Did you know that the federal government estimates that there are 48 million cases of food-borne illness annually- the equivalent of sickening 1 in 6 Americans each year? (FDA-June 2011). Food-borne illness can affect anyone however those at higher risk include those with cancer, diabetes or kidney failure, pregnant women, older adults and children. It is very important to practice safe food handling- the FDA has provided 4 great steps for food safety.
1 CLEAN- Wash hands and surfaces often
a. Make sure to wash your hands with warm water for 20 seconds. Sing Happy Birthday or say the ABCs. This is great when teaching your kids about washing their hands as well.
b. Wash your hands before and after preparing food, prior to eating, after handling pets and always after restroom use.
c. Make sure to clean canned good lids before opening
a. Separate Raw Meats from Other Foods
i. Make sure to use different cutting boards when cutting up raw meats from produce when preparing foods.
ii. Keep raw meats and fresh produce separate in your refrigerator.
a. Cook to the right temperature
i. This is very important! Here are examples of safe internal temperatures that will help you know when your food is done! Use your food thermometer.
1. Ground Beef- 160°F
2. Chicken or Turkey- 165°F
3. Fin Fish- 145°F
4 REFRIGERATE FOODS PROMPTLY
a. Refrigerate your foods within 2 hours of cooking or purchasing- this will help slow the growth of harmful bacteria.
b. Never thaw food at room temperature- always defrost in the refrigerator or under cold water or in the microwave.
If you would like more information, contact: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Food Information Line at 1-888-SAFEFOOD (toll free) or www.fda.gov