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Your Precooked Holiday Dinner---Serve it Safely!

Are you taking it easy this holiday by purchasing a complete pre-cooked Thanksgiving dinner? 

Don't invite foodborne bacteria as dinner guests.  Follow these steps when you bring dinner home:

If it's hot from the oven: Keep food in the oven at 140° and eat within 2 hours.

If you're eating later in the day: Food shouldn't be kept hot for longer than 2 hours. As soon as you bring it home...

• Remove all stuffing from the turkey cavity, put it in a shallow container in the refrigerator. (No need to cool it first.)
• Cut up a whole turkey into smaller pieces, including slicing the breast meat and put it in the refrigerator. It's OK to leave the legs and wings whole.
• Refrigerate potatoes, gravy, and vegetables in shallow containers (so they quickly reach a safe temperature of 40° or below).
• Keep cold food cold by putting it in the refrigerator.

When its time to eat:

  • Reheat the turkey, dressing and side dishes until hot and steaming, or (the best way) until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 °F as measured by a food thermometer.
  • Bring gravy to a rolling boil.
  • If using a microwave oven, cover the food and rotate the dish so it heats evenly.

After dinner:"Chill" before you chill out.

  • Put all perishable foods in the refrigerator or freezer within 2 hours of cooking.
  • Cut up leftover turkey into small pieces before refrigerating.
  • Place the leftover turkey, stuffing, and side dishes into shallow containers and refrigerate at 40 °F or below.
  • Don't forget to refrigerate the desserts, particularly any prepared with eggs or dairy products such as pumpkin pie.
  • Freeze any leftovers you won't be able to eat within 3-4 days.
  • Throw away any perishable food left out for more than 2 hours---including raw or cooked vegetables, and cut fruit. (Getting food borne illness (aka food poisoning) is no holiday!)

After 3-4 days
Throw out any uneaten leftovers.


Other food safety questions?
Call the “USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline” 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) which is open on Thanksgiving Day from 8:00 a. m. to 2:00 p. m. Eastern Time and regularly Monday- Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET.


Get answers 24/7 from “Ask Karen”, the FSIS automated response system:
Mobile phones:

5 Tips for Holiday Food Donations

For many of us, Thanksgiving kicks off the giving season. If contributing to a local food drive is on your "to do" list, follow these suggestions to give a gift of health to those in need:

1. Ask what is needed before you give.
Sometimes what we want to give—holiday foods, homemade jam, or cake mixes---may not be what is needed. Check the website of your local food bank or call to see what foods they currently need. Generally, the most needed items are:
• Peanut butter
• Canned meats such as tuna or chicken
• Cereal
• Canned and dried fruit
• Canned vegetables
• Macaroni and cheese
• Canned soup.

2. Choose a more nutritious form of the food you want to give.

For example, select:
• Fruit canned in its own juice rather than syrup
• Vegetables canned without added salt
• Cereals that are high in fiber and don't have much added sugar
• Whole grains such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and quinoa
• Low sodium soups and low-sodium versions of other products such as pasta sauce
• Lean protein, such as beans and canned tuna.

3. Check the use-by or expiration date on canned or packaged food items.
If donating food items from your own pantry, check the freshness date. Most food banks will not give out food that is past the use-by or expiration date printed on the container. (Use-by and expiration dates refer to the quality of the food, not the safety.)

4. Avoid foods in glass containers or damaged packaging.

Some food banks don't accept food in glass containers---even baby food or infant formula---because they chip and break easily. Inspect the packaging of an item. Avoid dented or bulging cans. Food banks won't accept damaged or open paper or plastic containers. Only donate commercially prepared foods. Food banks cannot take home preserved foods.

5. Give with the food bank clientele in mind.
Are the clientele homeless? If so, they probably don't have access to storage or refrigeration. Dr. Lucia Kaiser, Nutrition Specialist at the University of California Cooperative Extension, suggests giving easy-to-prepare and ready-to-eat foods such as:
• Pop-top cans of stew, chili, and soup
• Shelf-stable milk and cheese
• 100% fruit juices in single serving boxes
• Convenience foods like granola bars, packaged crackers (low fat), beef jerky, and single-serving packages of nuts.
Programs for children may want single serving sizes of foods, such as;
¥ 100% fruit rolls
¥ Raisins
¥ Graham crackers
¥ Unsweetened applesauce
¥ Fruit cups
¥ Low-sugar cereal bowls
¥ Pretzels

Ideas to Help You Plan a Healthy Food Drive

Request donations by meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner), by food group (fruits and vegetables, dairy, protein, etc.), or by recipes. Another option is a SuperFood Drive where participants donate items on a list of nutrient-dense foods that you provide. Or, help potential donors by giving them Dorothy Smith's food bank gift list.

Here's to healthy living and giving during the holiday season!

Posted on Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 9:41 AM

It’s time for DPR license and certificate holders to renew—get units via online courses from UC IPM

November has arrived, and before you know it we'll be ringing in 2018! For those who hold a license or certificate from the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), and have a last name starting with the letter M through Z, this is your year to renew.

DPR is urging license and certificate holders to mail in applications now to avoid late fees and to allow enough time for processing so that you can receive your new license or certificate by the beginning of the new year. Renewing early gives DPR time to notify you if you are short any continuing education (CE) hours and allows you time to complete any additional CE courses without having to retest.

If you need more hours to complete your renewal application and don't have time to attend an in-person meeting, then check out the online courses available from the UC Statewide IPM Program (UC IPM).

The following UC IPM and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources online courses have been approved by DPR and are available whenever and wherever you want to take them.

Laws and Regulations

  • Proper Pesticide Use to Avoid Illegal Residues (2 hours) $40.00 charge
  • Providing Integrated Pest Management Services in Schools and Child Care Settings (1 hour Laws and Regulations and 1 hour Other)


  • Citrus IPM: California Red Scale (1 hour)
  • Citrus IPM: Citricola Scale (1 hour)
  • Citrus IPM: Citrus Peelminer (1 hour)
  • Citrus IPM: Citrus Red Mite (1 hour)
  • Citrus IPM: Cottony Cushion Scale (1 hour)
  • Citrus IPM: Forktailed Bush Katydid (1 hour)
  • Pesticide Application Equipment and Calibration (1.5 hours)
  • Pesticide Resistance (2 hours)
  • Tuta absoluta: A Threat to California Tomatoes (1 hour)
  • Urban Pesticide Runoff and Mitigation: IPM – Pesticide Properties (1 hour)
  • Urban Pesticide Runoff and Mitigation: Impact of Pesticides - Urban Pesticide Runoff (1 hour)
  • Urban Pesticide Runoff and Mitigation: Water Quality and Mitigation: Bifenthrin and Fipronil (1 hour)
  • Urban Pesticide Runoff and Mitigation: Herbicides and Water Quality (1 hour)

For those of you with last names A through L (or those of you who want to get a jump on your CE hours), look for new online courses from UC IPM coming in early 2018.

View the list of all DPR-approved online or in-person courses. For more information on the license and certification program and renewal information, visit the DPR website.

For more information about pest management and other training opportunities, see the UC IPM website.




Posted on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 12:29 PM

New Medicare cards coming: Don't get scammed!

Are you age 65 or older?

If so, you may be targeted by a new Medicare scam.

Medicare is issuing new benefit cards with new benefit ID numbers.


Look at your Medicare card. Your social security number, which is also your  benefits number, is printed on your card. This has led to growing rates of identity theft among those 65 years and older.

Its easy for a thief to get your number. Anyone who stands close to you when you check out at the pharmacy can see the number and use it to steal your identity and may even fraudulently claim benefits in your name. The same thing can happen if someone sees your card when you open your wallet at the cash register, or finds your missing wallet (with your Medicare card inside).

What's changing?

The government redesigned the Medicare card so that it does not reveal your social security number. You will be assigned a new personal benefits number. Here's what the new card will look like:

What do you need to do?


That's important because scammers may try to take advantage of someone who is not aware of the process for receiving their new card.

The new card will be sent to you. You do not need to fill out a form, pay a fee, or give someone your social security number. Here's what the Federal Trade Commission advises to protect yourself:

  • If you get a phone call, email, text or letter claiming to be from Medicare and asking for your social security or bank account number...
    IGNORE it! That's a scam. Medicare will never call (or send an email, text message, or letter) and ask for this information.

  • If someone asks you to pay for a new Medicare card...
    IGNORE them. That's a scam. Your new Medicare card is free.

  • If someone threatens to cancel you benefits unless you give them information or send money...
    IGNORE them.That's also a scam. There will not be any changes to your benefits.

When will this change happen?
Delivery begins in April 2018 and will be completed by April 2019.


Learn more at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.


Posted on Friday, October 6, 2017 at 1:43 PM
Tags: fraud (1), identity theft (1), Medicare (1), Medicare card (1), scam (1), senior (1)

Save San Diego County Citrus

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Posted on Thursday, September 7, 2017 at 8:35 AM

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