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FSIS

Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Talking Points

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that millions of Americans get sick each year from foodborne illness, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.
  • Many foodborne illnesses can be prevented by changing behaviors in the kitchen. 
  • FSIS’ mission is to educate consumers on how to avoid foodborne illness through prevention. Following four simple food safety steps can lower chances of food poisoning and help protect families:
    • Clean: Clean hands, surfaces and utensils with soap and water before cooking. Wash hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry. Follow the five steps for proper handwashing. After cleaning surfaces that raw meat and poultry have touched, use a bleach-based solution to sanitize.
    • Separate: Use separate cutting boards, plates and utensils to avoid cross-contamination between raw meat and poultry, plus other foods that are ready to eat.
    • Cook: Always use a food thermometer to ensure foods are cooked to a safe minimal internal temperature. Learn about Thermometer Placement and Temperatures.
    • Chill: Chill foods promptly if not consuming immediately after cooking. Don’t leave food at room temperature for more than two hours (one hour if you are outdoors and the temperature is above 90 °F). 

Observational Study Results-Washing Hands

  • Ninety nine percent of participants in a recent USDA research study did not wash their hands sufficiently before and during meal preparation. The most common mistake was not scrubbing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Other errors included not wetting their hands with water before applying soap and not drying their hands with a clean or one-use towel, which are crucial steps.
  • Inadequate handwashing has been identified as a contributing factor to all sorts of illnesses, including foodborne illness, especially when preparing raw meat and poultry. Hands can move potential germs found in raw meat and poultry around the kitchen, which can lead to foodborne illnesses.
  • Proper hand washing after handling raw meat, poultry and eggs can greatly reduce the risk of bacterial cross-contamination. It’s important to know when and how to wash your hands. Hand washing should always include five simple steps:
  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel.

Back-to-School and Bringing Lunch

  • Children younger than five years old are among the most vulnerable to illnesses, so parents need to take extra precautions when handling and preparing food.
  • Parents working from home while their children are homeschooled or learning virtually can prepare lunches ahead of time to avoid making food safety mistakes when rushing to prepare snacks for their kids while working.
  • When preparing food and kids’ snacks at home, keep raw meat and poultry separated from cut up fruit or ready to eat items.
  • Whether you are packing lunches or preparing snacks at home, make sure to wash your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) for at least 20 seconds. Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next item. Use a solution of one tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in one gallon of water to sanitize surfaces and utensils.
  • If your children are eating lunch outside of your home, pack hand sanitizer or moist wipes so they can clean their hands before eating.
  • Never pack perishable foods in a brown paper bag, because they will be unsafe by lunchtime. Use an insulated, soft-sided lunch bag and add a frozen gel pack and a frozen juice box or bottle of water with the lunch.
  • If you’re packing a hot lunch such as soup, chili or stew, use an insulated container to keep it hot. Fill the container with boiling water, let it stand for a few minutes, empty and then put in the piping hot food. Keep the insulated container closed until lunchtime to keep the food hot.
  • Perishable food such as luncheon meats, eggs, soft cheeses (like mozzarella) or yogurt shouldn’t be left out of the refrigerator. Harmful bacteria multiply rapidly in temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F (known as the “Danger Zone”).
  • Discard any perishable food that was not kept refrigerated for longer than two hours.
  • Healthy food options that don’t need refrigeration include some whole fruits (such as apples, bananas, and oranges), raw, uncut vegetables (like baby carrots), hard cheeses (such as cheddar cheese), canned meats and fish, chips, bread, crackers, peanut butter and jelly, ketchup and mustard, and pickles.

Social Distanced Tailgating or Grilling

  • Whether you’re planning to tailgate this year with virtual-only activities, or you choose to grill away from home, make sure to follow these recommendations for safety:
  • When transporting food, transport raw meat and poultry securely wrapped and at the bottom of the cooler to prevent juices from dripping onto other perishable foods you may be traveling with.
    • If you can, bring two separate coolers:  one for your food and another for drinks. This will minimize the number of times the cooler with your perishable items will need to be opened before you’re ready to cook or serve.
  • Never put cooked food on a plate or tray that held raw meat or poultry.
  • When grilling, be aware that meat and poultry cooked on a grill often browns quickly on the outside before reaching a safe internal temperature on the inside. Use a food thermometer to make sure all meat and poultry being grilled has reached the following internal temperatures:
    • Ground beef, pork, lamb and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F
    • All poultry to 165 °F. 
    • Beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F, before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming.
  • To measure the internal temperature of a burger, insert the end of your food thermometer through the side of the burger and into the middle to get the most accurate reading.
  • When you finish grilling, put away leftovers in clean containers and place them in the refrigerator or a cooler with ice if you are away from home. Don’t leave leftovers out for more than two hours, or one hour if the outdoor temperature is above 90 °F.

Food Safety Education Month

  • September is National Food Safety Education Month, which means it’s time teach others how to handle and prepare food safely. 
  • Each year, millions of Americans get foodborne illnesses – commonly referred to as food poisoning – resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. 
  • Individuals with, or those who care for individuals with, compromised immune systems should be extra vigilant while handling and preparing food. The following groups are at increased risk for contracting foodborne illness due to compromised immune systems: 
    • children younger than five years old,
    • pregnant women,
    • adults older than 65 years old,
    • and those whose immune systems are weakened due to illness or medical treatment. 

National Preparedness Month

  • National Preparedness Month occurs every September, around the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season.
  • Families and households should have an emergency plan that includes access to safe food and water in case of a power outage, floods, fire or other natural disasters.
  • Use appliance thermometers to make sure your refrigerator is always kept at a temperature of 40 °F or below and your freezer is at 0 °F or below. This will help keep food safe longer during a power outage.
  • During a power outage, keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
  • Keep ice, freezer packs and frozen bottles of water in the freezer to keep food cold if you have time to plan. You can also use dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible during periods of prolonged power outages. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully stocked, unopened 18-cubic-foot freezer cold for two days.
  • Keep a clean cooler available to fill with ice to store food in case of a prolonged power outage.
  • After power returns, immediately check the temperature of the refrigerator and freezer. If temperatures in both compartments are still under 40 °F, then the food is safe to keep and/or refreeze. If the temperatures are above 40 °F, perishable food should be discarded. Discard any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture, or feels warm to the touch. Never taste a food to determine its safety.
  • After flooding, discard any food that may have come in contact with flood water, or that is otherwise damaged.
  • After a flood, clean and sanitize dishes, utensils, cooking surfaces and product packaging.
  • Food in cans or jars may appear to be okay, but if they've been close to the heat of a fire, they may no longer be safe.

 

Last Modified Aug 14, 2020