Be Food Safe!
One in six Americans could get sick from food poisoning this year alone. Food poisoning not only sends more than 100,000 Americans to the hospital each year – it can also have long-term health consequences according to FoodSafety.gov.
But following these four simple steps can help keep your family safe from food poisoning at home.
- CLEAN: Wash hands and food preparation surfaces often. And wash fresh fruits and vegetables carefully.
- SEPARATE: Don’t cross-contaminate! When handling raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs, keep these foods and their juices away from ready-to-eat foods.
- COOK: Cook to proper temperature. Refer to the Safe Minimum Cooking Temperature Chart provided by Foodsafety.gov.
- CHILL: At room temperature, bacteria in food can double every 20 minutes. The more bacteria there are, the greater the chance you could become sick. So, refrigerate foods quickly because cold temperatures keep most harmful bacteria from multiplying.
Foods Most Likely To Cause Food Poisoning
- Meat – Raw meat may contain bacteria, such as E. coli, salmonella, and listeria or parasites. Thorough cooking destroys these harmful organisms, but meat can become contaminated again if it is not handled and stored properly.
- Turkey – Turkey is often associated with holidays and parties. But, turkey can also be associated with food borne illness if it is not thawed, prepared, cooked, and stored properly.
- Chicken and Other Poultry – Poultry may contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella, listeria and campylobacter. Washing chicken and other poultry does not remove bacteria. You can kill these bacteria only by cooking chicken to the proper temperature.
- Seafood – Like raw meat, raw seafood may contain bacteria that can be destroyed only by cooking. Some seafood may also contain toxins such as mercury which may be harmful for young children or an unborn baby.
- Eggs and Egg Products – Fresh eggs must be handled carefully. Even eggs with clean, un-cracked shells may occasionally contain salmonella. To prevent food poisoning, keep eggs refrigerated, cook eggs until yolks are firm, and cook foods containing eggs thoroughly.
- Milk, Cheese and Dairy Products – Raw milk, as well as cheeses made with raw milk, may contain E. coli, salmonella and listeria. That’s why it’s important to make sure that milk has been pasteurized, which kills harmful bacteria.
- Fresh Fruits, Vegetables and Juices – Fresh produce may come in contact with harmful bacteria from many sources, from contaminated soil and water in the fields to a contaminated cutting board in the kitchen.
- Nuts, grains, beans, and other legumes – They are found in a wide variety of foods. Since these ingredients are found in many food products, contamination or mislabeling of allergens can pose a widespread risk.
- Baby Food and Infant Formula – Infants and young children are particularly vulnerable to food borne illness because their immune systems are not developed enough to fight off infections. That’s why extra care should be taken when handling and preparing their food and formula.
- Pet Food – Like human food, pet food may contain harmful bacteria (such as salmonella) or toxins (such as melamine). If pet food is not handled properly, both pets and humans may be at risk for food borne illness.