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HometownLife: Take aim to fight bacteria in kitchen

Take aim to fight bacteria in kitchen
from HometownLife, September 11, 2011

September is National Food Safety Month — the perfect time to become aware of the hidden dangers found in kitchens.

Salmonella, norovirus, campylobacter and E coli are some of the bacteria found in kitchens that affect 48 million people each year. Of that number, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die according to data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Young children, older adults, pregnant women, transplant recipients and individuals with diabetes, cancer or HIV/AIDS are most at risk for acquiring a foodborne illness.

The new Food Safety and Modernization Act, signed into law by President Obama earlier this year, strengthens the food safety system by focusing on problem prevention and enables the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to better respond to problems when they occur. The law gives the FDA new tools to hold imported foods to the same standards as food manufactured in this country and allows the FDA to build an integrated food safety system by building partnerships with state and local authorities.

Creating a stronger safety system takes time, but consumers also can take steps to prevent foodborne illness in their homes.

  • Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers and handling pets.
  • Separate don’t cross-contaminate: Cross-contamination is how bacteria can spread. When handling raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs keep these foods and their juices away from ready-to-eat foods. Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • Cook to proper temperature: Use a food thermometer that measures the internal temperature of cooked meat, poultry, and egg dishes.
  • Chill: Refrigerate promptly (40 degrees) because cold temperatures slow the growth of harmful bacteria.

For more information on food safety call the FDA Detroit District Office at (313)393-8196.

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