Food Safety If you have ever had a 24-hour stomach bug, chances are you may have become sick from food. According to the CDC each year 48 million American’s get sick (1 in 6), 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3000 people die from food-borne illness. Most food illnesses are preventable by proper food handling.
Hot weather and barbecues increase the chance of people getting sick from food. Bacteria rapidly multiply when food is at a temperature between 41 and 135 degrees, “the temperature danger zone”.
Below are some tips to reduce the chance of food-borne illness in your home: • Wash hands often, the hand washing process should be a minimum of 20 seconds (sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice). • Never defrost on the counter. Defrosting should take place in the refrigerator, cold running water, or the microwave. • Use separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables. • Clean and sanitize surfaces where food is prepared. • Refrigerate foods immediately. • Use separate utensils when handling raw meat and cooked meat. • Store meats and ready to eat foods in separate areas of the refrigerator (meats should be stored below ready to eat foods). • Store foods at proper temperatures (hot foods 135 degrees and above, cold foods 41 degrees and below). • Cook foods to proper temperatures (use a thermometer) and cook ground beef thoroughly. Reheat all foods to 165 degrees. • Cool foods in shallow dishes and stir throughout cooling process. • Label all foods in the refrigerator or freezer with the date the food was prepared.
For more information on how to prevent foodborne illness in your home refer to http://www.foodsafety.gov/