How to Stop Robocalls

September 18, 2015  
Filed under Savvy Senior

By Jim Miller

Dear Savvy Senior,
What can I do to stop the perpetual prerecorded robocalls I keep getting? I’m signed up with the National Do Not Call Registry, but it seems like I still get three or four robo telemarketing calls a day offering lower credit card interest rates, medical alert devices and more.
Fed Up Senior

Dear Fed Up,
Millions of Americans on the National Do Not Call Registry (donotcall.gov) complain they still receive unwanted calls from robocallers. Why? Because most robocalls are scams run by con artists who are only trying to trick you out of your money and they simply ignore the law.
But there’s good news on the horizon. A few months ago, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed a rule giving telecommunication companies more leeway to block robocalls. Before this ruling, the FCC has always required phone companies to complete all calls, much in the same way the postal service is required to deliver all your mail, even the junk. So, look for your phone service provider to start offering call-blocking tools in the future. But in the meantime, here are some things you can do to reduce those unwanted calls.

  • Set up “anonymous call rejection” option: This is a free landline-calling feature available from most telephone companies. It lets you screen out calls from callers who have blocked their caller ID information—a favorite tactic of telemarketers. To set it up, you usually have to dial *77 from your landline, though different phone services may have different procedures to set it up. Call your telephone service provider to find out if they offer this feature and, if so, what you need to do to enable it.
  • Sign up for Nomorobo: This is a free service and works only if you have an Internet-based VoIP phone service. It does not work on traditional analog landlines or wireless phones. Nomorobo uses a “simultaneous ring” service that detects and blocks robocalls on a black list of known offender numbers. It isn’t 100 percent foolproof, but it is an extra layer of protection. To sign up, or see if Nomorobo works with your phone service provider, visit Nomorobo.com.
  • Buy a robocall-blocking device: If you don’t mind spending a little money, purchase a call-blocking device like the Sentry 2 ($59) or Digitone Call Blocker Plus ($100), sold at Amazon.com. These small devices, which plug into your phone line, allow you to blacklist numbers you no longer wish to receive and set up a whitelist, or manually program the phone to recognize and accept a certain number of safe numbers. Both devices are very effective.
  • Don’t pick up: If you have a caller ID, simply do not answer the phone unless you recognize the number. But if you do answer and it’s a robocall, you should just hang up. Don’t press any numbers to complain or get your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, you’re signaling that the autodialer has reached a live number and will probably lead to more robocalls.
  • Get a cellphone app: Get a call-screening app like Truecaller (truecaller.com) or PrivacyStar (privacystar.com) that screens and blocks them.

It’s also important that you report illegal robocalls to the Federal Trade Commission at consumercomplaints.fcc.gov or call 888-225-5322 and sign the Consumer Union petition at EndRobocalls.org to pressure phone companies to start offering free call-blocking technology.
Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

Ruth Lane Celebrates 100th Birthday

September 18, 2015  
Filed under News

Ruth Lane

Ruth Lane

 

In 1915, on a farm in Brookfield, Ruth Lamson was born. The sixth of 10 children, Ruth graduated from Williamstown High School and went on to Johnson State Normal School, where she received her teaching credentials in 1934. She became an elementary school teacher and taught for many years in East Montpelier – all eight grades in a one room schoolhouse. At that time, there were nearly 900 one room schoolhouses in Vermont and the average rural school teacher who had been teaching for about four years earned about $8.50 a week or $275 a school year. Following her teaching career, Ruth married Bradford Lane in 1940. A farmer from East Montpelier, Bradford and Ruth made their home in the area known as “Horn of the Moon.” For 40 years, Ruth and Bradford kept a dairy farm with registered Holsteins. Together, they raised three sons, who still reside in the area with their families. Ruth became known as an expert gardener and cook. She also served as East Montpelier’s Justice of the Peace for more than 20 years. In 2007, Ruth and Bradford moved to Jeffersonville. He predeceased her in 2009. Ruth has resided at The Manor in Morrisville since 2012.

Beware of Contractor Scams

September 18, 2015  
Filed under Home & Garden

The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to beware of scammers going door-to-door and offering seasonal services such as leaf raking, chimney sweeping or window installations. These con artists may just take your money without ever delivering the service.
How the Scam Works
You answer the door and it’s a handyman. He says that he’s been hired by the neighbors to clean the chimney, install storm windows, rake the leaves or perform another seasonal service. He claims that he can give you a discount price because he is already working in the neighborhood.
You need the work done, so you take him up on the offer. He asks for a partial payment upfront and he will return the next day after he finishes the neighbor’s job. However, he takes the money and doesn’t return to do the job.
In another version of the scam, the contractor will arrive and perform the service. But in doing so, he finds a “major problem,” one that needs an urgent repair. Legitimate contractors will supply photo and/or video evidence if there is a serious repair needed.
“It’s extremely important to do your research on a business before taking them up on any offer,” said Paula Fleming, spokesperson for the local BBB. “Be sure to check out reviews, complaints and business details, and not solely the estimated cost. The cheapest bid may not be the best deal in the long run.”
How to Protect Yourself from Contractor Scams:
Contractor scams appear when homeowners have the most work to do: after major storms and during the change of seasons.
Follow these tips when hiring someone to work on your home.

  • Work with local businesses: Make sure the contractor has appropriate identification that tells you it’s a legitimate business versus a fly-by-night operator. Things like permanent lettering on trucks, uniforms, printed invoices and estimate sheets, business cards, physical addresses, land line phones, etc. are all signs of an established business.
  • Check references: Get references from several past customers. Get both older references (at least a year old) so you can check on the quality of the work and newer references so you can make sure current employees are up to the task.
  • Check with BBB: Be sure to search for businesses at bbb.org where you can read reviews and complaints from customers, find out about licensing and government actions and more. BBB’s Accredited Business Directory offers lists of reputable businesses to help avoid contractor scams.
  • Get it in writing: Always be sure to get a written contract with the price, materials and timeline. The more detail, the better. Say no to cash-only deals, high-pressure sales tactics and on-site inspections. Don’t allow someone in your home or on your roof until you have had a chance to thoroughly check them out.

 

Getting Rid of Yellow Jacket Wasps

September 18, 2015  
Filed under Home & Garden

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By Jeff Rugg

Yellow jackets are not bees, but are small yellow and black wasps up to an inch long. They nest in the ground, in walls, under decks and in timber-retaining walls. The workers eat pollen or nectar and are attracted to sweet foods like cans of soda or rotting fruit. They feed the young in the nest high-protein foods such as insects and spiders, thus they are beneficial. Keeping food sources cleaned up, including the removal of fruit that falls off of trees like crabapples and pears, will help reduce their interactions with people. There are thousands of species of wasps in the world and most are the size of a fruit fly. Most of the big ones are beneficial because they pollinate flowers and eat caterpillars and spiders. However, when they start taking over the patio, it is hard to live with them. To prevent a huge buildup of wasps, the best time to start controls is in the spring. Wasp populations start with a single female each spring, but it is in the fall when they are most noticed. In hive-making wasps, a fertilized female survives the winter hidden in the ground or a crack in a tree or building wall. In the spring, she makes a nest and lays eggs that hatch into the workers of the wasp hive. The size of the nest and the number of workers increases all summer long. There can be hundreds or thousands of workers in a single nest by fall. It takes several weeks to go from an egg laid in a cell through the grub-like larva stage that pupates and finally hatches into an adult. Only the adult is susceptible to insecticide sprays that are sprayed at a nest. New adults hatch every day and new eggs are laid if the queen is not killed. If possible, leave the nest alone. But if necessary, it can be removed. After dark, set up a flashlight aimed at the nest opening. Don’t remain near the light. Wasps can and will sting at night. Wear long clothes with rubber bands on the entry points. Wasps tend to aim for the face of their victims so wear a head covering, too. Spray the nest hole or holes with a wasp spray. If the nest is in the ground, dig up the whole nest while the adults are dead to completely destroy the nest and all the other life cycle stages. Stuff cotton balls that have been soaked with the spray into the entry hole of nests that can’t be dug up or destroyed. Repeat sprays and more cotton balls will be necessary for several weeks on those nests. – CNS

Books as Decoration

September 18, 2015  
Filed under Home & Garden

Decorating with books is great because they are a useful item and always look great in almost any style of interior.  Sometimes a room that looks lifeless can be brought out of its funk just by adding some books. (Contributed photo)

Decorating with books is great because they are a useful item and always look great in almost any style of interior. Sometimes a room that looks lifeless can be brought out of its funk just by adding some books. (Contributed photo)

By Joe Pubillones

The Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero said, “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” I love rooms that are filled with books, books and more books. There is nothing that creates a sense of warmth and invitation more than a room full of books. They offer a sense of serenity and add visual interest. Rooms that have incorporated books into their decor offer a personal point of view in decorating, as each book offers a glimpse into the mind of the homeowner. Decorating with books is great because they are a useful item and always look great in almost any style of interior. Sometimes a room that looks lifeless can be brought out of its funk just by adding some books. Books can be used in every room of the house as decorative accessories. In the library, they are de rigueur, but nowadays books can be used in living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms. Even if you are not a book lover, books have a way of grounding a home. Books never go out of style, so they are a good investment for your interiors and your wallet. Books can be used and displayed in many ways. Here are some suggestions. Of course, there is the old standard of books in a bookcase. A wall of books is a classic way of showing off your collection and says the owner of this home loves books. Books can also be stacked like tall columns to give the appearance of real columns in a room and enhance the architecture. Books can be stacked on tables just like an old library table or used as a base for a sculpture or a beautiful orchid in a cachepot. A stack of pretty books you love says, “Welcome!” Special books can be opened on a stand or table to show them off as a decorative accessory. Larger coffee table books can be displayed prominently, while smaller and paperback books should go into bookcases or storage. Bookends flanking a group of books can add a finishing touch to a fireplace mantle or an upright piano. A nonworking fireplace can be outfitted with shelves as a place to hold books. This will also create a focal point. Books can be stacked upon each other and topped with a glass for an instant side table — perfect for resting your favorite cocktail. Some like their books in their multicolored bindings. A recent trend has been to gather coordinated book-covers to create a coordinated color scheme. The latter is a great way of adding a punch of color. Books are great as fillers for cupboards and windowsills. In a kitchen, books can be added to the cookbook cabinets. Low bookcases can be used to create a demarcation or division of functions and space within a room. Other ways to use books in your decor: Turn a stack of books into a lamp base. Hollowed books can be used as planters for small succulents or as storage boxes. – CNS

Dressing for the In-Between Season

September 18, 2015  
Filed under Blogs

Use fall’s rich colors to make the summer-to-fall fashion transition. Try sophisticated pieces, such as this Vince Camuto tie-neck blouse. (Contributed photo)

Use fall’s rich colors to make the summer-to-fall fashion transition. Try sophisticated pieces, such as this Vince Camuto tie-neck blouse. (Contributed photo)

By Sharon Mosely

Cooler weather may be just around the calendar corner, but in the meantime there are plenty of warm days that require our summer wardrobes to stretch into fall. But don’t sweat it: here are some ways to make the transition in style and stay cool at the same time. Move over to the dark side. Yes, the old rule of not wearing white after Labor Day has gone by the wayside, but for many of us who have worn our white jeans thin over the summer, fall is a time to make the switch to darker colors. Change out those white jackets to more autumnal hues such as burgundy or teal green. Add black trousers or dark blue jeans. Toss on a jacket. It doesn’t have to be heavy and weigh you down, but a lightweight jacket will make that sleeveless shift dress feel and look more polished for the office. This season, update your wardrobe with long jacket “vests” to give skirts and pants a fresh twist. Add a piece of leather. You don’t have to save that leather jacket until the first freeze. Instead, pare down the layers underneath — a cotton camisole or T-shirt — and team with gauzy skirts or jersey culottes for a breezy transitional take on the popular fashion statement. This fall, look for leather-like leggings to add some serious style to your wardrobe. Trade in your tank tops. Blouses are back in a big way and they are the perfect way to give your summery separates a feminine boost. Watch for high neck “bow” blouses to return as a sassy alternative to the crisp white menswear shirt. Wear them sans jacket with a sophisticated knee-length pencil skirt or flared trousers. Check out new prints. Fling the funky florals to the back of the closet. Opt for a new jacket or sheath dress in a graphic windowpane plaid or houndstooth check. Black and white make for a great transitional combination. Change out your handbag. Leave the canvas totes behind at the beach. Now is the time to bring out the leather or suede handbags that hopefully you bought on sale last spring! If you’re shopping for a new tote this fall, scope out the bags swishing with the latest fashion fad: fringe. Go for the gold. If you’ve been sporting silver jewelry all summer, mix in a few gold bangles or a chunky gold cuff for a change. Lighten up the gold with pearls. The gold pearl ear cuff is a new way to update your jewelry collection. Step out in boots. Slip out of the sandals and flip-flops and into a pair of boots. It may still be a little too warm for the thigh-highs, but ankle boots instantly give whatever we wear more fashion energy, even if we wear them with bare legs. The perfect transitional boot? A “shootie,”— an open-toe shoe boot in suede (with fringe of course). —CNS

Vermont International Film Festival Brings World to Burlington

September 18, 2015  
Filed under Arts & Entertainment

A wide variety of films will be shown during the Vermont International Film Festival — visit vtiff.org for a full list. (Contributed photo)

A wide variety of films will be shown during the Vermont International Film Festival — visit vtiff.org for a full list. (Contributed photo)

The Vermont International Film Foundation (VTIFF) recently announced the 2015 Vermont International Film Festival, to be held Oct. 23 – Nov. 1 in downtown Burlington. Over 90 screenings, special events, receptions and filmmaker events will take place at Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center in the Film House and Black Box Theater. Lunchtime screenings will take place at The BCA Center on Church Street and additional screenings and events will happen at Skinny Pancake and ArtsRiot. Full information about all film and events can be found at www.vtiff.org. Ticket Information Tickets and schedule will be available to the general public online at www.vtiff.org on Oct.7. The festival guide will also be available that day at the festival offices at 230 College Street in Burlington. For most screenings, tickets are $10, $8 for seniors, $5 forchildren and students, with the exception of the Vermont Filmmakers Showcase selections, which are by donation. A Festival Gold Pass is also available for $120, which gains access to most films and events and VTIFF members gain discounted or free access to films and events with membership.

Vt Stage Announces 22nd Season

September 18, 2015  
Filed under Arts & Entertainment

Vermont Stage recently announced its 22nd season as Burlington’s premier professional theatre company with an inspired selection of notable new plays. “Our 22nd season is filled with four Vermont premieres of beautiful, contemporary plays that were chosen for their depth, humor and heart. In conjunction with these plays, we are also expanding our latest program, Talkback Thursdays, where we partner with other local non-profits, scholars, activists, advocates and experts to start important conversations about the subject matter of our work. Talkback Thursdays will take place after every Thursday night performance this season. I’m looking forward to sharing these plays with our wonderful audience,” said Artistic Director Cristina Alicea about her choices for Vermont Stage’s 2015-2016 Season. The season kicks off on Oct. 7 with “Tribes” by Nina Raine. Billy’s proudly unconventional family shows affection by lobbing barbed witticisms in a never ending match of wills. But Billy, who is deaf, has never been able to fully participate in their game. A young woman teaches him how to sign and he finally finds his own voice and stands up for his right to be heard. Winner of the 2012 Drama Desk award for Outstanding Play. “Tribes” runs Oct. 7-25 at FlynnSpace and will star Los Angeles actor/comedian Dale Dymkoski alongside Vermont Stage veterans Karen Lefkoe, Steve Scott, Andrew Butterfield, Alyson Perry and recent UVM Department of Theatre grad Lida Benson. Directed by Mark Alan Gordon. Playing Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m., Saturday matinee (first week only) at 2 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. In December, pour yourself a cup of hot cider, grab a plate of molasses cookies and cozy up for the 11th anniversary of the holiday tradition “Winter Tales,” hosted by Artistic Director Cristina Alicea. In this annual event, local storytellers bring life to brand new, funny and heartfelt stories crafted by fellow Vermonters. Interspersed with poetry from the Young Writers Project and folk songs written and performed by the Patti Casey, the evening is guaranteed to shine a bit of sunlight on the dark days of winter. “Winter Tales” runs for a one-week limited engagement from Dec. 9-13 at FlynnSpace with the Winter Tales Gala Benefit on Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. January brings “Mothers and Sons” by four-time Tony Award winner Terrence McNally. This 2014 Tony nominee for Best Play is a gripping new drama about change, reconciliation and what it means to be a family. Cal and his husband have built a happy life together with their 7-year-old son. When the mother of Cal’s former lover makes a surprise visit 20 years after her son’s untimely death, the past casts a shadow on their idyllic life. “Mothers and Sons” runs for three weeks at FlynnSpace from Jan. 27-Feb. 14, 2016 and stars John Jensen, Justin D. Quackenbush and 9-year-old Asa Baker-Rouse of Middlebury. Directed by UVM Department of Theater Chair Gregory Ramos. Playing Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m., Saturday matinee (first week only) at 2 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. In March, local Vermont actors Cael Barkman and Jordon Gullikson will star in “Dancing Lessons” by Mark St. Germain. A scientist with Asperger’s knocks on the door of his neighbor, a Broadway dancer sidelined by an injury, to seek dancing lessons. As their relationship unfolds, they’re caught off-guard by the hilarious and touching discoveries they make about each other. “Dancing Lessons” runs for three weeks at FlynnSpace from March 9-27, 2016 and will be directed by Vermont Stage Artistic Director Cristina Alicea. Playing Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m., Saturday matinee (first week only) at 2 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. In April, the main stage season culminates with Lauren Gunderson’s “I and You.” Handsome, athletic Anthony arrives unexpectedly at Caroline’s door bearing a beat-up copy of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” and an urgent assignment from their English teacher due tomorrow. Anthony convinces Caroline to help him transform his presentation on Whitman into something beautiful, but in the process they uncover the profound mystery that has actually brought them together. “I and You” runs April 20-May 8, 2016 at FlynnSpace. Directed by Cathy Hurst. Cast TBA. Playing Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m., Saturday matinee (first week only) at 2 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. The season concludes in June with Vermont Stage’s 5th annual experimental production called “The Bake Off” (one play made 3 ways). This show will trisect a play and assign each a different director and cast to explore the myriad ways a play can be brought to life for an audience. Each performance will be followed by a Q&A with the audience and the directors about the artistic process. “The Bake Off” runs for one week only June 14-19, 2016 at FlynnSpace. Play, directors and cast TBA. Playing Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m., Saturday matinee (first week only) at 2 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Subscriptions to Vermont Stage’s 22nd Season start at $88. More information about Vermont Stage can be found at www.vermontstage.org or by calling 862-1497.

Coming to the Flynn Stage…

September 18, 2015  
Filed under Arts & Entertainment

Ricky Skaggs (left), Sharon White and Ry Cooder come together for an evening of blues, gospel and bluegrass. An infrequent live performer,Cooder is a virtuoso roots guitarist and six-time Grammy winner called the ‘eighth greatest guitarist of all time’ by Rolling Stone. Mandolin wizard Skaggs is a fourteen-time Grammy winner whose name is synonymous with both bluegrass and country music. White is known as one of the purest voices in country music. The three perform an evening of string-based roots music with plenty of musical surprises Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. on the Flynn MainStage. (Contributed photo)

Ricky Skaggs (left), Sharon White and Ry Cooder come together for an evening of blues, gospel and bluegrass. An infrequent live performer,Cooder is a virtuoso roots guitarist and six-time Grammy winner called the ‘eighth greatest guitarist of all time’ by Rolling Stone. Mandolin wizard Skaggs is a fourteen-time Grammy winner whose name is synonymous with both bluegrass and country music. White is known as one of the purest voices in country music. The three perform an evening of string-based roots music with plenty of musical surprises Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. on the Flynn MainStage. (Contributed photo)

(Contributed photo by John Haynes)Among the many quality acts coming to the Flynn stages this season are (LEFT) Lucky Plush’s ‘The Queue,’an original dance number commissioned by the Flynn and performing Oct. 3. A trilogy of Samual Beckett plays — ‘Not I / Footfalls / Rockaby’ — will be presented March 23 in this big-market production starring Lisa Dwan (ABOVE).

(Contributed photo by John Haynes) Among the many quality acts coming to the Flynn stages this season are (LEFT) Lucky Plush’s ‘The Queue,’an original dance number commissioned by the Flynn and performing Oct. 3. A trilogy of Samual Beckett plays — ‘Not I / Footfalls / Rockaby’ — will be presented March 23 in this big-market production starring Lisa Dwan (ABOVE).

By Steve MacQueen, Artistic Director

This season is diverse, with a truly fabulous breadth of performances: modern and post-modern dance, ballet and tap; jazz, soul, classical, Americana, Portuguese fado, Jamaican, Brazilian, Haitian and Irish music; Broadway; historical drama, tragedy, Beckett, Shakespeare and the downright unclassifiable. Here are a few that I’m especially looking forward to: • Guitarist Ry Cooder makes a rare appearance on the concert stage, along with Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White. • Lisa Dwan’s reputation as one of the world’s finest actresses stems from her work in an evening of notoriously difficult Samuel Beckett one-acts. This big-market production is coming to the Flynn on one of this tour’s final stops. • Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq gives a fully committed deep-end dive into a world of pure sound and overwhelming emotion. While the Flynn is best known as a performance venue, its impact stretches beyond what you’ll see on stage—our collaborations with Vermont artists and other regional arts organizations for instance, and our deep commitment to arts education. We also offer funds and resources to help artists create new work. This year, the Flynn is commissioning dance (Lucky Plush’s The Queue), music (a new work by multiple Grammy-winning jazz composer Maria Schneider) and theater (local actor/ director Seth Jarvis’ multi-collaborator work Transitions…). See you in the lobby this season. For a complete season calendar, visit http://www.flynncenter.org/performances-events/flynn-center-presents.html

Safe Food Tips for Older Adults

September 18, 2015  
Filed under Health & Wellness

Two foodborne pathogens, listeria and vibrio, cause more illnesses for seniors than any other age group so seniors should be especially careful when preparing/consuming foods that may be contaminated with these bacteria. (Contributed photo)

Two foodborne pathogens, listeria and vibrio, cause more illnesses for seniors than any other age group so seniors should be especially careful when preparing/consuming foods that may be contaminated with these bacteria. (Contributed photo)

September is National Food Safety Month and STOP Foodborne Illness, a national advocate for safe food, is urging older adults to follow a number of important food-safety practices to avoid getting sick. Older adults have increased vulnerability to foodborne illness for several reasons, including that they typically have decreased stomach acid (the body’s natural defense from foodborne bacteria) or they may have a weakened immune system from an underlying illness such as diabetes, kidney disease or from undergoing cancer treatment. Two foodborne pathogens in particular, listeria and vibrio, cause more illnesses for seniors than any other age group. Seniors need to be especially careful when consuming foods that are likely to be contaminated with these bacteria. “Most people don’t realize that their natural defenses to foodborne pathogens decrease as they age,” said Darin Detwiler, Senior Policy Coordinator with STOP Foodborne Illness. “If you’re older than 65, taking precautions can help save you from suffering from an illness that you might have been able to fight off even a few years ago.” Detwiler experienced the personal tragedy of foodborne illness when he lost his young son to E. coli poisoning from contaminated ground beef in 1993. Since then, he has been a tireless advocate for food safety. He is an FDA-certified Food Science Educator recognized by four different Secretaries of Agriculture for his efforts in consumer education. He also served two appointments on the USDA’s National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection. safe-food guidelines for seniors: Cook eggs to 160°F. Salmonella can grow both inside and outside eggs. The safest practice is to cook all eggs to 160°F. To further reduce risks, wash hands thoroughly after handling eggs. For those who like eggs runny or who eat uncooked eggs in foods like raw dough, eggnog or homemade Caesar dressing, buy pasteurized shell eggs or liquid pasteurized egg products. Heat lunch meat and hotdogs to 165°F. Listeria is a bacterium that can be found in ready-to-eat foods, such as lunch meat. Although the majority of the population can resist listeria, those more vulnerable may become sick and pregnant women can suffer miscarriages as a result of eating listeria-contaminated ready-to-eat foods. To reduce the risk of listeria, heat cold cuts and hot dogs to 160°F and order hot sandwiches in restaurants. Avoid raw fish. Raw fish and shellfish can be a source of pathogens, including the particularly harmful vibrio, which is most often found in raw seafood items such as oysters. Some vibrio illnesses can be fatal, especially in patients with liver disease and the immune-compromised. Avoid raw fin fish, such as that found in sushi, plus other raw shellfish such as oysters and scallops. Avoid raw or unpasteurized milk and cheeses. Most are pasteurized, but read the labels, particularly on soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, Camembert, Roquefort, blue-veined cheeses and Mexican-style soft cheese such as queso fresco. Drink pasteurized juices. Most juices are pasteurized, but some may not be. Unpasteurized juices can contain harmful bacteria, but should be easy to steer clear of because they are required by law to carry a warning label.When buying smoothies, ask the preparer if they use pasteurized juice. If they aren’t sure or say no, it’s best to skip it. Cook to safe temperatures. Burgers/ground meat (except poultry) – 160°F Grilled chicken and other poultry products (like turkey burgers) – 165°F Whole cuts of meat, including pork – 145°F and let rest 3 minutes Avoid cross contamination. Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meats and produce Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds Sanitize surfaces, such as countertops, where raw meat and poultry have been For more food safety tips, visit www.stopfoodborneillness.org.

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