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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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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Summer 2019 Food Safety Toolkit: Talking Points

  • The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (www.fsis.usda.gov) is the public health regulatory agency in USDA responsible for ensuring that meat, poultry and processed egg products are safe, wholesome and accurately labeled.
  • FSIS works hard to make sure the food you bring home is safe, but there is always a chance to contract foodborne illnesses, commonly known as food poisoning. This summer, USDA is helping consumers learn how to protect themselves with the four steps to food safety – clean, separate, cook and chill.
  • Food poisoning is a serious public health threat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that foodborne illness results in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths in the United States annually.
  • Foodborne illness rates increase during the summer for two reasons:
    • Natural causes: bacteria are present throughout the environment in soil, air, water and in our bodies. These microorganisms grow faster during the summer months because of the hot and humid climate.
    • Outside activities increase during the summer. More people are cooking outside at picnics, barbeques and on camping trips. Given these circumstances, harmful bacteria have many opportunities to quickly multiply on food and get people sick.
  • Perishable food should not sit out at room temperature for more than two hours. In hot, summer weather (above 90°F), perishable food should not sit out for more than one hour. Bacteria can multiply rapidly, doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes, if food is left out too long.
  • Ensuring your cooler is fully stocked with ice or frozen gel packs can help to keep perishable foods cold. Pack beverages in one cooler and perishable food in another cooler. The beverage cooler may be opened frequently causing the temperature inside of the cooler to fluctuate and become unsafe for perishable foods. While driving, keep the cooler in the coolest part of the car and once outside, place it in the shade or out of the sun, whenever possible.
  • If you are grilling and eating away from home, find out if there is a source of clean water. If not, bring water for preparation and cleaning or pack clean cloths and moist towelettes for cleaning surfaces and hands.
  • Always use a food thermometer to ensure your meat and poultry is safe to eat. Cook meat or poultry to these minimum internal temperatures to ensure you have destroyed harmful bacteria:
    • Beef, pork, lamb and veal (steaks, roasts and chops): 145°F
    • Ground meats: 160°F
    • Whole poultry, poultry breasts and ground poultry: 165°F
  • Meat and poultry cooked on a grill tends to brown quickly on the outside, but may not be fully cooked, so use a food thermometer to ensure the food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature. NEVER partially grill meat or poultry and finish cooking later.
  • After cooking meat and poultry, keep it hot at 140°F or warmer, until served. Keep cooked meats hot by setting them to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals where they could overcook. At home, the cooked meat can be kept hot in an oven set at approximately 200°F, in a chafing dish, slow cooker or warming tray.
  • Leftovers should be stored within two hours of cooking. Divide leftovers into smaller portions and refrigerate or freeze in covered shallow containers for quicker cooling.
  • For more information and tips on preventing foodborne illness this summer, consumers can visit FoodSafety.gov or call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854, open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. Families can also access “Ask Karen,” in English (www.askKaren.gov) and Spanish (www.pregunteleaKaren.gov). The online database is available 24/7 and answers specific questions related to preventing foodborne illnesses.

Observational Study

  • USDA studied the kitchen behaviors of consumers and the results, for the control group, shows that:
    • Participants were not washing their hands sufficiently 97% of the time.
    • Most participants failed to wash their hands for the necessary 20 seconds.
    • When it came to thermometer use, participants only used a thermometer to check their turkey burgers 34% of the time.

Handwashing

  • Collectively, the study team identified more than 1,195 opportunities in which participants should have washed their hands to prevent the transfer of bacteria; but participants did not attempt to wash their hands at 69 percent (830 out of 1,195) of these points. Of the 31 percent of the time when handwashing was attempted, 97 percent (355 out of 365) of actual handwashing attempts did not contain all of the necessary handwashing steps.
  • That means that, of the 1,195 cases in which handwashing was required, all of the CDC recommended steps were not successfully completed 99 percent of the time.
  • The most common reason for unsuccessful handwashing was not scrubbing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Many participants also forgot to wet their hands with water before applying soap, which is a crucial step.
  • Drying hands using a clean dish towel or single-use paper towel is also an important handwashing step. Drying your hands properly can help physically remove any microbes that may still be left on your hands after washing. Our study found that some individuals did not dry their hands at all, while others did dry their hands, but dried them on surfaces other than clean towels.
  • Proper hand washing after handling raw meat, poultry and eggs can greatly reduce the risk of bacterial cross-contamination. Hand washing should always include five simple steps:
    • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
    • 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.
    • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
    • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
    • Dry your hands using a clean towel.

 

Last Modified Apr 17, 2019