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Topic #17

Review Basic Food Safety

Review Basic Food Safety

Links, Resources & More

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Foodborne illness is not just a tummy ache: 128,000 Americans are hospitalized from it every year. Whether you're volunteering at a food drive or serving snacks at a fundraiser, you can learn ways to keep people safe from misery, hospitalization, or even death.

The FACTS: What you need to KNOW

  1. Proper hand-washing and use of personal protective equipment, like disposable gloves, can keep you and others safe.
  2. Foodborne pathogens include the bacteria, parasites, and viruses that make people sick. These can grow very fast without any smell, taste, or visual clue. If in doubt, throw it out.
  3. Some foods are more hazardous than others. Take time to learn about the risks of temperature, moisture, and cross-contamination.
  4. You can take a short course in food safety to learn more. Your work with food may also require you to get certified with a Food Handler's Permit.

For more on this topic, read Card #18, Identifying Unsafe Food.

The Actions: What you need to DO

Wash your hands with soap and water for 15 seconds before handling food. Wash your hands after using the toilet; handling raw meat, garbage, or dirty dishes; sneezing; or touching animals. Use utensils and disposable gloves to avoid touching food directly.

Don't work with food if you are sick.

Be alert for food that is dangerous because it was left out or heated improperly. The temperature danger zone is between 41F and 135F. If in doubt, throw it out.

Make sure you know the labeling and handling practices for your facility and always follow the procedures. Don't take shortcuts.