Do you know how to keep food safe at home? The easy lessons of “Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill" will help protect you and your family from foodborne illness.
Foodborne illness is a serious public health threat and all of us are susceptible. Consider the numbers: Each year, approximately 48 million cases of foodborne illness occur in the United States alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those cases of foodborne illness, more than 128,000 people are hospitalized and approximately 3,000 people die. That is why it is critical that people understand the dangers of foodborne bacteria.
While everyone is at risk for foodborne illness, there are those that face a higher risk if they consume unsafe food. At-risk persons include the very young, older adults, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems. These food safety steps are especially important for them, and the messages of the Be Food Safe campaign can be a life saver.
But the last line of defense against foodborne illness is in our own kitchens. The four basic safe food handling behaviors — clean, separate, cook, and chill — will keep our food safe. Food safety risks at home are common. Learn more about each of these steps:
- Clean! Wash hands and utensils to avoid spreading bacteria when preparing food. Find out how to prepare food in a sanitary way.
- Separate! Use different cutting boards for meat, poultry, seafood, and veggies. Learn more about the importance of separating foods during preparation.
- Cook! You can’t tell it’s done by how it looks! Use a food thermometer. Find out how to ensure your food is cooked thoroughly.
- Chill! Keep the fridge at 40 °F or below to keep bacteria from growing. Learn more about proper chilling.