Nationally recognized as Food Safety Awareness Month, September highlights the need to put food safety measures into practice when preparing and serving food. According to the Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC), each year, 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness.
Before beginning to prepare a meal, wash your hands with soap and hot water and wipe down the surfaces in your kitchen. This will help to eliminate any bacteria that could be lurking on your kitchen counter tops or your hands.
Before consuming or cooking produce, rinse it through with water and allow it to air dry before you begin to prepare your meal. Pesticides, dirt particles, and bacteria can be on your produce, so use a clean produce brush to scrub the skin of firm produce before using it.
The CDC recommends that after preparing any food items, you wash your cutting boards, utensils, dishes and countertops with hot, soapy water. If you’re hosting a party or gathering that requires preparing food in advance, use containers to divide the prepared food up and store in a refrigerator or freezer until the function begins.
When hosting or attending a gathering, the CDC recommends throwing away any perishable foods that have been sitting out at room temperature for two hours or longer. If you’re attending a picnic or outdoor function, throw food away if it’s been sitting out at a temperature of 90° F or hotter.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) shares the following tips for food safety when preparing or serving a meal:
-Rinse fresh produce including those with skins and rinds
-Scrub firm produce with a clean produce brush
-Separate raw meats from other foods
-When cooking frozen foods, allow them to thaw in your refrigerator or in cold water beforehand. Never thaw at room temperature.
-Use a food thermometer to monitor when foods are a safe internal temperature.
Meals and gatherings are meant to bring people together, safely! You’ll want to keep these tips in mind when preparing food to ensure no one has to miss out due to illness.
If you are experiencing symptoms of foodborne illness, contact your primary care physician's office right away. If you don't have a primary care physician, or want to schedule an appointment at any of our locations, call us toll-free at 1-833-4NEWDOC (1-833-463-9362).