5,000 Deaths per year that are totally avoidable and 10 tips to help you prevent that from happening.
The CDC estimates that food-borne illnesses in the U.S. account for at least 76 million infections, 300,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths annually.
There’s no doubt about it, food-borne illness is a serious matter…and most of it is totally preventable!
As reported by the CDC, some of the infections we just mentioned were from unusual kinds of bacteria and strains of E.coli. While these will probably not be around your home, common bacterial pathogens will be. They include various species of Shigella, Salmonella and Staphylococcus.
In their report, the CDC has provided us with some food safety advice, which include:
- Those preparing food should wash their hands before preparation, and several times during preparation of food.
- Keep all foods appropriately hot or cold until dinner is ready.
- Cool hot food in small batches and refrigerate as soon as possible.
- Be particular with poultry. Salmonella can get a foothold within hours when poultry is standing at a temperature that is bot hot or cold.
- Refrigerator temperatures should be between 33 and 40 degrees F. Freezers should be below 0 degrees F.
- Fill storage containers to the top and seal them tightly. Minimize space for oxygen, which can make food turn sour.
- Plastic bags with zipper seals are excellent for food storage because you can squeeze the air out of them.
- Don’t allow food to become contaminated while you are storing it away. Wash your hands before handling each food.
- Use a clean utensil for each food. Don’t put uncooked foods, or foods to be stored on a plate or cutting board, and then put other food on the same utensil. (For example, when cooking a turkey, don’t put the raw turkey on a plate, and then without thoroughly cleaning the plate, put your ham on it before cooking it). As far as cutting boards go, we kind of dislike them in general, because they are breeding grounds for bacteria.
- Be careful with sponges or other cloths you use to wipe up things. If they aren’t disinfected or tossed away soon after use, they can be a virtual breeding ground for all sorts of nasty bacteria.
Here’s a good idea for you. Make sure to call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at (800)311-3435, or visit their website www.cdc.gov for more information on food safety. It’ll only take you a few minutes, but could literally save someone’s life…including yours!