Protect Yourself from Foodborne Illness: 3 Myths, Busted

Food Safety may not be at the forefront of your priorities right now, but one bad experience could suddenly change your mind. Why should we care? Because rotten food from foodborne pathogens can make you extremely sick. The CDC estimates that roughly 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die each year. To reduce your chance of getting sick, you can protect yourself by practicing sound food safety techniques when handling, preparing, and cooking your food.

We’re debunking three common myths to save you from an unfortunate trip to the bathroom or worse! Read on to learn some facts and hacks about food safety.

MYTH 1: My chicken has no pink spots, so it’s ready to eat.

  • FACT: Checking that your meat has been cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature is the only way to ensure the food is safe to eat.
  • HACK: Make sure chicken has been cooked to an minimum internal temperature of 165° F by using a food thermometer.

MYTH 2: Leftovers are safe to eat until they smell bad.

  • FACT: Smell alone cannot prove if food is safe to eat. There are so many types of bacteria, such as Listeria and Salmonella. Remember, you can’t see or smell bacteria!
  • HACK: Keep leftovers in the fridge for three to four days. The best advice is to throw them away after that point.  When in doubt, throw it out!

MYTH 3: I don’t need to wash fruits with skin that can be peeled off and thrown away.

  • FACT: It’s possible to cross-contaminate the inside of your melon or orange with the knife used or if the skin touches another piece of fruit on a platter! Touching the inside of your fruit after handling the skin can also spread germs.
  • HACK: Always wash your fruits thoroughly by scrubbing them with running water. Make sure all utensils have been sanitized before use as well.

There are over 250 types of foodborne illnesses that have been identified by the CDC. Food safety is crucial to avoiding these illnesses; don’t forget to check your facts!

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