September is National Food Safety Month!

Did You Know? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in 6 Americans contracts a food borne disease each year; 128,000 of these are hospitalized, and 3000 die. Fortunately, many food borne illnesses can be prevented. September is National Food Safety Month, a great time to remind ourselves of the steps we can take to prevent food borne illness.

Food safety begins the moment you leave the grocery store and doesn’t necessarily end when the meal does! The way your food is packaged, transported, and stored is just as important as how it is cleaned and cooked. Follow these four basic rules to prevent food borne illness at your cookouts.

Clean

  • Wash hands often.
  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect utensils, dishes, cutting boards, and countertops that come in contact with raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables under running water before consuming.

Separate

  • Transport meat and poultry separate from other foods and beverages.
  • Keep raw meat and poultry on a different cutting board or countertop than other perishables.
  • Never put cooked foods on a plate that held raw meat.
  • Click here for more information on avoiding cross contamination.

Cook

  • Thaw meat or poultry completely in the refrigerator to promote thorough and even cooking.
  • Cook meat and poultry thoroughly; use a food thermometer to ensure that food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature:
Poultry 165°F
Ground meat 160°F
Beef, pork, lamb, and veal 145°F

Chill

  • Purchase meat and poultry last; go straight home and refrigerate or freeze perishables within two hours.
  • Refrigerate leftovers immediately; discard food left out over two hours (one if temperatures are above 90°F).

Remember – your hands are the most carriers of germs! Ensure that you wash your hands properly and often. Click here to learn more.

Learn More! Find out more details about the information listed above and get more tips and facts about food safety by visiting the following sites:

CCHD is working with MSU Extension to provide a ServSafe class on October 15, 2013 from 830am to 12pm at the MSU Extension Office, 3300 3rd St. NE #9 (Skyline Education Center). To learn more or to register, click here.

Food Borne Illness

The bacteria found in uncooked meats and poultry and on unwashed fruits and vegetables can cause some nasty illnesses! Food borne illnesses like campylobacter, salmonella, e. Coli, and listeria most commonly cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps. Dehydration can happen quickly if you are experiencing these symptoms. Drink plenty of fluids and contact your doctor if you experience these symptoms and suspect food borne illness.