Press | Search | Login | Register | En Espanol

National Food Safety Education Month: Give your Home a Health Inspection

Issue September 2011

September 2011 marks the 17th National Food Safety Education Month (NFSEM), a month-long campaign to heighten awareness about the importance of food safety education for restaurant and foodservice industry.  It also provides a wonderful platform and opportunity to reiterate the importance of food safety and food safety education for everyone.  This year’s theme for NFSEM is Lessons Learned from the Health Inspection and serves as a reminder that food safety is a shared responsibility among all stakeholders – food manufacturers, government, producers, retailers and consumers.

The IFIC Foundation measures consumer food safety practices in its annual Food & Health Survey of over 1,000 U.S. consumers.  Notably, in the past four years of the Survey, consumer compliance with food safety practices has been on a steady decline. The decline of these behaviors is concerning as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one in six Americans will suffer from foodborne illness this year and that 3,000 people will actually die. 

Room for Improvement

In the spirit of NFSEM Lessons Learned from the Health Inspection, consumers can learn and implement best practices in food safety and meet food safety standards just as rigorous as those in restaurants and in food service establishments that help keep harmful bacteria at bay. 

Give your home a health inspection. There are four key areas that apply to a home health inspection: (1) proper handling, (2) cleaning and sanitizing, (3) storing of food, and (4) proper handling of utensils and equipment used to prepare food.

  • Handling Food: Poor personal hygiene can cause foodborne illness, so it is important to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water both prior to preparing or consuming food and again as hands come in contact with a source of bacteria (such as raw meat or poultry).
  • Cleaning and Sanitizing Food Surfaces: Food can leave behind bacteria, so it is important to clean food preparation surfaces, such as cutting boards and countertops, to avoid cross-contaminating other foods.  Keep food preparation surfaces clean by washing with a soap and water mixture or using a bleach solution and allow the area to air-dry prior to food coming into contact with the surface. Wash the surfaces often and again after the food preparation is complete.
  • Storing Food: Food can become contaminated if it is not stored properly. It is important to store and refrigerate leftovers within two hours of when they were prepared and to store them in containers intended for food storage.  Another good idea is to label the containers denoting the content and date it was prepared.  According to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), if cooked leftovers are not eaten within three to four days, throw them out.
  • Handling Utensils and Equipment: Bacteria can be transferred from utensils to food. When preparing food, use separate cutting boards for raw meats, poultry, and seafood, and for ready-to-eat foods like fruits, vegetables and breads. Once raw meat, poultry or seafood has been cooked to a safe internal temperature, it should be placed on a new or cleaned serving platter, rather than the same one used to hold the raw food. NOTE: Always use a food thermometer to ensure your food is cooked to a safe internal temperature reducing your risk of foodborne illness.

Every time food is prepared, it is important to be mindful of and follow these basic food safety practices.  Always wear your health inspector badge and aim to give your home a Grade A home inspection.

Additional Resources:

Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety

2011 IFIC Foundation Food & Health Survey

National Food Safety Education Month

Partnership for Food Safety Education

Food Safety.gov

Average ( Ratings):

Add a comment

Log in or create an account to post a comment

Rate It:

FoodInsight TVSee All » 

IFIC Foundation Taste Test Challenge

To celebrate National Nutrition Month and the theme, "Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right," the IFIC Foundation filmed our very own taste test challenge. Take a look, think you would have passed?

 

Blog
See All »
 

NewsletterSee All »
 

Also In This Issue

  • Assessing The Sodium Situation: The Consumer’s Perspective | 10/6/2011

    The topic of sodium consumption has received increased attention and stimulated much debate among the scientific and public health communities recently due to its effect on blood pressure and the increasing prevalence of hypertension in the U.S. population. Various studies have examined many aspects of sodium and official reports with sodium recommendations are not lacking either. more »

  • Eat a Rainbow: Functional Foods and Their Colorful Components | 10/6/2011

    Have you ever heard that it is important to “eat a rainbow” of foods? This may be a good way to think about your diet because numerous functional foods can be recognized and grouped together by their color. Functional foods are foods or dietary components that may provide a health benefit beyond basic nutrition. This fall, dive into the color of the various functional foods listed below and unlock the health benefits that may already be on your plate. more »

  • NewsBite: New “Everything You Need to Know About Aspartame” Brochure Provides Consumer-Friendly Information on Popular Low-Calorie Sweetener | 10/6/2011

    With obesity rates among Americans at an all-time high, it is more important than ever to inform consumers about safe and effective weight management options available to them. Low-calorie sweeteners such as aspartame can be a helpful tool for managing calories. more »