Preventing Food Illnesses By Practicing Food Safety Tips

Preventing Food Illnesses By Practicing Food Safety Tips

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - While feasting is very common during this time of year, it's important to know how to cook and refrigerate your food properly to prevent food poisoning or foodborne related illnesses during the holiday season.

Clostridium Perfringens is a common bacteria found in raw meat and poultry, and is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimate of one million cases of food poisoning have been reported in the United States as a result of this bacteria.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also advises all residents to follow these simple food safety tips:

- Meat, chicken, turkey, seafood and eggs should be cooked thoroughly as these foods can carry germs. Make sure to use a food thermometer to ensure these types of foods have been cooked to an ideal, internal temperature.

- After your food is cooked, keep any hot food hot and cold food cold. Refrigerate or freeze any perishable food within two hours. Set your refrigerator at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer at or below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

- Keep your foods separated by storing them in containers or sealed plastic bags.

- Any leftover foods should be properly refrigerated at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and reheated to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit before serving.

If you or anyone you know is pregnant, it's important to know that pregnant women are 10 times more likely to get Listeriosis, a rare and deadly foodborne infection. Instead, avoid eating or drinking raw or unpasteurized milk and products that contain it such as soft cheeses; however, processed cheeses, cream cheeses, mozzarella and hard cheeses are safer alternatives. Also avoid any raw or unpasteurized juice and cider.
Don't drink any beverages that contain alcohol such as holiday punches and eggnog. Consuming any alcohol when pregnant can influence your baby's growth and development and lead to fetal alcohol spectrum related disorders.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also advises residents to thoroughly wash all produce and remove any damaged or bruised areas on any fruits and vegetables before serving. Make sure to scrub any firm produce with a clean produce brush and finally dry them with a clean cloth or paper towel.

Any food containing harmful bacteria might not taste, smell or look different. So it's important to be mindful that any type of food left out for a really long time might be harmful to consume, despite it looking cooked or tasty.

Additional Resources

For more information on preventing food poisoning and food safety visit cdc.gov or fda.gov

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