September 27, 2018

National Food Safety Month

Foodborne illness is a disease transmitted to people through food.

Individuals at risk of foodborne illness are:

  • Pregnant women
  • Young children
  • Older adults
  • People with weakened immune system


Foodborne disease outbreak is: when 2 or more people get the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink.

CDC estimates 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases each year in the United States.


Causes of foodborne illness:

  • Harmful bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Parasites
  • Toxins
  • Chemical contaminants


Risk factors associated with foodborne illness:

  • Purchasing food from unsafe sources
  • Failing to cook food correctly
  • Cross contamination
  • Time-temperature abuse
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Improper cleaning and sanitizing methods


Foods associated with foodborne illness:

  • Raw or undercooked meats and poultry
  • Raw fish and shellfish
  • Partially cooked seafood
  • Raw or unpasteurized milk and eggs
  • Soft cheeses
  • Raw sprouts
  • Unpasteurized fruit juice or cider
  • Contaminated fruits and vegetables
Common symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue/body ache

These symptoms may start to show anywhere between 20 minutes to 6 weeks.

Cleaning and sanitizing

  • Wash your hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds before & after handling food
  • Clean and sanitize surfaces after each use
  • Wash utensils and cutting boards with hot soapy water after each use
  • Rinse fruits and veggies under running water

Avoiding cross-contamination

  • Use separate cutting boards
  • Separate food in the fridge: keep raw meats away from ready-to-eat food
  • Use tight wrapping or sealed containers

Cooking to the right temperature

  • Cook fruits, vegetables, grains (rice, pasta) and legumes (beans and refined beans) to 135°F
  • Cook shell eggs, steaks/chops/roasts of beef, veal, and lamb and seafood to at least 145°F
  • Cook ground meat and ground seafood to at least 155°F
  • Cook all poultry including whole and ground chicken, turkey or duck to at least 165°F
  • Microwave food thoroughly to 165°F

Proper chilling

  • Proper fridge temperature: 32˚F – 40˚F
  • Refrigerate perishable foods within two hours
  • Store leftovers within two hours as well
  • Foods are not safe to eat when left out for 2 hours or more. (Danger zone is 40˚F-140˚F)
  • Cold air must circulate in fridge to keep food safe
  • Important tip: WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT!

Safe thawing

Never thaw or marinate foods on the counter, Instead:

  • Thaw in the refrigerator
  • Thaw in cold water
  • Thaw in the microwave

If you don’t have enough time to thaw food:

  • Cook immediately without thawing

Reheating food properly

  • Leftovers should be reheated to 165°F
  • Bring sauces, soups and gravies to a boil
  • Reheat these foods until they are steaming:
    • hot dogs
    • luncheon meats
    • cold cuts
    • other deli-style meats
    • poultry products

When dining out

  • Look at how clean things are before you sit down
  • Always order your food cooked thoroughly
  • Avoid undercooked or raw foods, such as raw oysters or raw or undercooked eggs