Funding given to increase prevention of foodborne illness

There are ways to prevent harmful bacteria from contaminating your food and potentially making you sick. Food safety professionals received funding to find ways to help prevent food-borne illness.

The Institute of Food Technologists August 2015 publication reported that the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced awards of nearly $110 million to help states and communities strengthen their capacity to track and respond to infectious diseases. The funding includes a $4 million increase for foodborne illness disease prevention allotting $17.4 million in total. Also with this increase the Integrated Food Safety Centers of Excellence will establish a new Northeast Regional center.

Every year more than 46 million cases of foodborne illness are reported, meaning one in six Americans will get sick from their food. While most cases of food-related illnesses are not serious and last about a couple days, it’s hard to tell which exposure could turn more serious. But there are ways to prevent harmful bacteria from contaminating your food and potentially making you sick. While the food safety professionals find ways to help prevent foodborne illness and alert us to important recalls we can do our part, too.

The United States Department of Agriculture and Michigan State University Extension recommends following these food safety rules.

  • Clean your hands, utensils, cutting boards and surfaces after each use to stop the spread of illness-causing bacteria. Always rinse fruits and veggies before eating, even if you plan to peel them.
  • Separate meat, poultry, seafood and eggs from other foods. Never reuse a plate or cutting board that held raw meat without washing it thoroughly. In your fridge, place raw meat, poultry and seafood in containers or sealed plastic bags to prevent their juices from dripping or leaking onto other foods.
  • Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of food. The temperature range in which food-borne bacteria can grow is known as the  ”danger zone” where bacteria multiply most quickly. Use a food thermometer to ensure you’ve reached the correct temperature instead of judging by color or texture.
  • Chill food promptly after serving. Bacteria can begin to grow on perishable foods after only two hours, unless refrigerated. Invest in an appliance thermometer to make sure your refrigerator is cold enough to keep food safe.
  • Avoid foods & water from unsafe sources. Use tap or bottled water.
  •  When drinking milk and fruit juices, make sure they are pasteurized. Use water from a safe water supply for drinking and rinsing fresh produce. Thoroughly rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running water before eating.
  • Avoid serving soft unpasteurized cheeses, smoked seafood, or cold deli salads to those who are pregnant, immunocompromised, very young, or elderly.
  • Avoid serving hot dogs and lunch meats that have not been reheated to steaming hot or 165°F to those who are pregnant, immunocompromised, very young, or elderly
  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked seafood.

Working together with food safety professionals we can prevent these illnesses from occurring to keep our families and friends safe. 

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