8 tips to prevent foodborne illnesses this summer

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 7:15 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - According to a USDA survey, many people are skipping basic food safety practices.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture study found that only 55% of participants used a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of hamburgers and sausages when cooking. And officials warn, that your thermometer is the only way to ensure food is safe to eat.

Listed below are 8 steps you can take to help prevent foodborne illness:

  • Wash hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds: before and after handling food after using the bathroom, after changing a diaper, handling pets, tending to a sick person, blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, handling uncooked eggs or raw meat, and poultry.
  • If your hands have any kind of skin abrasion or infection, always use clean disposable gloves. Wash hands (gloved or not) with warm, soapy water.
  • Thoroughly wash with hot, soapy water all surfaces that come in contact with raw meat, poultry, fish, and eggs before moving on to the next step in food preparation. Consider using paper towels to clean kitchen surfaces. If you use dishcloths, wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine. Keep other surfaces, such as faucets and countertops, clean by washing with hot, soapy water.
  • To keep cutting boards clean, wash them in hot, soapy water after each use; then rinse and air or pat dry with clean paper towels. Cutting boards can be sanitized with a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Flood the surface with the bleach solution and allow it to stand for several minutes; then rinse and air or pat dry with clean paper towels. Non-porous acrylic, plastic, glass, and solid wood boards can be washed in a dishwasher (laminated boards may crack and split). Even plastic boards wear out over time. Once cutting boards become excessively worn or develop hard-to-clean grooves, replace them.
  • Don’t use the same platter and utensils that held the raw product to serve the cooked product. Any bacteria present in the raw meat or juices can contaminate the safely cooked product. Serve cooked products on clean plates, using clean utensils and clean hands.
  • When using a food thermometer, it is important to wash the probe after each use with hot, soapy water before reinserting it into food.
  • Keep pets, household cleaners, and other chemicals away from food and surfaces used for food.
  • When picnicking or cooking outdoors, take plenty of clean utensils. Pack clean, dry, and wet and soapy cloths for cleaning surfaces and hands.

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