The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 6 Americans, more than 48,000,000 people, get sick from food every year. Of that number, 128,000 of them are hospitalized and 3,000 die every year from foodborne illness, or food poisoning.
Protect yourself and your family from foodborne illness by using four core practices:
- Wash your hands before preparing food and anytime you touch raw meat, chicken, fish, eggs or any unclean surface.
- Wash all utensils (cutting boards, knives, bowls, etc.) before using them to prepare food.
- Wash all vegetables and fruits before eating or cooking them.
- Store raw meat, chicken, fish and eggs separate from cooked foods, vegetables and ready-to-eat foods such as milk, cheese or deli meats.
- You should also store any raw meat, chicken, fish or eggs on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator, or below any cooked foods, vegetables or ready-to-eat foods.
- Use separate utensils for preparing raw foods and cooked foods or vegetables. Don't cross-contaminate.
- Cook all foods thoroughly.
- Click here to see a chart with recommended cooking temperatures.
- Use a calibrated food thermometer to make sure food is done.
- Keep cold foods cold: 41°F (5°C) or below.
- Refrigerate leftovers quickly.
- Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator, not at room temperature!
Environmental Health would like to add one more practice to this list:
It is estimated that less than 10% of the people who get sick from eating out at a restaurant or other food establishment ever report their illness to the health department. We hope that you never get sick after eating out, but if you do, please contact us and let us know.