Food must be properly preparesPublished 9:05pm Tuesday, September 6, 2011
As a school board member who works for children, and as a consumer food safety protection specialist who knows the perils of unsafe foods, I would like everybody to join us in celebrating September as food safety month. Food- borne illness is a very serious public health risk, and all of us are vulnerable.
Reflect on the numbers: Each year, approximately 76 million cases of food-borne illness occur in the United States alone according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those cases of food-borne illness, more than 325,000 people are hospitalized and about 5,000 people die — that is almost 13 people every day.
It is certain a cooperative approach from all those who have a vested interest in the food supply/preparation is the only sure way to combat this significant public health problem. The fact that we all eat food is enough reason for everybody to be involved in food safety.
There are major hazards that our children, or any other inndividual, need to know in order to be effective with preventing food borne illnesses. These are biological, chemical, and physical hazards. Examples of pathogenic biological hazards are E.Coli 157:H7, Listeria Monocytogenes, Salmonella and etc.Common pathogens may produce the toxin in food before it is eaten or produce the toxin in a person’s intestine after it is eaten. Other examples of biological hazards include viruses which can be transferred easily in schools through fellow students who are sick or food preparers. Parasites are hazards found in raw meat. Chemical hazards include dishwashing detergents, pesticides or allergens that are used in food preparation.
As a result of the above clarifications I recommend these: Wash hands indiscriminately, wash utensils and cutting boards before and after contact with raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs. Sneeze and cough not on food or people. Treat raw meat as a carrier of sickness causing organisms. Keep raw meat and poultry apart from foods that won’t be cooked. Use different cutting boards for meat, poultry, seafood, and veggies. Cook food thoroughly. You can’t tell it’s done by how it looks. Use a food thermometer to be sure meat and poultry have reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 160 F instant for beef, pork,veal, lamb;165 F instant for turkey, chicken, duck, or goose. Chill leftovers and takeout foods within two hours and keep the fridge at 40 F or below to keep bacteria from growing. Chilling food properly is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of food borne illness.
A bacterium actually spreads fastest between 40 F. and 140 F.
Move chemicals and undesired objects away from food and read labels for allergens and chemical contents.