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Georgia consumer: Chimney should be cleaned seasonally
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Question: How often should I clean and check my chimney or stove for creosote buildup?

Answer: On a new installation, check it every three to four weeks to determine buildup rate. Clean once a season or when a quarter-inch of creosote accumulates. If you’re using considerable amounts of pine or green wood, the creosote may build up faster.

Q: Do grocery stores have to keep margarine refrigerated?

A: Not unless it is specified on the outside of the label. Many stores keep products refrigerated, although they do not require it.

Q: Do you have any information on cooking chitterlings?

A: Every holiday season outbreaks of diarrhea caused by bacterial infections occur in Georgia. These outbreaks usually are associated with the improper handling of raw meat and poultry products.

Consumer tips on how to safely cook chitterlings are available. However, the germs in raw chitterlings can cause diarrhea if they are not handled properly. According to the Department of Public Health, raw pork chitterlings must be handled carefully to prevent bacterial infections.

Use only precooked chitterlings or preboil your chitterlings in boiling water for 5 minutes before you clean them. The boiling kills germs. While the chitterlings are preboiling, clean the sink and any place touched by raw chitterlings or their juice with hot soapy water and bleach. After preboiling, clean the chitterlings as usual. The preboiling makes cleaning the chitterlings faster and easier. And best of all, preboiling does not change the taste of the finished product.

Q: How can I know if a water storage container is food grade?

A: Milk containers are not recommended because they do not seal well.

Containers such as two-liter soda bottles with tight fitting screw-cap lids are better choices. If your local water is treated commercially by a water treatment facility, you do not have to treat the water with bleach or other products before storing.

Be sure to change and replace stored water every six months or more frequently. Commercially prepared "spring" or "drinking" water should be kept in its original sealed container. It should be changed and replaced at least once a year. Once opened, however, it should be used.

Q: What causes rainbow-like colors on meats?

A: Meat contains iron, fat and other compounds. When light hits a slice of meat, it splits into colors like a rainbow. There are various pigments in meat compounds that can give it an iridescent or greenish cast when exposed to heat and processing. Wrapping the meat in airtight packages and storing it away from light will help prevent this situation. Iridescence does not mean that the meat has decreased in quality or safety.

Product recall

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Gorilla Inc. of Flushing, Mich., announced a voluntary recall of some 60,000 full body safety harnesses.

The harness, made in China, was available as an accessory with 2007 ladder stands sold at sporting goods retailers nationwide from April 2007 through October 2007 for between $80 and $300.

Consumers should stop using the recalled safety harness immediately and contact Gorilla for a free replacement harness. The harnesses could fail during use, resulting in a hunter falling from the tree stand and suffering serious injuries or death. No incidents or injuries have been reported.

This recall involves the pullover style full body safety harnesses model SP40300 that were included as an accessory with Gorilla 2007 ladder stands. The harnesses have batch code numbers 020507, 030507 and 040507. The model and batch code number is printed on the label affixed to the harness.

For additional information, contact Gorilla at 877-685-7817 between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, or visit the company’s Web site at

If you have questions or problems with services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture you may write the Office of Public Affairs, 19 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Room 226, Atlanta, GA 30334 or call (800) 282-5852. This column appears Sundays.