Food Safety Education Month

September is Food Safety Education Month!

About 48 million people get sick from foodborne illness every year and about 3,000 people die from this illness.  Anyone can get sick from a foodborne illness but people with weakened immune systems are especially at risk.  These populations include:

Pregnant women
Young children
Older adults
People with weakened immune systems from certain diseases, conditions, or medications

Most foodborne illnesses produce nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea.  The most common germs that cause illness are:

Norovirus
Salmonella
Campylobacter
Clostridium perfringens
Staphylococcus aureus

Check out these resources to learn how to keep your food safe:

 

  • Follow this link to learn more about specific foods that are most commonly connected to food poisoning and how you can avoid it.
  • Follow these 4 steps to keep your food safe (from Centers for Disease Control):

CLEAN: Wash your hands and surfaces often.

  • Germs that cause food poisoning can survive in many places and spread around your kitchen
  • Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water before, during, and after preparing food and before eating.
  • Wash your utensils, cutting boards, and countertops with hot, soapy water.
  • Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running water.

SEPARATE: Don’t cross-contaminate.

  • Raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can spread germs to ready-to-eat foods—unless you keep them separate.
    • Use separate cutting boards and plates for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
    • When grocery shopping, keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and their juices away from other foods.
    • Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods in the fridge. 
    • Store raw foods below ready to eat foods.

COOK: To the right temperature.

  • Food is safely cooked when the internal temperature gets high enough to kill germs that can make you sick. The only way to tell if food is safely cooked is to use a food thermometer. You can’t tell if food is safely cooked by checking its color and texture.
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature. Check this chart for a detailed list of foods and temperatures.
    • 145°F for whole cuts of beef, pork, veal, and lamb (then allow the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or eating)
    • 160°F for ground meats, such as beef and pork
    • 165°F for all poultry, including ground chicken and turkey
    • 165°F for leftovers and casseroles
    • 145°F for fresh ham (raw)
    • 145°F for fin fish or cook until flesh is opaque

CHILL: Refrigerate promptly.

  • Keep your refrigerator below 40°F and know when to throw food out.
  • Refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours. (If outdoor temperature is above 90°F, refrigerate within 1 hour.)
  • Thaw frozen food safely in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. Never thaw foods on the counter, because bacteria multiply quickly in the parts of the food that reach room temperature.