An estimates 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) getting sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases every year. Of those 21% were caused by food consumed in the home (1). We all need to take the time to ensure that we are following correct food safety techniques to keep us, our families and communities free from foodborne illness.
Those at increased risk
While anyone can develop a foodborne illness it is importance to take special care with those who have an increased risk for getting a foodborne illness. This includes children under the age of 5, the elderly, pregnant women, and people who are immune compromised.
Foods safety tips.
- Wash your hands! This is the number one way to prevent the spread of bacteria. You should wash your hand for at least 20 seconds (the amount of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice) before and after handling food.
- Clean or replace hand towels, wash cloths, and sponges at least daily. More often if they become visibly soiled.
- Counters and work surfaces should be cleaned regularly with hot water and soap even when they are not visibly dirty. Keep all non-food items (purses, clothing, pet items, and newspapers) off counters.
- Prevent cross contamination between raw meats and ready to eat foods such as fruits and vegetables by using separate cutting boards and knives. Make sure that utensils are washed with hot water and soap (not just wiped off) between uses.
- Only use your reusable grocery bags for groceries and washes them often.
- Keep your shelves and storage areas clean of spills and food particles as they can grow bacteria and contaminate other food.
- Keep your refrigerator and freeze at the correct temperature. A refrigerator should be at 40F or below and the freeze should be below 0F to slow bacterial growth.
- Cook your meat to the correct temperate. Ground meat should reach an temperature of 160F, Beef, Pork and lamb steaks and roast should reach 145F, and Poultry should reach 165F
- Leftovers should be placed in the refrigerator right after cooking. They should not be left on the counter to cool.
- Frozen goods should be thawed in the refrigerator, microwave or under running water. They should never be left out on the counter to thaw.
By taking a little extra time when handling and storing your food, you can keep you and your family safe from foodborne illness