acids on food labels. And in June of this year, Denmark introduced restrictions limiting the use of industrially produced trans fatty acids in oils and fat to less than 2%. The food industry is working to comply. Novozymes has introduced an enzyme that yields shortening with no trans fatty acids. (Reported on www.foodnavigator.com on November 11, 2003.)
The US Food and Drug Association (FDA) will revisit the issue of cloning and whether meat and milk from cloned animals is safe. An advisory panel has raised questions about ealier findings that these products are safe. A final decision should be forthcoming early next year. Currently the industry has voluntarily agreed not to sell products from cloned animals until a final FDA decision is announced. (Reported on www.meatprocess.com on November 7, 2003.)
The largest single source hepatitis A outbreak in US history was linked to green onions at a Chi-Chi's restaurant in Pennsylvania. Over 575 people became ill as a result. Additional cases of hepatitis A were reported in Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina. Chi-Chi's has pulled green onions from their restaurants in the region. (Reported on www.yahoo.com on November 21, 2003.)
Morning exercise can make it easier to fall asleep at night. A Seattle study among postmenopausal women aged 50 to 75 found that women who performed at least 45 minutes of moderate exercise in the morning we able to sleep better at night. Morning stretching was also helpful, but not as much as exercise. (Reported on www.yahoo.com on November 24, 2003.)
Researchers at Cornell University have found that hot cocoa has more antioxidants than red wine or hot tea. The study showed that hot cocoa has twice the antixoidants of red wine and three times as much as green tea. Good news for cocoa drinkers. (Reported on www.foodnavigator.com on November 7, 2003.)
Cattle farming dates back to the Middle East over 8000 years ago. Cattle were brought to America by European colonists. The introduction of cattle cars and refrigerated cars in 1870 led to increased cattle consumption.
Beef is meat from cattle that is over 2 years old. A live steer weighs nearly 1000 pounds and provides about 450 pounds of edible meat. Calf refers to young cattle that have been raised on milk and grass. Calves weigh about 700 pounds. Veal is meat from cattle that is less than 3 months old and is mainly fed on milk. These calves weigh about 150 pounds and their meat is higher in cholesterol.
While all cattle start out eating grass, most are then fed corn and other grains. They may also be given antibiotics to prevent or treat disease. Before being legally slaughtered, they must be off antibiotics for a withdrawal period. The US Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, FSIS, samples cattle at the slaughterhouses and tests for antibiotic residues.
Hormones may also be used to promote growth. These are implanted in the animal’s ear and are released over 90-120 days. Common hormones are estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, zeranol and trenbolone.
Beef in the supermarket must be inspected by either the USDA or state inspectors. State standards must be equal to or higher than the federal standards. Beef may also be graded as Prime, Choice or Select. Lower grades are also produced, but are mainly used in ground beef or processed meats. USDA Prime beef has more fat marbling, which makes it tenderer. About 2% of graded beef is Prime. Prime beef has more fat than Choice or Select beef. Grading is voluntary and meat plants have to pay extra to have their beef graded.
Beef is separated into 4 major cuts: chuck, loin, rib and round. The type of cut helps a consumer know what type of heat is best for cooking. Supermarket beef often includes this label in their cuts, such as chuck roast or round steak. Some cuts may not include the cut name in them, such as New York Strip or Kansas City Steak, etc. these are loin cuts. Loin and rib cuts can be grilled or broiled while chuck and round are less tender and require moist heat for cooking.
Americans consume an average of just over 60 pounds of beef per person per year. This has decreased from over 80 pounds in the early 1970’s.
Some supermarket beef may be labeled as lean, which means it will contain less than 10% fat, less than 4.5% saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams of beef. Extra lean beef contains less than 5% fat, less than 2 % saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams of beef.
Sometimes beef is aged to develop more flavor and tenderness. This is done under controlled temperature and humidity for up to 40 days.
If beef has not been exposed to oxygen, such as when it is vacuum packed, it will have a burgundy color. Upon exposure to air for about 15 minutes, it should turn bright red. After 5 days of refrigeration, it may turn brown. Brown beef that has been stored for a long period of time may be spoiled.
Fresh beef cannot include additives. Processed beef may include additives such as MSG, salt or other additives, but these must be listed on the label. While product dating is not required by Federal regulations, stores may voluntarily print dates on meat packages. If a calendar date is present, it must include a phrase explaining the meaning of the date, such as Sell-By or Use-By.
A number of food borne organisms may affect beef. E. Coli may be present in the intestines of cattle and could contaminate meat when it is slaughtered. E. Coli O157:H7 is one of the strains, which can cause severe damage to the intestinal lining. It is easily destroyed by thorough cooking. Salmonella is another organism that may also be present in the intestines. It is destroyed by thorough cooking. Listeria is another organism that may affect beef. It too is destroyed by thorough cooking. Thoroughly cooked beef can be contaminated again by poor handling practices or poor sanitation. Always wash thoroughly before handling food and between handling raw meat and poultry and cooked foods and avoid drips from meat onto other food items.
In the supermarket raw beef should be selected as close to checkout as possible to minimize the time it is not refrigerated. It is best to keep raw beef packages in plastic bags to prevent leakage onto other foods. Fresh beef should be refrigerated immediately and used within 3-5 days or frozen. When freezing for an extended time, it is best to overwrap the store package with aluminum foil or freezer wrap to avoid freezer burn. If freezer burn does occur, remove those sections before or after cooking.
Prepared beef should be hot when picked up and should be eaten within 2 hours. The sooner the better (but don’t get burned eating it while it is too hot). If it is not going to be eaten soon, it should be refrigerated and eaten within 3-4 days. It should be eaten cold or heated to 165°F.
Frozen beef should never be defrosted on the counter. Beef should be defrosted in the refrigerator, in cold water or in a microwave oven. When defrosting in the refrigerator, it may take a day or two, so plan ahead. Remember, beef will be safe in the refrigerator for 3-5 days after it defrosts and you can refreeze it without cooking it if you decide not to use it. If defrosting in cold water, make sure the beef is in airtight packaging or place it into a leak proof bag and submerge in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the beef is thawed. This may take 1-3 hours, depending on the cut and size. If defrosting in a microwave, it should be cooked immediately after defrosting. You should cook beef that has been defrosted by cold water or in the microwave before refreezing. You can cook frozen beef in the oven or on a grill, but don’t cook it in a slow cooker. You should not refrigerate partially cooked beef. Finish cooking it before refrigerating it.
Approximate cooking times for beef that has been refrigerated at 40°F are as follows:
Type of Beef
Rib Roast, bone in
23-25 minutes per lb
Medium rare 145°F
27-30 minutes per lb
32-34 minutes per lb
Well done 170°F
Rib Roast, boneless rolled
add 5-8 minutes per lb to the times above
Same as above
Chuck Roast, brisket
Round or Rump Roast
30-35 minutes per lb
Medium rare 145°F
35-40 minutes per lb
3/4 inches thick
4-5 minutes per side
Medium rare 145°F
6-7 minutes per side
Some additional recommendations on storage of beef products are: