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Q&A: Imported produce poses no flu threat

There’s no evidence any strain of flu has ever been transmitted by food.

Associated Press

There’s no evidence any strain of flu has ever been transmitted by food.

Imported produce no flu threat

How long do swine flu germs live on produce? I bought peppers from Mexico yesterday, as I do most weeks. I had a very bad flu (102 fever) five weeks ago. If a worker was sick and did not know it, could coughing or handling the produce, without enough hand-washing, make this a source of contagion? And I mean no disrespect to the workers — it is hard to maintain perfect sanitary behavior all the time, while under pressure to get lots of work done.

Imported produce is not an influenza threat. Flu viruses can live on hard surfaces, like doorknobs, for only a few hours. And flu specialists say there's no evidence that any strain of flu has ever been transmitted by any kind of food.

'Lipstick Jungle' gone for good

Will the TV show Lipstick Jungle be returning? It seems all the shows geared to women are canceled, such as Cashmere Mafia, Friday Night Murder Club, etc. Don't they know we control the world?

Sorry, we guess that memo hasn't made it to TV executives yet.

Lipstick Jungle, a comedy/drama, followed the professional and personal lives of three best friends, all powerful career women in New York City. It was adapted from the bestselling novel of the same name by Candace Bushnell, who is best-known for her book Sex and the City, later made into a long-running TV series and movie.

Lipstick Jungle starred Brooke Shields, Kim Raver and Lindsay Price. It began on NBC in February 2008 as a midseason replacement. It was interrupted by the writers strike, then moved to Friday nights. On Jan. 9, the last produced episode was shown. NBC said the show might return.

In late March, however, Entertainment Weekly reported the show had been officially canceled. Only 20 episodes were made.

You might be seeing Price in a new ABC show, The Witches of Eastwick, which is being adapted from the movie starring Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Cher and Susan Sarandon. Also starring in the TV version, if it makes the schedule, are Rebecca Romijn, Jaime Ray Newman and Paul Gross.

What is ricotta salata?

I made a recipe for brunch that called for "grated ricotta salata" and I have yet to figure out what this is. I know what ricotta cheese is but it's soft, so I used grated Parmesan instead. Do you know what this is?

According to the Food Network Kitchens, "ricotta" in Italian just means recooked. Ricotta salata is a pressed, firm, salty sheep's-milk cheese, which is just like soft ricotta, except it has been salted and dried. If you can't find it, feta makes a good substitute. Sometimes feta is dry. If so, it's best to soak it in cold water for an hour to approximate the texture of ricotta salata.

Q&A: Imported produce poses no flu threat 05/18/09 [Last modified: Monday, May 18, 2009 5:47pm]
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