Resolve to Be Food Safe in 2013
By Howard Seltzer, FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
One in six Americans is affected by food poisoning each year, resulting in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 preventable deaths.
In most people the symptoms of food poisoning, or foodborne illness, usually aren’t long-lasting and typically go away without medical treatment. But foodborne illness can be severe, even life-threatening, especially for those most at risk such as older adults, infants, pregnant women, and those with weakened their immune systems.
It is up to all of us to do our part to make food safety a priority, and help prevent forborne illness – for ourselves and for our loved ones. So this year as you are making plans and setting goals for the New Year, remember to Resolve to Be Food Safe in 2013.
Here are four easy-to-stick-to New Year’s resolutions to get you started
Resolve to wash your hands before, during and after handling food. (clean)
Handwashing has the potential to save more lives than any single medical intervention. Wet your hands with clean running water, apply soap, lather and scrub your hands well for at least 20 seconds, and air dry or use a clean paper towel.
Resolve to use two cutting boards to help avoid cross-contamination. (separate)
Use one for foods that will be cooked, such as meat, poultry, and seafood, and the other for foods like fruits and vegetables that will be eaten raw. That avoids contamination of the raw foods by the juices from the ones to be cooked.
Resolve to get a food thermometer, if you don’t have one. (cook)
Only a food thermometer can make sure meat, poultry, fish, and casseroles are cooked to a safe internal temperature—hot enough to kill any germs that may be present.
Resolve to use an appliance thermometer to be sure your refrigerator is at or below 40ºF. (chill)
Bacteria multiply rapidly between 40ºF and 140ºF. The more bacteria, the more likely someone will get sick. Most refrigerators have just a colder/warmer adjustment, so the only way to know the temperature is to put a thermometer inside. And it’s a good idea to put one in the freezer to be sure the temperature is 0ºF or below.
For more information on how to keep food safe in the New Year, check out these resources:
- Long-Term Effects of Food Poisoning
- Types of Food Thermometers
- Separate, Don’t Cross-Contaminate
- Safe Food Handling: What You Need to Know
- CDC Vital Signs, Making Food Safer to Eat
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at the Hotline (1-888-674-6854 toll-free) or online at AskKaren.gov.